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Faculty and Staff Directory

Katherine (Kait) Hirchak, PhD, MHPA

Assistant Professor
Department of Community and Behavioral Health


  • PhD in Prevention Science, Washington State University, Spokane, WA
  • MHPA in Health Policy and Administration, Washington State University, Spokane, WA
  • BA in Native American Studies, The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA

Academic Positions

  • 2018–2020: Postdoctoral Fellow, T32 NIAAA Center on Alcohol, Substance use And Addictions (CASAA), University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
  • 2014–2018: Graduate Research Assistant, College of Medicine, Washington State University, Spokane, WA


  • Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine Outstanding Contribution to Community Partnerships, 2022
  • Promoting Indigenous Research Leadership (PIRL), Scholar, 2021
  • Learning for Early Careers in Addiction & Diversity (LEAD) Program, Scholar, 2020-2024
  • Center for Underrepresented Research in Addiction (CURA), Scholar, 2020-2022
  • Urban Indian Health Institute, Policy Fellow, 2020-Present
  • Annual Society for Prevention Research Sloboda and Bukoski Cup Winner, 2020
    Team CASAA (lead: Margo Hurlocker and Dylan Richards; co-members: Kait Hirchak, Frank Schwebal, & Adrian Bravo, faculty mentor Matthew Pearson).
  • NIH Loan Repayment Program, 2019-2023
  • Research Assistantships for Diverse Scholars, Research Fellow, Washington State University, Spokane, WA, 2015-2016

Additional Information

Katherine (Kait) Hirchak, PhD, MHPA is a descendant of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health and is also faculty in the Promoting Research Initiatives in Substance Use and Mental Health (PRISM) Collaborative. Dr. Hirchak completed her postdoctoral training at the University of New Mexico’s Center on Alcohol, Substance use, And Addictions (CASAA) as a NIAAA T32 Fellow. For almost 15 years, she has partnered with Tribal communities to enhance health equity and well-being. Dr. Hirchak’s research interests, activities, and training include health policy, assessing alcohol and substance use disorder (SUD) interventions among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities, conducting clinical trials and mixed-methods research in diverse settings, and culturally adapting evidence-based interventions. Dr. Hirchak collaborates on several National Institutes of Health grants focused on SUD research with AI/AN communities. She is also currently funded by NIAAA to culturally and developmentally adapt contingency management and behavioral economics among 18-29 year olds in partnership with a rural reservation outpatient treatment center (PI: Hirchak, K01AA028831).


Hirchak KA, Kordas G, Lyons AJ, Herron J, Jansen K, Shaw J, Avey J, McPherson SM, Roll J, Buchwald D, McDonell MG, and the HONOR Study Team. A secondary analysis of a multi-site randomized clinical trial: Incentives reduce alcohol use among American Indian and Alaska Native adults. JAM. Accepted.

Hirchak, KA, Amiri, S., Kordas, K., Oluwoye O., Lyons, AJ., Bajet, K., Hahn, J., McDonell, MG., Campbell, A. & Venner, KL. Variations in national availability of waivered buprenorphine prescribers by racial and ethnic composition of ZIP codes. Substance Abuse, Treatment and Policy. 2022;17(1):41. doi: 10.1186/s13011-022-00457-3. PMID: 35614487; PMCID: PMC9131568.

Hirchak KA, Lyons AJ, Herron J, Kordas G, Shaw J, Jansen K, Avey J, McPherson SM, Donovan D, Roll J, Buchwald D, Ries R, McDonell MG, and the HONOR Study Team. Contingency management for alcohol use disorder reduces cannabis use among American Indian and Alaska Native adults. JSAT. 2022;137:108693. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2021.108693. Epub 2021. PMID: 34952747; PMCID: PMC9086134. 2021.

McDonell MG, Hirchak KA, Herron J, Lyons AJ, Alcover KC, Shaw J… Buchwald D, and the HONOR Study Team. Effect of incentives for alcohol abstinence in partnership with 3 American Indian and Alaska Native communities: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psych. 2021; 1;78(6):599-606. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.4768. PMID: 33656561; PMCID: PMC7931140.

Hirchak KA, Tonigan JS, Hernandez-Vallant A, Herron J, Cloud V, & Venner KL. The validity of the short inventory of problems and drinking intensity among urban American Indian adults. Substance Use and Misuse. 2021;56(4):501-509. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2021.1883656. Epub 2021 Feb 19. PMID: 33605847; PMCID: PMC8095341.

Hirchak KA, Jansen K, Lyons A, Herron J, Bergerson D, Shaw J…McDonell MG & The HONOR Study Team. Lessons shared: Implementation of a randomized clinical trial for alcohol use disorders with five American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Collaborations: A Journal of Community-Based Research and Practice. 2021; 4(1): 5, pp. 1–12. PMID: In Process. PMCID: In Process.

Venner KL, Serier K, Sarafin R, Greenfield B, Hirchak KA, Smith J, & Witkiewitz K.  Culturally tailored evidence-based substance use disorder treatments are efficacious with an American Indian southwest tribe: An open-label randomized controlled trial. Addiction. 2021;116(4):949-960. doi: 10.1111/add.15191. PMID: 32667105. PMCID: In Process.

Hirchak, KA, Hernandez-Vallant, A, Herron, J, Cloud, V, Tonigan, JS, McCrady, B, & Venner, KL. Aligning three substance use disorder interventions among a tribe in the southwest united states: Pilot feasibility of cultural re-centering, dissemination, and implementation. J Ethn Subst Abuse. 2020; 2:1-17. doi: 10.1080/15332640.2020.1836701. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33135985; PMCID: PMC8095342.

Belone L, Rae R, Hirchak KA, Cohoe-Belone B, Orosco A, Shendo K & Wallerstein N. Dissemination of American Indian culturally-centered community-based participatory research family listening program: Implications for global Indigenous well-being. Genealogy. 2020; 4 (4) 99. PMID: In Process. PMCID: In Process.

Hirchak KA, Herron J, Murphy SM, Donovan, D, Roll JM, Buchwald D, McDonell MG, McPherson SM & The HONOR Study Team. Assessing the interest and cultural congruence of contingency management as an intervention for alcohol misuse among younger American Indian adults. Am Indian Alsk Native Ment Health Res. 2019; 26(3). PMID: 31743414. PMCID: PMC6925541.

Hirchak KA, Leickly E, Herron J, Shaw J, Skalisky J, Dirks LG, Avey JP, McPherson S, Nepom J, Donovan D, Buchwald D, McDonell MG & the HONOR Study Team. Focus groups to increase the cultural acceptability of a contingency management intervention for American Indian and Alaska Native communities. JSAT. 2018; 90: 57-63. PMID: 29866384. PMCID: PMC6014612.

Hirchak K, Murphy SM. Assessing differences in the availability of opioid addiction therapy options: Rural versus urban and American Indian reservation versus non-reservation. J Rural Health. 2017; 33(1)102-109. PMID: 26987797. PMCID: 5568536.

Katherine Hirchak
Katherine Hirchak, PhD, MHPA
Assistant Professor

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