Tarlise (Tarlie) Townsend

Postdoctoral Fellow
Center for Opioid Epidemiology & Policy
Dept. of Population Health
NYU School of Medicine


Hi! I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy in NYU’s Department of Population Health, supported by the Behavioral Sciences Training Program.


I’m a population health scientist who studies pain, disability, and opioid use in the United States. I’m particularly interested in the intended and unintended consequences of policies aiming to address nonmedical opioid use and opioid-related overdose, as well as their implications for racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities. My research also works to explain demographic trends in disability and the pathways underlying educational disparities in disability incidence. In a new line of research, I’m examining the use of opioids to manage cancer-related pain. To do this work, I draw on perspectives and methods from health services research, demography, and sociology.


I received my joint PhD in Health Services Organization & Policy and Sociology from the University of Michigan in May 2020. I was a predoctoral trainee at Michigan’s Population Studies Center in the Institute for Social Research.

Prior to graduate school, I studied the cognitive and social dimensions of climate change, first as a DAAD Scholar at Berlin’s Max Planck Institute for Human Development, and then as a Henry Luce Scholar at Vietnam’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

Application material review

If you are in a related field and are applying to grad schools, post-bacc fellowships, RA positions, or similar posts–and particularly if you’re a member of an underrepresented group–I’m very happy to review your application materials and/or help brainstorm your goals and plans. No fee, of course; just shoot me an email.

Email: tarlise.townsend@nyulangone.org
Twitter: @TarlieTownsend