HMA Community Strategies Principal Kara Riehman has over 20 years of experience in applied research and evaluation, implementation science, program development and implementation, and quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis.
Kara has worked across a variety of public health sectors, including cancer prevention and early detection, HIV prevention, substance abuse prevention and treatment, child mental health, and juvenile justice. She currently is the evaluation director for the State of Montana Systems of Care Wraparound Services grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for five tribal communities. She also provides statistical consulting for a study to examine predictors of potential Hepatitis-C outbreak in California.
Throughout her career, Kara has provided evaluation consulting and services for both national-level federally-funded projects and community-level public health programs. Prior to joining HMA, she was strategic director of Evaluation and Research for the American Cancer Society (ACS) where she led evaluation of all ACS cancer prevention and early detection programs. In this role, Kara directed evaluation of ACS prevention and early detection programs among health system partners nationwide, including programs to increase breast, colorectal, and lung cancer screening, and HPV vaccination. She informed strategic planning initiatives to improve ACS processes for prioritization of prevention and early detection programs, staffing structure, and grants management. Kara collaborated with all ACS departments and regions nationally to guide program implementation and improvement and provided evaluation expertise in external partnerships. In addition, she contributed to research literature by translating several evaluation reports into published manuscripts. Kara’s evaluation work contributed to program improvement in ACS program delivery and to understanding what factors lead to successful program implementation.
At ICF MACRO, Kara led a cross-site quasi-experimental study to compare the effectiveness of the SAMHSA Children’s Mental Health Initiative model to traditional mental health services delivery systems. She also led the CDC-funded implementation evaluation of Project CHOICES, an evidence-based treatment to reduce alcohol-exposed pregnancy among women attending STD clinics. She was project director of a SAMHSA-funded program to increase community capacity to develop and implement violence, suicide, and bullying prevention programs in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. She also served as project director for a World Bank–funded evaluation of the community response to HIV and AIDS in Africa.
Kara has also worked as a research health associate at RTI International and associate social scientist at RAND Corporation. She has more than 25 publications in professional journals, over half of which are first-authored.
Kara earned her PhD and master’s degree in sociology from Florida State University, and she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in substance abuse treatment at the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs. She has a bachelor’s degree in social relations from Lehigh University.