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HEALing Communities Study Project Staff

Biographies

  • Redonna Chandler, Ph.D.
    Director
    (301) 402-1919

    Dr. Redonna Chandler is the Director of the HEALing Communities Study at NIDA. She brings extensive scientific and organizational leadership, and recently served as the Deputy Director for the Division of Clinical Innovation at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) providing leadership to the Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program. Dr. Chandler has been at the NIH since 2002, serving in positions of increasing responsibility and leadership at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Prior to joining NCATS, she served as the Acting Director for the NIDA’s Division of Epidemiology, Services, and Prevention Research and Chief of the Services Research Branch. She worked for the Department of Justice from 1996-2002, directing large drug treatment programs. Her areas of expertise include research with individuals involved with the criminal justice system, clinical trials, improving adherence to drug abuse treatment and HIV care, health services research, and implementing evidence based treatments into routine practice settings. She has authored numerous articles and book chapters. She earned her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Kentucky and is a licensed psychologist. As a clinician she has treated those struggling with addiction use disorder and serious mental health issues.
  • Jennifer Villani
    Jennifer Villani, Ph.D. M.P.H.
    Associate Director
    (301) 827-4095

    Dr. Jennifer Villani is the Associate Director of the HEALing Communities Study. She comes to NIDA from the NIH Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) where she conducted a wide range of research activities to advance disease prevention. She developed and tested a new method for portfolio analysis that utilizes machine learning to characterize NIH prevention research in areas including substance use and health services. In addition, Dr. Villani is the lead NIH representative to the Healthy People Federal Interagency Workgroup, where she oversees and coordinates NIH participation in the development of the Healthy People 2030 initiative. Prior to joining ODP, Dr. Villani worked 9 years at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), where she coordinated an international consortium of investigators developing computational models to understand infectious disease dynamics. She also served as the NIGMS Planning and Evaluation Officer for a year and conducted portfolio analyses and program evaluations in infectious disease modeling, multiscale modeling, and systems biology. She earned her Ph.D. in Health Services Research from the University of Maryland, College Park, and her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the George Washington University. Her research foci include preventive medicine, substance use prevention, patient-provider communication, health literacy, and health care disparities.
  • Andrea Czajkowski
    Andrea Czajkowski  
    Program Analyst, HEALing Communities Study
    (301) 827-6202

    I am happy to announce the newest addition to the team, Ms. Andrea Czajkowski. Andrea will serve as the HEALing Communities Study’s Program Analyst, working closely with Redonna Chandler and Jennifer Villani.

    Andrea comes to us from the Indian Health Service (IHS). She is a proudly enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In June 2012, she began her federal career working in the IHS Division of Human Resources, but eventually moved to the Office of Clinical and Preventive Services (OCPS), Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) in December 2013. During her time with IHS, Andrea served in several administrative roles, but was primarily responsible for high-profile event planning and project management. She served as the lead planner and project manager for the agency’s annual National Behavioral Health Conferences, and most recently, the 2018 IHS National Combined Councils Meeting, on behalf of the IHS Chief Medical Officer. Additionally, she worked with IHS’ National Tribal Advisory Committee on Behavioral Health, and served on the Executive Committee for the National Council on Behavioral Health; both of which serve as advisory bodies to the agency advocating on issues that affect the delivery of behavioral health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Andrea obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Frostburg State University, and is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration.
  • Keisher Highsmith, DrPH
    Keisher Highsmith, DrPH
    Program Official
    (301) 402-1984

    Dr. Keisher Highsmith comes to NIH/NIDA from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Dr. Highsmith is a Scientist/Epidemiologist in the U.S. Public Health Service and has been a public health practitioner for over 14 years. Dr. Highsmith’s tenure at HRSA included serving as Deputy Director in the Bureau of Primary Health Care. Her portfolio consisted of special initiatives and technical assistance investments that supports HRSA funded health centers with clinical quality practice transformation and service expansion activities such as mental health and substance abuse. Dr. Highsmith also served as the Director of Special Initiatives and Program Planning and Evaluation in the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). She provided scientific leadership and support for the development and implementation of innovative, multidisciplinary programs in the area of maternal, child and women’s health. Dr. Highsmith established The Maternal Health Initiative (MHI) which is a comprehensive national strategy to improve women’s health and ensure the quality and safety of care. She also conceptualized, launched, and led The Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health: Improving Maternal Health and Safety which is a national initiative to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality through quality improvement of patient safety in birthing facilities. Dr. Highsmith served as a subject matter expert on maternal/women’s health on HRSA State MCH Title V Block Grant Transformation Steering Committee and Chaired the State Needs Assessment Workgroup. As a result, this historical program portfolio now include four (4) national outcome and performance measures focused on women and maternal health. Dr. Highsmith received her Doctorate in Public Health from Morgan State University.

For information about the HEALing Communities Study and other HEAL Initiatives see - NIDA’s Role in the NIH HEAL Initiative