PhD, Public Health-Health Policy and Management, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Cohort Seven Fellow

Academic Mentor
Kristen Hassmiller-Lich, PhD
Research Assistant Professor, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Policy Mentor
Laura Edwards
President and CEO, Collaborative Health Solutions

Current Institutional Affiliation
Oregon Social Learning Center: Early Career Scientist

Areas of Expertise
Mental Health, Systems Science, Health Policy


Dr. Gracelyn Cruden joined OSLC upon completing her doctoral studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Department of Health Policy and Management in August 2019. Her dissertation focused on defining local context as it relates to the risk and protective factors for child maltreatment. The research aimed to support decision makers in selecting which evidence-based programs, community interventions, and policies could most effectively prevent child maltreatment. Overall, her research utilizes systems science informed methods such as participatory system dynamics or Group Model Building, multi-criteria decision analysis, and statistical methodologies such as latent class analyses and linear or non-linear regression. Using her training as a health services researcher, she aims to understand unmet mental health service needs and the impact of state and federal policies on mental health and substance misuse services and individual-level outcomes. Ultimately, she hopes that her research can contribute to the development and effective implementation of interventions that meet community needs and empower individuals so as to support positive mental health across the life course and reduce inequality.