Tarlie Townsend
Tarlise (Tarlie) Townsend, PhD
NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing - Postdoctoral Fellow
Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy, Grossman School of Medicine, NYU Langone - Postdoctoral Fellow
Joint PhD, Health Services Organization and Policy & Sociology, University of Michigan
BS, Neuroscience, Indiana University
BA, Germanic Studies, Indiana University
Research Interests
Pain, Disability, Opioids, Racial and economic equity, Policy, Cancer-related pain
In Memoriam

We mourn the passing of Tarlie on May 29, 2022.

The courage she displayed was reflected in her personal accounts of her illness:

For A Young Cancer Patient, “Just Stay Positive” Wasn’t The Advice She Needed

ASCO Quality Care Symposium Talk 2021

Our deepest condolences to her family and friends.
Tarlie Townsend studies pain, disability, and opioid use in the United States. Much of her research examines the intended and unintended consequences of policies to address the ongoing overdose crisis, with an emphasis on racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities. In another line of work, she studies trends in and consequences of the use of opioids to manage cancer-related pain; she is especially interested in the tension between concern about opioid-related harms, stigma surrounding opioid use, and the need for effective pain management. In several recent studies, Dr. Townsend has examined demographic trends in incident disability and the pathways underlying educational disparities in disability, towards a better understanding of how education “gets under the skin”. Dr. Townsend earned her joint doctorate in Health Services Organization and Policy and Sociology at the University of Michigan in May 2020. Her methodological toolbox draws from epidemiology, econometrics, and social demography.
Principal Investigator, Pathways to Racial Disparities in the Effects of Good Samaritan Laws: A Mixed Methods Study. Active


Townsend TN, Bohnert ASB, Lagisetty P, Haffajee RL (2022).
Did prescribing laws disproportionately affect opioid dispensing to Black patients?
Health Services Research, 57 (3), 482-496. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.13968. PMCID: PMC9108058.

Townsend T, Kline D, Rivera-Aguirre A, Bunting AM, Mauro PM, Marshall BDL, Martins SS, Cerda M (2022).
Racial/ethnic and geographic trends in combined stimulant/opioid overdoses, 2007-2019
American Journal of Epidemiology, 191 (4), 599-612. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwab290.

Bennett AS, Townsend T, Elliott L (2022).
The COVID-19 pandemic and the health of people who use illicit opioids in New York City, the first 12 months
International Journal of Drug Policy, 101, 103554. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2021.103554. PMCID: PMC8632599.

Townsend TN, Salz T, Haffajee RL, Caram MEV, Chino F, Bohnert ASB (2022).
Has declining opioid dispensing to cancer patients been tailored to risk of opioid harms?
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 63 (2), 179-188. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2021.09.014. PMCID: PMC8816811.

Townsend TN, Bohnert ASB, Merlin JS (2022).
Opioid prescribing to patients with advanced cancer: Unanswered questions
Journal of Clinical Oncology, 40 (3), 311-312. doi: 10.1200/JCO.21.02086.

Dr. Townsend's Google Scholar Profile
Selected Press