My research focuses on assessing adolescent health and behavior, particularly substance use and its influences and consequences, and on developing and testing innovative strategies designed to prevent risky behaviors and associated negative outcomes through early identification and intervention. Specifically, I have been an investigator in the Boston Children’s Hospital Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research (CeASAR) since its inception in 1999, and now co-direct the center with Dr. John R. Knight. We have conducted pioneering research in adolescent substance use screening and brief intervention strategies for use in medical offices, including the development and validation of the CRAFFT screener which has become the most widely studied and recommended screening tool for problematic adolescent substance use. We published the first large, multi-site international trial of computer-facilitated screening and clinician brief advice for adolescent alcohol and drug use in primary care. This study was conducted in two countries and involved 20 pediatric and family practices. We are currently conducting two NIAAA-funded studies in primary care, one testing the validity of the new NIAAA brief alcohol screen for children and adolescents, and the other a pilot study of a new computerized brief motivational enhancement intervention for adolescents screening positive for substance use problems. Our research has also included studies examining the effects of college alcohol and state marijuana policies on adolescent /young adult substance use outcomes, and the association of adolescent religiosity/spirituality with substance use behavior. We also have a Neuroscience research arm, collaborating with Dr. Marisa Silveri, Director of the Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health at the McLean Imaging Center, on a longitudinal brain imaging study of the effects of early adolescent alcohol and marijuana use initiation.


Sion Kim Harris, PhD CPH, received her doctorate from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 1996 from the Department of Health Policy and Management. She oversaw research and program evaluation projects related to Adolescent and School Health at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health until 1999, and then began a faculty position at Boston Children’s Hospital in the Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine. She was founding Director of the Survey and Measurement Core of the Boston Children’s Hospital Clinical Research Program, providing consultation and mentoring to investigators throughout the hospital in the development and/or evaluation of numerous instruments for use in pediatric research. She is currently the Co-Director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Harris has received numerous awards for her research and teaching, including the Young Professional Award from the Maternal and Child Health Section of the American Public Health Association, the John Nelson Chappel Best Research Award from the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse, the T. Berry Brazelton Innovation Award, and the Estherann Grace Teaching Award from the Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine.



  • English

Researcher Services

Researcher Areas

  • Adolescent Health Assessment
  • Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention
  • Adolescent Substance Use Screening
  • Alcohol and marijuana policy and adolescren substance use

