Dr. Friend is an Advanced Certified Prevention Specialist (ACPS), an Adjunct Professor at Brown University’s Department of Public Health, a member of the Training Faculty at Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, and a Senior Scientist at Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. She obtained a Postdoctoral Fellowship in addictions research from Brown University, a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland, and B.A. in honors psychology from Yale University. Before working at Brown and PIRE, she worked as a clinical neuropsychologist for roughly 10 years with individuals with persistent mental illness and with medical problems.
Since then, at PIRE and at Brown University, Dr. Friend has worked for over two decades in behavioral health policy, enforcement, and media, for a diverse array of populations, both as a practitioner and researcher. As project director of the PIRE Rhode Island Training, Technical Assistance, and Evaluation Resources Center, she provides oversight for numerous TTA and Evaluation projects for federal agencies, states and communities. She currently serves as the lead evaluator for North Dakota’s SAMSHA Emergency Covid, State Opioid Response, and Disaster Response Grants. She also operates as the lead evaluator for multiple community CDC Overdose to Action grants and for grants from Healthy Aging. In addition, she has conducted research on tobacco, alcohol, drug, obesity, and Alzheimer’s policies and health care quality to help inform federal, state and local efforts to prevent and reduce associated harms. She was appointed to the Rhode Island Governor’s Council on Behavioral Health and Alzheimer’s Executive Board Finally, she serves as a lecturer and mentor for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.