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Tracy McPherson

Pronouns: She/Her

Principal Research Scientist
Tracy is a psychologist recognized as an international expert providing training in and evaluation of behavioral health screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment.

Tracy leads a portfolio of behavioral health training, technical assistance, and evaluation projects. She has been developing, implementing, and evaluating substance use and mental health prevention/early intervention programs for 25 years, supported by NIH, SAMHSA, AHRQ, CDC, ASPE, NHTSA, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and others. She is an expert in behavioral health screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) with a passion for working in medical, behavioral, school, and workplace settings to translate research into practice and evaluate the impact on program and individual outcomes. Her work includes a focus on an expanded, integrated model of SBIRT+Suicide Care to address risk for suicide, depression, and anxiety that often co-occur with substance use. She has developed and evaluated a number of health professional training curriculum and behavior change intervention programs, including simulation technology with emotionally-responsive virtual humans, to address substance use and mental health. She has co-authored numerous publications and presented extensively.

Several national and state initiatives which exemplify extensive experience and expertise in behavioral health training, technical assistance, and evaluation include the AHRQ Managing Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Primary Care: Resource Center and Evaluation Initiative; Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Integrating Adolescent Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) throughout Social Work and Nursing Education Initiative; SAMHSA National Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment Addiction Technology Transfer Center (National SBIRT ATTC); Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) Community Outreach in New York State; Brief Intervention Group and Hospital SBIRT Initiatives; and North Dakota HOPES Comprehensive Suicide Prevention Initiative.

Prior to joining NORC in 2011, at George Washington University Medical Center, Tracy led substance use prevention/early intervention training, technical assistance, and evaluation projects within Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol Problems and the Center for Integrated Behavioral Health Policy, research programs supported by Pew Charitable Trusts, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, industry, and various Federal agencies. Prior to working at GW, she held research and development positions in the areas of substance use, mental health, and health and productivity management at ISA Associates and the Institute for Health and Productivity Studies at Cornell University.



George Washington University


Old Dominion University


Longwood College

Appointments & Affiliations


International Network on Brief Interventions for Alcohol & Other Drugs (INEBRIA)

Project Contributions

Preparing Hospitals to Address Substance Use

A national training and technical assistance initiative to support SBIRT implementation in U.S. hospitals


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

ND HOPES Suicide Prevention Initiative

Implementing a multi-tiered approach to suicide prevention in western North Dakota


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Managing Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Primary Care

Implementation and evaluation of screening, intervention, and treatment for unhealthy alcohol use


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

LSF Health System Suicide Prevention & SBIRT Training

A suicide prevention training series to build the confidence and competence of LSF Health System staff


LSF Health Systems

Developing Tools for Sexual and Gender Minority Youth

Analyzing survey data to inform HIV prevention materials that engage minority adolescents


Division of Adolescent and School Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Assessment of JED Campus Approach to Suicide Prevention

Recommendations for enhancing implementation of the nation’s leading college suicide prevention program


JED Foundation

Adolescent SBIRT Initiative: Preparing the Health Professional Workforce

Preparing Health Professionals to Screen and Intervene for Youth Substance Use and Mental Health Risk


Conrad N. Hilton Foundation