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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Keisher S. Highsmith, NIDA

image of Dr. Keisher Highsmith

Keisher S. Highsmith, Dr.P.H.

Commander, United States Public Health Service
Health Scientist Administrator
Services Research Branch
Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Biographical Summary

Dr. Keisher Highsmith is a Scientist/Epidemiologist in the U.S. Public Health Service and has been a public health practitioner for approximately 20 years.  Dr. Highsmith serves as a Program Official in the Services Research Branch of the NIDA Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research.  In this role, she provides administrative oversight of the HEALing Communities Study which is part of the Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Trans-NIH initiative and the Rural Opioid Initiative.  She oversees a portfolio that focus on implementation science, policy, access/utilization of services to address SUD and the impact on maternal, women and child health.  Dr. Highsmith Co-Chairs the NIDA Women & Sex/Gender Differences Research Group and serves on the NIDA Research Training Committee. 

Prior to coming to NIH, Dr. Highsmith was a Deputy Director in the HRSA Bureau of Primary Health Care where she directed special initiatives and technical assistance investments that supported HRSA funded health centers with clinical quality practice transformation and service expansion activities such as mental health and substance use disorder. 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 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. Dr. Highsmith earned her Doctorate in Public Health from Morgan State University.  

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