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Assistant Professor

Sachini Bandara, PhD ’18, MS, studies how public health policies can improve wellbeing for people who use drugs, have mental illness, or are involved in the carceral system.

Contact Info

1812 Ashland Ave, Suite 300

Research Interests

mental illness; substance use; criminal legal system; social policy; Medicaid, policy communication, child welfare system

Experiences & Accomplishments
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Harvard School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley

Sachini Bandara is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She conducts health policy research related to mental health and substance use, with a focus on state policy responses to the U.S. overdose crisis, populations involved in the criminal legal system and pregnant and parenting people. She is a mixed methods researcher who uses qualitative, survey and implementation science methods to understand policy implementation and lived experience and uses quasi-experimental methods with administrative and survey data to understand policy effectiveness.

Honors & Awards

2023-2025 Implementation Research Institute Fellow 

2021 Addiction Health Services Research Conference Early Career Investigator Award

2013-2018 BSPH Brown Community Health Scholars Program

Select Publications

Selected Recent Publications

  • Bandara S Byrne L, Berman V, Hurst A, King D, Gibbons JB, Sugarman OK, Livingston A, Kerins L, Hulsey EG, Alves A, Saloner B (In Press) Harm Reduction and Treatment Among People at High Risk of Overdose. JAMA Network Open

  • Sugarman O, Saloner B, Richards T, Lasser E, Heath T, Idries S, Weiner J, Bandara S. (2024) Association of buprenorphine retention and subsequent adverse outcomes following an initial non-fatal overdose: An analysis using statewide linked Maryland databases. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 258, 11281.

  • Bandara SSchall T, White SA, McCourt AD, Goodman DJ, McGinty EE. (2022) Association between U.S. state prenatal drug use laws and child welfare reporting in Alabama, Maryland and Utah. International Journal of Drug Policy. 108: 103806.

  • Bandara S, Kennedy-Hendricks A, Merritt S, Barry CL, Saloner B. (2021) Methadone and Buprenorphine Treatment in United States Jails and Prisons: Lessons from Early Adopters. Addiction. Dec; 116(12):3473-3481. 

  • Bandara S, Kennedy-Hendricks A, Stuart EA, Barry CL, Abrams MT, Daumit GL, McGinty EE. (2020) The Effect of the Maryland Medicaid Health Home Program on Emergency Department and Inpatient Utilization Among Individuals with Serious Mental Illness. General Hospital Psychiatry. 64:99-104