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Emily Tanner-Smith

Thomson Professor
College of Education, Counseling Psychology, Family and Human Services, Prevention Science
Phone: 541-346-2365
Office: 230 HEDCO Education Bldg.
Research Interests: Meta-analysis, research synthesis, substance use prevention, delinquency prevention


Note: Dr. Tanner-Smith is on sabbatical for the 2023-2024 academic year. She will be accepting doctoral students for fall 2024 interested in evidence synthesis, quantitative methods, and/or school-based recovery supports for students with substance use histories.

Dr. Tanner-Smith is a Thomson Professor in the Counseling Psychology and Human Services Department, a research scientist at the Prevention Science Institute, and Executive Director of the HEDCO Institute for Evidence-Based Educational Practice. Her Ph.D. is in sociology from Vanderbilt University with an emphasis on quantitative methods and statistics. She is an applied research methodologist with expertise in meta-analysis and research synthesis for evidence-based decision-making. Her scholarship focuses on the prevention and treatment of substance use, delinquency, mental health, and academic problems among youth. She was awarded the Nan Tobler Award from the Society for Prevention Research and the Robert Boruch Award from the Campbell Collaboration. Dr. Tanner-Smith currently serves on the editorial boards for Psychological Bulletin, Prevention Science, and Research Synthesis Methods.  Her research has been funded by numerous foundations, state, and federal agencies, including the Institute of Education Sciences, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
I am committed to embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout my research, teaching, and service. My scholarship focuses on interrogating social structures—including policies and preventive interventions—that affect historically underrepresented or underserved youth populations. Most recently, my research has focused on identifying and advancing inclusive educational and juvenile justice practices to support youth and families affected by substance use and addiction. In the classroom, I use intentional course design to ensure that course materials, readings, and activities are structured to promote critical dialogues that challenge hegemonic ideologies. As an advisor, I adopt a coaching mentoring style that centers my advisee’s unique identities, experiences, and goals in their individualized professional development plan. Finally, I participate in a range of service activities for promoting equity and inclusivity both on and off campus, which has recently included assisting Lane County Public Health and Live Healthy Lane with health equity efforts in our community and working with the Friends of Lane County Recovery Schools nonprofit to open the first recovery high school in Lane County.

Meet Dr. Emily Tanner-Smith


Ph.D., 2009, Vanderbilt University
Major: Sociology
Advisor: Tony Brown, Ph.D.
M.A., 2007, Vanderbilt University
Major: Sociology
B.S., 2003, Belmont University
Major: Sociology
Minor: Psychology

Honors and Awards

2020    Robert Boruch Award for Distinctive Contributions to Research that Inform Public Policy, Campbell Collaboration

2018    Leonard E. Gibbs Award for Production of Rigorous Systematic Review on Social Welfare Policy and Practice, Campbell Collaboration

2018    Nan Tobler Award for the Review of the Prevention Science Literature, Society for Prevention Research

2016    Early Career Researcher Recognition of Merit, Society for Research Synthesis Methodology

2015    Faculty Mentor Award, Community Research & Action Doctoral Program, Department of Human and Organizational Development, Vanderbilt University

2014    Junior Scholar Award, American Sociological Association, Section on Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco 


Full list of publications available at:

Recent Representative Publications:

Tanner-Smith, E. E., Finch, A. J., Hennessy, E. A., & Moberg, D. P. (2019). Effects of recovery high school attendance on students’ mental health symptoms. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 17, 181-190.

Hennessy, E. A., Tanner-Smith, E. E., Mavridis, D., & Grant, S. P. (2019). Comparative effectiveness of brief alcohol interventions for college students: Results from a network meta-analysis. Prevention Science, 20, 715-740.

Tanner-Smith, E. E., Durlak, J. A., & Marx, R. M. (2018). Empirically based effect size distributions for universal prevention programs targeting school age youth: A review of meta-analyses. Prevention Science, 19, 1091-1101.

Finch, A. J., Tanner-Smith, E., Hennessy, E., & Moberg, D. P. (2018). Recovery high schools: effect of schools supporting recovery from substance use disorders. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse44, 175-184.

López‐López, J. A., Van den Noortgate, W., Tanner‐Smith, E. E., Wilson, S. J., & Lipsey, M. W. (2017). Assessing meta‐regression methods for examining moderator relationships with dependent effect sizes: A Monte Carlo simulation. Research Synthesis Methods8, 435-450.

Tanner-Smith, E. E., Fisher, B. W., Addington, L. A., & Gardella, J. H. (2017). Adding security, but subtracting safety? Exploring schools’ use of multiple visible security measures. American Journal of Criminal Justice43, 102-119.

Tanner-Smith, E. E., Tipton, E., & Polanin, J. R. (2016). Handling complex meta-analytic data structures using robust variance estimates: A tutorial in R. Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology, 2(1), 85-112.


Dr. Tanner-Smith’s research focuses on the prevention and treatment of behavioral and mental health problems among youth, with emphasis on using research syntheses to advance evidence-based decision-making. Dr. Tanner-Smith directs the HEDCO Institute for Evidence-Based Practice in the College of Education and runs the Applied Research Methods and Statistics lab at the Prevention Science Institute. Her current projects involve multiple meta-analyses examining the effectiveness of substance use interventions and treatments for youth; a pilot study exploring the effectiveness of collegiate recovery programs; a data development project aimed at identifying school, neighborhood, and contextual factors that inhibit or promote student well-being; and a project to support the statistical and methodological standards of the U.S. Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse.