Jessica Hanson


Research Interests and Expertise

Jessica Hanson, PhD

Dr. Jessica Hanson has worked with American Indian communities in the Northern Plains for the past 13 years. She is a leading expert on the prevention of alcohol-exposed pregnancies with preconceptional American Indian women and has been funded by NIH, SAMHSA, and the CDC. Dr. Hanson has also been called upon as a consultant for national and local collaborations, both for her work in the prevention of alcohol-exposed pregnancies and also for training in motivational interviewing. Dr. Hanson has published both qualitative and quantitative data related to women’s health and wellness, including prevention of alcohol-exposed pregnancies and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Jessica Hanson
  • Assistant Scientist, Health Outcomes & Population Research
  • Bachelor of Science in sociology and women’s studies at Augustana University
  • Master of Arts in social sciences at University of Northern Colorado
  • PhD in community and behavioral health at University of Iowa

Research Line Methodolgy Expertise Other Expertise
  • Preconception Health
  • Prevention of Substance Use
  • Health Disparities
  • Qualitative Data Collections and Analysis, including Think Alouds
  • Evalutation
  • Community-Based Program Development
  • Motivational Interviewing

 Current Projects

Dr. Hanson is a leading expert on the CHOICES intervention – an alcohol-exposed pregnancy prevention program – for American Indian women. Specifically, she and her team have:

  • Established the feasibility and acceptability of CHOICES with American Indian communities.
  • Utilized community-based participatory research (CBPR) to successfully implement CHOICES in busy tribal clinics.
  • Determined the validity and reliability of CHOICES measures for American Indian women.  
  • Conducted a needs assessment on expanding alcohol-exposed pregnancy prevention efforts.
  • Served as a consultant for multiple CHOICES-related projects, including as a CHOICES and motivational interviewing trainer.
  • Adapted CHOICES for use using the telephone and in a group setting.

Evaluation Projects

New Start Residential Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women (funded by SAMHSA)
The purpose of the project is to provide comprehensive, high-quality residential substance abuse treatment for low-income women age 18 and over who are pregnant or postpartum, and their minor children. Sanford Research will provide the evaluation of these services.

White Buffalo Calf Woman Society’s (WBCWS) Youth with Sexual Behavior Problems Program (funded by the U.S. Department of Justice)
Sanford Research will be in charge of conducting the process and outcome evaluation techniques of this important project. The evaluation team will work with WBCWS to identify measurements and tools to capture the necessary data and will be dedicated to collecting appropriate program measurements.

First Steps to Healthy Babies (funded byPrimeWest Health)
This project is a collaboration between Sanford Bemidji Medical Center in Bemidji, MN, Beltrami County Health and Human Services, and the Red Lake Family and Children Services. The goal is to develop a local program for prenatal screening and intervention for substance abuse in pregnancy.

Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis

Dr. Hanson and her team also work with other Sanford Research scientists on conducting qualitative data collection and analyzing results.


Contact Us Resources

Phone: (605) 312-6209


Sanford Research
2301 E. 60th Street N.
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
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Lab News

February 2017
Jessica D. Hanson, PhD, published a research article titled “Impact of the CHOICES intervention in preventing alcohol-exposed pregnancies in American Indian women” in the Journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. This study highlights the successful implementation of the evidence-based CHOICES intervention to reduce the risk of alcohol exposed pregnancies with American Indian women. Co-authors from Sanford Research include Morgan Nelson, Jamie Jensen, and Amy Willman.

December 2016
Dr. Hanson attended the 2016 Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health in Washington, D.C.

November 2016
Dr. Jessica Hanson and Jamie Jensen presented at the Minnesota Organization of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS) annual conference. The title of their presentation was “A Preconception Approach to Preventing Fetal Alcohol Syndrome."

August 2016
Dr. Hanson was awarded a pilot grant from The Geographical Management of Cancer Health Disparities Program (GMaP) Region 6 Research Scholar Pilot Funds Program.

August 2016
Dr. Jessica Hanson along with Dr. Susan Puumala had a study published titled “Epidemiology of substance-exposes pregnancies at one Great Lakes hospital that serves a large number of American Indians”. The study was published in American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research. The study aimed to determine the prevalence of substance-exposed pregnancies at a hospital in the Great Lakes region of the U.S.