Brandy Henry is an Assistant Professor of Education (RHS) for the College of Education at Penn State. Dr. Henry is a clinician scientist who uses years of practice experience to inform her research that aims to improve criminalized populations' health. Her unique combination of research and practice experience led to her appointment by the Governor of Massachusetts to the state’s Restrictive Housing Oversight Committee, which oversees housing conditions in Massachusetts’ prisons and jails. Dr. Henry has also served on the board of directors of multiple grassroots non-profits which provide direct services to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people. Her work in these roles has grounded her research in the complexity of translating research to inform policy and practice.
Dr. Henry completed her postdoctoral training at the Columbia University School of Social Work and Mailman School of Public Health. She was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the National Institute on Drug Abuse funded Training Program on HIV and Substance Use in the Criminal Justice System. She received her doctorate and master’s degrees in social policy (behavioral health track) from the Brandeis University Heller School for Social Policy and Management. She was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for Health Services Research on Alcohol-Related Problems. She received a master of social welfare degree from the University of California Los Angeles, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with minors in statistics and biology, from Boston University. Dr. Henry was also awarded a Harvard Kennedy School Rappaport Institute Public Policy Summer Fellowship, and is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) in the state of Massachusetts.
In her research, Dr. Henry documents incarceration's social determinants and health disparities among criminalized populations, focusing on trauma, mental health, and substance use disorders. She uses both qualitative and quantitative methods, including in-depth interviews, latent class analysis and structural equation modeling. Her work has documented pathways into incarceration and the role that patterns of trauma exposure play in criminalization, including placement in solitary confinement.
Dr. Henry’s work with the NIDA-funded Juvenile Justice Translational Research on Interventions for Adolescents in the Legal System (JJ-TRIALS) examined the implementation of organizational supports for screening, assessment, and referral to substance use, mental health & HIV treatment in juvenile justice systems and costing of behavioral health interventions.
At the Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Henry is affiliated with the Consortium on Substance Use and Addiction and the Restorative Justice Initiative. Dr. Henry teaches courses in the Rehabilitation & Human Services (RHS) major and advises students in both RHS undergraduate and Counselor Education and Counselor Education and Supervision graduate programs.