Caislin Firth, PhD, MPH is a Research Scientist at the Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute (ADAI) at the University of Washington (UW).
Caislin is a social epidemiologist interested in unpacking how public policies shape social and built environments and their influence on health inequities. This pursuit requires interdisciplinary research methods that prioritize community engagement and intersectoral collaborations, given that the mechanisms of change (policy, zoning, infrastructure) often lie outside the purview of public health and academia. With a background working in local government in the Pacific Northwest, Caislin’s research goes beyond answering the questions “do population health interventions (e.g. cannabis legalization) improve health?” by also considering what works, for whom, and in which contexts. In practice, Caislin has studied the underlying causes of inequities in substance use, criminal justice, mobility, and transportation outcomes and the relationships between neighborhood environments and health.
Caislin leads a research program that uses community science to design equitable healthy cities and mitigate negative health effects of gentrification (GENUINE, funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research). Caislin’s research spans criminal justice, cannabis, healthy city, and population health intervention research with a predisposition towards spatial epidemiology, multi-level modeling, and applying novel epidemiologic methods to research projects.
Caislin is a Horowitz Foundation Social Policy Fellow and received a PhD in Epidemiology from the UW where her dissertation focused on the impacts of adult cannabis legalization on socio-spatial health inequities for youth. Caislin is a consulting editor for Cannabis.