Redefining what's possible.
Dr. Oesterle received her PhD in sociology from the University of Minnesota. Since joining the UW School of Social Work in 2002, she has worked with the Social Development Research Group (SDRG). Her research has two linked themes aimed at understanding how we can promote healthy development across the life span: 1) intervention research focused on preventing adolescent health-risking behaviors such as substance use and delinquency, and 2) life-course research with a focus on understanding positive young-adult development and its consequences for later life.
Dr. Oesterle’s intervention research is currently based on the Community Youth Development Study, a community-randomized controlled trial of Communities That Care (CTC), a community prevention system to prevent adolescent substance use, delinquency and other health-risking behaviors. Her work on the experimental trial of CTC shows that when community stakeholders come together, use data to make informed decisions, and implement tested and effective prevention programs, they can make measurable changes in adolescent health-risking behaviors communitywide.
Dr. Oesterle’s research is also aimed at understanding the transition to adulthood in the 21st century and its consequences for later life. She has investigated this topic with data from several influential longitudinal community studies, including the Seattle Social Development Project (J. David Hawkins and Karl G. Hill, principal investigators). Her current research examines pathways to adulthood and their consequences for later adult functioning, for example with respect to substance misuse. Her work also calls attention to differences in men’s and women's life courses.
Dr. Oesterle belongs to and regularly presents at meetings of the Society for Prevention Research, the American Sociological Association, the Society for Social Work and Research, and the Society for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies.
Dr. Oesterle is currently a member of the School of Social Work’s doctoral steering committee. She enjoys mentoring students by helping them apply advanced statistical methods to their own research projects.