Gina Hijjawi is a principal researcher and director of the health, safety, and well-being across child and family serving systems practice area. She specializes in the prevention of substance abuse and the translation of prevention science to inform a range of audiences including parents, practitioners, and policymakers. Dr. Hijjawi collaborates with project teams on training and capacity building projects, working with youth serving systems to ensure the integration of substance abuse prevention and treatment resources. She assists with the management and strategic planning of the program. She also manages new business development for opportunities in behavioral health, juvenile justice, child welfare, and related youth-serving systems.
Prior to joining AIR, Dr. Hijjawi worked as a policy analyst in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in the Office of Demand Reduction. At ONDCP she oversaw major prevention initiatives focused on prescription drug abuse, drugged driving, and the integration of substance abuse prevention into criminal justice systems. As deputy director of research and planning at the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (the Partnership), she managed the qualitative research portfolio, translating findings into guides for consumers on preventing substance abuse and finding treatment for individuals with substance use disorders and other co-occurring behavioral health problems. Among her initiatives at the Partnership, she developed resources for parents and coaches to prevent the use of performance enhancing substances and conducted key informant interviews and a literature review on the availability and accessibility of behavioral health services for military families, resulting in the adaptation of guides to meet the needs of these families. She also managed the evaluation of the Partnership’s community education prevention program, a program that brings together criminal justice and behavioral health professionals to educate communities about substance abuse prevention and positive adolescent development.
Upon earning her doctorate, Dr. Hijjawi was selected as the American Association for the Advancement of Science/Society for Research in Child Development Executive Branch Fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the Prevention Research Branch. Dr. Hijjawi has served on advisory groups in the substance abuse prevention field, served on the Editorial Board for the Prevention Researcher (2010-2013), and serves as a reviewer for Prevention Science, the official journal of the Society for Prevention Research.