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Khirsten J. Wilson

Research Associate, Policy Research and Systems Change Lab
Khirsten J. Wilson joined the SSRC as a Research Associate in the Policy Research and Systems Change Lab in the Spring of ’22. In the PRASC, her work focuses on social determinants of health and risk/protective factors that impact children’s mental health and wellbeing. Wilson works with the Mississippi Thrive! Child Health and Development Project (, a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funded project geared towards the improvement of early childhood developmental health systems. Wilson is a first-generation scholar as a Fall ’21 graduate of Mississippi State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Prior to formally joining the SSRC, Wilson held an Undergraduate Research Assistantship in the Social Relations Collaborative – housed in the SSRC. She also conducted research in the Department of Psychology at Mississippi State University, serving as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in Dr. Cliff McKinney’s Making Sense of Us: A Child and Families Lab. In this lab, she studied parent-child relationships, investigating the nature in which family dynamics (e.g. relationship quality, discipline, maltreatment, communication) influence the development of mental illness across race and gender. She has also studied aggression in a variety of contexts. Wilson has an extensive background in childcare, as she has served at-risk youth in Mississippi through various organizations for a number of years. Generally, Wilson’s research interests are focused on child and familial adaptability to stress, adversity, and trauma, especially in Black and Latin families.