Sitara Weerakoon is a postdoctoral research fellow with the Yale School of Medicine NIDA T32 Postdoctoral Research Training Program in Substance Abuse Prevention, and the Substances and Sexual Health (SASH) Lab in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Yale School of Public Health. Dr. Weerakoon obtained a PhD in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health, and a Bachelor of Arts from Austin College.
Her research focuses on substance use impact on health in the child and adolescent population with a lifecourse approach. She is skilled in research design, quantitative data analysis, survey development, GIS mapping, and health communication. Her master’s thesis combined the use of structural equation modeling and geographic information system (GIS) mapping software, while her dissertation (“Effect of in utero polysubstance exposure on anthropometric and cardiovascular health outcomes in ethnically diverse adolescents”) used mixed effects growth curve modeling and regression modeling to explore child growth over time and cardiovascular disease risk in adolescence after prenatal exposure to maternal drug use. She has contributed to papers on childhood obesity prevention, substance use in adolescence and adulthood, adolescent sexual health, racial and ethnic disparities, and other topics relating to child health.