Research Divisions

Researcher Centers


Publications powered by Harvard Catalyst Profiles

  1. Maksimovskiy AL, Oot EN, Seraikas AM, Rieselbach M, Caine C, Sneider JT, Cohen-Gilbert JE, Harris SK, Nickerson LD, Rohan ML, Silveri MM. Morphometric Biomarkers of Adolescents With Familial Risk for Alcohol Use Disorder. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2019 Sep 17. View abstract
  2. Knight JR, Sherritt L, Gibson EB, Levinson JA, Grubb LK, Samuels RC, Silva T, Vernacchio L, Wornham W, Harris SK. Effect of Computer-Based Substance Use Screening and Brief Behavioral Counseling vs Usual Care for Youths in Pediatric Primary Care: A Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2019 Jun 05; 2(6):e196258. View abstract
  3. Ganapathi L, McFall AM, Srikrishnan AK, Kumar MS, Anand S, Lucas GM, Mehta SH, Harris SK, Solomon SS. Young people who inject drugs in India have high HIV incidence and behavioural risk: a cross-sectional study. J Int AIDS Soc. 2019 May; 22(5):e25287. View abstract
  4. Chadi N, Hadland SE, Harris SK. Understanding the implications of the "vaping epidemic" among adolescents and young adults: A call for action. Subst Abus. 2019; 40(1):7-10. View abstract
  5. Hadland SE, Knight JR, Harris SK. Alcohol Use Disorder: A Pediatric-Onset Condition Needing Early Detection and Intervention. Pediatrics. 2019 Mar; 143(3). View abstract
  6. Cox JE, Harris SK, Conroy K, Engelhart T, Vyavaharkar A, Federico A, Woods ER. A Parenting and Life Skills Intervention for Teen Mothers: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pediatrics. 2019 Mar; 143(3). View abstract
  7. McCarty CA, Levy S, Harris SK. Alcohol Use Screening and Behavioral Counseling With Adolescents in Primary Care: A Call to Action. JAMA Pediatr. 2019 Jan 01; 173(1):12-14. View abstract
  8. Chen Y, Harris SK, Worthington EL, VanderWeele TJ. Religiously or Spiritually-Motivated Forgiveness and Subsequent Health and Well-Being among Young Adults: An Outcome-Wide Analysis. J Posit Psychol. 2019; 14(5):649-658. View abstract
  9. Shrier LA, Burke PJ, Kells M, Scherer EA, Sarda V, Jonestrask C, Xuan Z, Harris SK. Pilot randomized trial of MOMENT, a motivational counseling-plus-ecological momentary intervention to reduce marijuana use in youth. Mhealth. 2018; 4:29. View abstract
  10. Knight JR, Csemy L, Sherritt L, Starostova O, Van Hook S, Bacic J, Finlay C, Tauber J, Brooks T, Kossack R, Kulig JW, Shaw J, Harris SK. Screening and Brief Advice to Reduce Adolescents' Risk of Riding With Substance-Using Drivers. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2018 07; 79(4):611-616. View abstract
  11. Sneider JT, Cohen-Gilbert JE, Hamilton DA, Stein ER, Golan N, Oot EN, Seraikas AM, Rohan ML, Harris SK, Nickerson LD, Silveri MM. Adolescent Hippocampal and Prefrontal Brain Activation During Performance of the Virtual Morris Water Task. Front Hum Neurosci. 2018; 12:238. View abstract
  12. Shrier LA, Sarda V, Jonestrask C, Harris SK. Momentary factors during marijuana use as predictors of lapse during attempted abstinence in young adults. Addict Behav. 2018 08; 83:167-174. View abstract
  13. Johnson JK, Johnson RM, Hodgkin D, Jones AA, Matteucci AM, Harris SK. Heterogeneity of state medical marijuana laws and adolescent recent use of alcohol and marijuana: Analysis of 45 states, 1991-2011. Subst Abus. 2018; 39(2):247-254. View abstract
  14. Levy S, Ziemnik RE, Harris SK, Rabinow L, Breen L, Fluet C, Strother H, Straus JH. Screening Adolescents for Alcohol Use: Tracking Practice Trends of Massachusetts Pediatricians. J Addict Med. 2017 Nov/Dec; 11(6):427-434. View abstract
  15. Knight JR, Kuzubova K, Csemy L, Sherritt L, Copelas S, Harris SK. Computer-Facilitated Screening and Brief Advice to Reduce Adolescents' Heavy Episodic Drinking: A Study in Two Countries. J Adolesc Health. 2018 01; 62(1):118-120. View abstract
  16. O'Brien KHM, Knight JR, Harris SK. A Call for Social Responsibility and Suicide Risk Screening, Prevention, and Early Intervention Following the Release of the Netflix Series 13 Reasons Why. JAMA Intern Med. 2017 10 01; 177(10):1418-1419. View abstract
  17. Hadland SE, Copelas SH, Harris SK. Trajectories of Substance Use Frequency among Adolescents Seen in Primary Care: Implications for Screening. J Pediatr. 2017 05; 184:178-185. View abstract
  18. Harris SK, Johnson JK, Sherritt L, Copelas S, Rappo MA, Wilson CR. Putting Adolescents at Risk: Riding With Drinking Drivers Who Are Adults in the Home. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2017 01; 78(1):146-151. View abstract
