Sarah Cusworth Walker, Ph.D.

Research Associate Professor
(206) 685-2197
Professional Summary

Sarah Walker is a health systems and implementation researcher with particular expertise in research related to adolescent disruptive behavior, applying developmental research to juvenile justice settings, and evidence-based policymaking for children’s and youth mental and behavioral health. Dr. Walker is primarily interested in how research informs decision making at the policy and administrative level. Her work bridges this divide directly in her role as co-director of two research to practice/policy centers: Study of the Advancement of Justice Effectiveness (, and the Evidence Based Practice Institute ( She works directly with state and county policymakers to develop solutions that bridge the research to practice gap. Among other resources, this work has produced clinical guides, legislative recommendations and policy white papers. Dr. Walker also applies a community participatory lens to her work to develop innovations that equally value the expertise of community and research-based principles. In this capacity, Dr. Walker’s primarily contributions include research on girl-specific prevention approaches to substance use and legal involvement; 2) family-based approaches within court and as applied to treatment ordered for juvenile offenders; 3) youth development-based case management models for probation; 4) and decision supports for community case managers to support the prevention of youth violence.

Areas of Interest

Evidence-based policymaking, decision supports for administrators and professional staff, juvenile justice, behavioral health, gender-responsive programming, family involvement



Active Projects

CC-DA-015-075 (Walker: PI)                                                                                      

National Institute of Drug Abuse R21        

Girl-Specific Substance Abuse Prevention Program



Raikes Foundation, Block-Levitt Foundation, Office of Youth Homelessness Protection and Prevention

Youth Homelessness and Juvenile Justice


(Walker: PI)

Annie E Casey Foundation

Opportunity Based Probation, Juvenile Detention Alternatives Evaluation


(Walker:Co-I; Trupin: PI)

Department of Social and Health Services

Evidence-Based Practice Institute