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Behavioral Science




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Photo of Robert WalkerRobert Walker, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.

(University of Kentucky, 1979)
333 Waller Avenue, Suite 400
Lexington, Kentucky 40504
Phone: (859) 257-6623

Research Description

Robert Walker’s research focuses on treatment outcomes of substance abuse treatment among clinical populations as well as partner violence victimization. His research has included a wide range of problems associated with substance abuse including traumatic brain injury, depression, and the ethics of consent processes. He is principal investigator of a statewide treatment outcome study that examines intake level data collected by clinicians in publicly funded treatment programs and follow-up data collected on former clients 12 months after treatment. The follow-up interviews are conducted by UK CDAR. These data now represent ten years of follow-up findings that include a description of avoided costs associated with treatment. He also is principal investigator of two projects that examine treatment outcomes among pregnant women with substance use disorders. These studies involve matching project-specific data collected by clinicians in public treatment programs to large state datasets on birth outcomes and service utilization.

2012 Accomplishments

During 2012, Robert Walker spent considerable time on training events and dissemination of research pertaining to substance abuse and dependence. Going to halftime status in July, he had only two publications. Much of the year was spent in providing lectures and workshops derived from CDAR and other research on drug use patterns, the effects of substance in human neurophysiology and how treatment might be conceived.  Robert Walker continued to serve on the Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund Board.  Robert Walker conducted journal reviews for three journals in 2012. He still serves as a prisoner advocate reviewer for the UK Medical IRB and also served as a reviewer for projects involving subjects with limited decisional capacity. Robert Walker worked closely with the IRB on developing an electronic system for protocol submission, review and committee action.  Robert Walker provided two major papers used in developing state policies regarding behavioral healthcare funding in the state. First, in consequence of the General Assembly passing a budget that included new match money for a Medicaid substance abuse benefit, Walker developed two detailed financial analyses estimating the costs of treatment per patient per year. Second, the state Department of Behavioral Health, developmental and Intellectual Disabilities has Walker for estimates of the cost of behavioral healthcare benefits under the Kentucky Health Exchange Program that is being developed as part of the federal healthcare reform. This report involved review of published reports from private insurance, other state’s Medicaid data and an analysis of Kentucky service utilization and costs. The study generated expected costs per member per year and per month to build into the overall Health Exchange member cost estimates. Robert Walker served as a behavioral health consultant to the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy on five death penalty cases during 2012 – three of which have been settled with plea deals for life. Consultancy relates to developing theories of the case for both guilt/innocence and mitigation phases of these capital trials. Robert Walker has worked with the DPA to revise the structure of case reviews to develop more comprehensive defense planning and use of expert witnesses. In addition, Walker presented a new way of doing case theory development to a group of 60 attorneys, investigators and mitigation specialists at their annual meeting in Louisville in June, 2012. The contents of this lecture are being used in a book chapter for a text requested by the American Bar Association.  As with last year, much of the writing this year has been applied to a book examining willed intentions and partner violence using neuroscience, philosophy, law, and psychology literatures. This book began in June 2010 and is likely to take another year, thus interrupting journal article submissions.  Robert Walker also provided three day-long training events for the Kentucky domestic Violence Association shelter directors and clinical staff The training focused on the effects of social role perception on neurophysiology and its consequences for mental health and safety planning. Moving from conceptual models of human inequality and its behavioral health effects, the training then showed how different interviewing approaches can reduce the negative effects of low social rank and loss of power and control.

Research Funding

Principal Investigator, Kentucky Substance Abuse Treatment Outcome Study, 2003 to present. Kentucky Department of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Addiction Services.
Principal Investigator, Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Outcome Study, 2005 to present. Kentucky Department of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Addiction Services.
Principal Investigator, Independence House Project for Pregnant and Postpartum Women. October 2008 – September 2011. This CSAT-funded residential substance abuse treatment project is for long term residential treatment for pregnant and postpartum women in Appalachian Kentucky. Kentucky Department of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Addiction Services.
Principal Investigator, Kids Now Project. July 2005 – Present. This is a state-funded program using case management oriented early interventions for pregnant women at risk for substance abuse. The evaluation study examines clinical outcomes using pre-post data on women served. Kentucky Department of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Addiction Services.
Principal Investigator, Families in Safe Homes Network. November 2007 – October 2012. This Kentucky River Community Care project is funded by the Administration for Child and Family services (ACF) in the Department for Health and Human Services. This project collects data on parents with substance use disorders whose children have been reported to protective services for child neglect or abuse. Kentucky River Community Care contract.
Principal Investigator, Opiate Replacement Treatment Program data system and outcomes project. January 2005 to present. This state-funded project uses baseline and follow-up measures as well as dose change measures, urinalysis results, and take-home exception request processing. Annual award – is part of the KTOS system and SDI initiative.

Representative Publications

Walker, R. (2009). Retention in treatment - Indicator or illusion: An essay Journal of Substance Use and Misuse, 44, 18-27.

Walker, R. (October, 2009). Translating neurodevelopment to practice: How to go from fMRI to a home visit. Journal of Loss and Trauma.

Walker, R., Cole, J., & Logan, TK. (2008). Identifying client-level indicators of recovery among DUI, criminal justice, and non-criminal justice treatment referrals. Special issue - Substance Use and Misuse,43, 1785-1801.

Walker, R. & Logan, TK (2008). Substance Abuse and Dependence. In H. E. A. Tinsley & S. H. Lease (Eds.). Encyclopedia of Counseling, Volume 2: Personal Counseling and Mental Health Problems (pp. 893-899). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Walker, R., Cole, J.E., Logan, TK. (2007). Screening substance abuse treatment clients for traumatic brain injury: Prevalence and characteristics. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 22, 360-368.

Walker, R., Logan, T., Clark, J.J., & Leukefeld, C. (2005). Informed consent to undergo treatment for substance abuse: a recommended approach. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 29 (4), 241-251.

Walker, R., & Logan, T. (2004). Treating substance abuse clients with co-occurring intimate partner violence. In K. Knight & D. Farabee (Eds.), Treating addicted offenders: A continuum of effective practices. (pp. 23.1-23.11). Kingston, NJ: Civic Research Institute.

Logan, T.K., Cole, J., Shannon, L., & Walker, R. (2006). Partner Stalking: How Women Respond, Cope, and Survive. Springer Publishers.

Logan, T., Walker, R., Jordan, C.J., & Leukefeld, C. (2006). Women and victimization, contributing factors, interventions, and implications. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press.

Walker, R., & Logan, T. (2004). Setting the stage for treating drug court clients: How to initiate treatment. In B. Sims (Ed.), Substance abuse treatment with correctional clients: Practical implications for institutional and community settings. Binghampton, NY: Hayworth Press.

Walker, R., Hiller, M., Staton-Tindall, M., & Leukefeld, C. (2003). Head injury among drug abusers: An indicator of co-occurring problems. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 35(3).

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