  19. Harris SK, Aalsma MC, Weitzman ER, Garcia-Huidobro D, Wong C, Hadland SE, Santelli J, Park MJ, Ozer EM. Research on Clinical Preventive Services for Adolescents and Young Adults: Where Are We and Where Do We Need to Go? J Adolesc Health. 2017 Mar; 60(3):249-260. View abstract
  20. Johnson J, Hodgkin D, Harris SK. The design of medical marijuana laws and adolescent use and heavy use of marijuana: Analysis of 45 states from 1991 to 2011. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 Jan 01; 170:1-8. View abstract
  21. D'Souza-Li L, Harris SK. The future of screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment in adolescent primary care: research directions and dissemination challenges. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2016 08; 28(4):434-40. View abstract
  22. Ziniel SI, Connor JA, Graham D, Kupiec JK, Rauscher NA, Growdon AS, Berger A, Jenkins KJ, Harris SK. Development and psychometric characteristics of the pediatric inpatient experience survey (PIES). Int J Qual Health Care. 2016 Apr; 28(2):191-9. View abstract
  23. Hadland SE, Knight JR, Harris SK. The Knowledge Gaps for Medical Marijuana in Pediatric Conditions. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2015 Nov-Dec; 36(9):767-8. View abstract
  24. Harris SK, Knight JR, Van Hook S, Sherritt L, Brooks TL, Kulig JW, Nordt CA, Saitz R. Adolescent substance use screening in primary care: Validity of computer self-administered versus clinician-administered screening. Subst Abus. 2016; 37(1):197-203. View abstract
  25. Harris SK. Making time for mental health: computerized previsit screening in primary care. J Adolesc Health. 2015 Mar; 56(3):257-8. View abstract
  26. Hadland SE, Knight JR, Harris SK. Medical marijuana: review of the science and implications for developmental-behavioral pediatric practice. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2015 Feb-Mar; 36(2):115-23. View abstract
  27. Hadland SE, Harris SK. Youth marijuana use: state of the science for the practicing clinician. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2014 Aug; 26(4):420-7. View abstract
  28. Schram P, Harris SK, Van Hook S, Forman S, Mezzacappa E, Pavlyuk R, Levy S. Implementing Adolescent Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) Education in a Pediatric Residency Curriculum. Subst Abus. 2015; 36(3):332-8. View abstract
  29. Harris SK, Louis-Jacques J, Knight JR. Screening and brief intervention for alcohol and other abuse. Adolesc Med State Art Rev. 2014 Apr; 25(1):126-56. View abstract
  30. Harris SK, Knight JR. Putting the Screen in Screening: Technology-Based Alcohol Screening and Brief Interventions in Medical Settings. Alcohol Res. 2014; 36(1):63-79. View abstract
  31. Louis-Jacques J, Knight JR, Sherritt L, Van Hook S, Harris SK. Do risky friends change the efficacy of a primary care brief intervention for adolescent alcohol use? J Adolesc Health. 2014 Apr; 54(4):449-53. View abstract
  32. Curley MA, Hunsberger M, Harris SK. Psychometric evaluation of the family-centered care scale for pediatric acute care nursing. Nurs Res. 2013 May-Jun; 62(3):160-8. View abstract
  33. Cox JE, Buman MP, Woods ER, Famakinwa O, Harris SK. Evaluation of raising adolescent families together program: a medical home for adolescent mothers and their children. Am J Public Health. 2012 Oct; 102(10):1879-85. View abstract
  34. Harris SK, Csémy L, Sherritt L, Starostova O, Van Hook S, Johnson J, Boulter S, Brooks T, Carey P, Kossack R, Kulig JW, Van Vranken N, Knight JR. Computer-facilitated substance use screening and brief advice for teens in primary care: an international trial. Pediatrics. 2012 Jun; 129(6):1072-82. View abstract
  35. Brown JD, Harris SK, Woods ER, Buman MP, Cox JE. Longitudinal study of depressive symptoms and social support in adolescent mothers. Matern Child Health J. 2012 May; 16(4):894-901. View abstract
  36. Ding D, Bracy NL, Sallis JF, Saelens BE, Norman GJ, Harris SK, Durant N, Rosenberg D, Kerr J. Is fear of strangers related to physical activity among youth? Am J Health Promot. 2012 Jan-Feb; 26(3):189-95. View abstract
  37. Harris SK, Herr-Zaya K, Weinstein Z, Whelton K, Perfas F, Castro-Donlan C, Straus J, Schoneman K, Botticelli M, Levy S. Results of a statewide survey of adolescent substance use screening rates and practices in primary care. Subst Abus. 2012; 33(4):321-6. View abstract
  38. Ding D, Sallis JF, Norman GJ, Saelens BE, Harris SK, Kerr J, Rosenberg D, Durant N, Glanz K. Community food environment, home food environment, and fruit and vegetable intake of children and adolescents. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2012 Nov-Dec; 44(6):634-8. View abstract
  39. Ross WJ, Chan E, Harris SK, Goldman SJ, Rappaport LA. Pediatrician-psychiatrist collaboration to care for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, and anxiety. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2011 Jan; 50(1):37-43. View abstract
  40. Harris SK, Sherritt L, Van Hook S, Wechsler H, Knight JR. Alcohol policy enforcement and changes in student drinking rates in a statewide public college system: a follow-up study. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2010 Aug 04; 5:18. View abstract
  41. Solodiuk JC, Scott-Sutherland J, Meyers M, Myette B, Shusterman C, Karian VE, Harris SK, Curley MA. Validation of the Individualized Numeric Rating Scale (INRS): a pain assessment tool for nonverbal children with intellectual disability. Pain. 2010 Aug; 150(2):231-6. View abstract
  42. Rosenberg DE, Sallis JF, Kerr J, Maher J, Norman GJ, Durant N, Harris SK, Saelens BE. Brief scales to assess physical activity and sedentary equipment in the home. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2010 Jan 31; 7:10. View abstract
  43. Connor JA, Kline NE, Mott S, Harris SK, Jenkins KJ. The meaning of cost for families of children with congenital heart disease. J Pediatr Health Care. 2010 Sep-Oct; 24(5):318-25. View abstract
  44. Rosenberg D, Ding D, Sallis JF, Kerr J, Norman GJ, Durant N, Harris SK, Saelens BE. Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale for Youth (NEWS-Y): reliability and relationship with physical activity. Prev Med. 2009 Aug-Sep; 49(2-3):213-8. View abstract
  45. Hassan A, Harris SK, Sherritt L, Van Hook S, Brooks T, Carey P, Kossack R, Kulig J, Knight JR. Primary care follow-up plans for adolescents with substance use problems. Pediatrics. 2009 Jul; 124(1):144-50. View abstract
  46. Durant N, Harris SK, Doyle S, Person S, Saelens BE, Kerr J, Norman GJ, Sallis JF. Relation of school environment and policy to adolescent physical activity. J Sch Health. 2009 Apr; 79(4):153-9; quiz 205-6. View abstract
  47. Durant N, Kerr J, Harris SK, Saelens BE, Norman GJ, Sallis JF. Environmental and safety barriers to youth physical activity in neighborhood parks and streets: reliability and validity. Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2009 Feb; 21(1):86-99. View abstract
  48. Harris SK, Sherritt LR, Holder DW, Kulig J, Shrier LA, Knight JR. Reliability and validity of the brief multidimensional measure of religiousness/spirituality among adolescents. J Relig Health. 2008 Dec; 47(4):438-57. View abstract
  49. Wilson CR, Harris SK, Sherritt L, Lawrence N, Glotzer D, Shaw JS, Knight JR. Parental alcohol screening in pediatric practices. Pediatrics. 2008 Nov; 122(5):e1022-9. View abstract
  50. Franck LS, Harris SK, Soetenga DJ, Amling JK, Curley MA. The Withdrawal Assessment Tool-1 (WAT-1): an assessment instrument for monitoring opioid and benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms in pediatric patients. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2008 Nov; 9(6):573-80. View abstract
  51. Brett-Fleegler MB, Vinci RJ, Weiner DL, Harris SK, Shih MC, Kleinman ME. A simulator-based tool that assesses pediatric resident resuscitation competency. Pediatrics. 2008 Mar; 121(3):e597-603. View abstract
  52. Forman H, Kerr J, Norman GJ, Saelens BE, Durant NH, Harris SK, Sallis JF. Reliability and validity of destination-specific barriers to walking and cycling for youth. Prev Med. 2008 Apr; 46(4):311-6. View abstract
  53. Rojas NL, Sherrit L, Harris S, Knight JR. The role of parental consent in adolescent substance use research. J Adolesc Health. 2008 Feb; 42(2):192-7. View abstract
  54. Knight JR, Harris SK, Sherritt L, Van Hook S, Lawrence N, Brooks T, Carey P, Kossack R, Kulig J. Prevalence of positive substance abuse screen results among adolescent primary care patients. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007 Nov; 161(11):1035-41. View abstract
  55. Knight JR, Sherritt L, Harris SK, Holder DW, Kulig J, Shrier LA, Gabrielli J, Chang G. Alcohol use and religiousness/spirituality among adolescents. South Med J. 2007 Apr; 100(4):349-55. View abstract
  56. Van Hook S, Harris SK, Brooks T, Carey P, Kossack R, Kulig J, Knight JR. The "Six T's": barriers to screening teens for substance abuse in primary care. J Adolesc Health. 2007 May; 40(5):456-61. View abstract
  57. Knight JR, Harris SK, Sherritt L, Van Hook S, Lawrence N, Brooks T, Carey P, Kossack R, Kulig J. Adolescents' preference for substance abuse screening in primary care practice. Subst Abus. 2007; 28(4):107-17. View abstract
  58. Fine AM, Goldmann DA, Forbes PW, Harris SK, Mandl KD. Incorporating vaccine-preventable disease surveillance into the National Health Information Network: leveraging children's hospitals. Pediatrics. 2006 Oct; 118(4):1431-8. View abstract
  59. Woods ER, Klein JD, Wingood GM, Rose ES, Wypij D, Harris SK, Diclemente RJ. Development of a new Adolescent Patient-Provider Interaction Scale (APPIS) for youth at risk for STDs/HIV. J Adolesc Health. 2006 Jun; 38(6):753.e1-7. View abstract
  60. Levy S, Harris SK, Sherritt L, Angulo M, Knight JR. Drug testing of adolescents in general medical clinics, in school and at home: physician attitudes and practices. J Adolesc Health. 2006 Apr; 38(4):336-42. View abstract
  61. Curley MA, Harris SK, Fraser KA, Johnson RA, Arnold JH. State Behavioral Scale: a sedation assessment instrument for infants and young children supported on mechanical ventilation. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2006 Mar; 7(2):107-14. View abstract
  62. Levy S, Harris SK, Sherritt L, Angulo M, Knight JR. Drug testing of adolescents in ambulatory medicine: physician practices and knowledge. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006 Feb; 160(2):146-50. View abstract
  63. Callahan ST, Woods ER, Austin SB, Harris SK. Young adults in Massachusetts: who is at risk of being uninsured? J Adolesc Health. 2004 Nov; 35(5):425.e19-27. View abstract
  64. Levy S, Sherritt L, Harris SK, Gates EC, Holder DW, Kulig JW, Knight JR. Test-retest reliability of adolescents' self-report of substance use. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2004 Aug; 28(8):1236-41. View abstract
  65. Harris SK, Samples CL, Keenan PM, Fox DJ, Melchiono MW, Woods ER. Outreach, mental health, and case management services: can they help to retain HIV-positive and at-risk youth and young adults in care? Matern Child Health J. 2003 Dec; 7(4):205-18. View abstract
  66. Knight JR, Harris SK, Sherritt L, Kelley K, Van Hook S, Wechsler H. Heavy drinking and alcohol policy enforcement in a statewide public college system. J Stud Alcohol. 2003 Sep; 64(5):696-703. View abstract
  67. Dioun AF, Harris SK, Hibberd PL. Is maternal age at delivery related to childhood food allergy? Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2003 Aug; 14(4):307-11. View abstract
  68. Shrier LA, Harris SK, Kurland M, Knight JR. Substance use problems and associated psychiatric symptoms among adolescents in primary care. Pediatrics. 2003 Jun; 111(6 Pt 1):e699-705. View abstract
  69. Woods ER, Samples CL, Melchiono MW, Harris SK. Boston HAPPENS Program: HIV-positive, homeless, and at-risk youth can access care through youth-oriented HIV services. Semin Pediatr Infect Dis. 2003 Jan; 14(1):43-53. View abstract
  70. Knight JR, Sherritt L, Harris SK, Gates EC, Chang G. Validity of brief alcohol screening tests among adolescents: a comparison of the AUDIT, POSIT, CAGE, and CRAFFT. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2003 Jan; 27(1):67-73. View abstract
  71. Woods ER, Samples CL, Melchiono MW, Keenan PM, Fox DJ, Harris SK. Initiation of services in the Boston HAPPENS Program: human immunodeficiency virus-positive, homeless, and at-risk youth can access services. AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2002 Oct; 16(10):497-510. View abstract
  72. Brooks TL, Harris SK, Thrall JS, Woods ER. Association of adolescent risk behaviors with mental health symptoms in high school students. J Adolesc Health. 2002 Sep; 31(3):240-6. View abstract
  73. Shrier LA, Harris SK, Beardslee WR. Temporal associations between depressive symptoms and self-reported sexually transmitted disease among adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002 Jun; 156(6):599-606. View abstract
  74. Knight JR, Sherritt L, Shrier LA, Harris SK, Chang G. Validity of the CRAFFT substance abuse screening test among adolescent clinic patients. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002 Jun; 156(6):607-14. View abstract
  75. Shrier LA, Harris SK, Sternberg M, Beardslee WR. Associations of depression, self-esteem, and substance use with sexual risk among adolescents. Prev Med. 2001 Sep; 33(3):179-89. View abstract
  76. Riley AW, Harris SK, Ensminger ME, Ryan S, Alexander C, Green B, Starfield B. Behavior and injury in urban and rural adolescents. Inj Prev. 1996 Dec; 2(4):266-73. View abstract
  77. Starfield B, Riley AW, Green BF, Ensminger ME, Ryan SA, Kelleher K, Kim-Harris S, Johnston D, Vogel K. The adolescent child health and illness profile. A population-based measure of health. Med Care. 1995 May; 33(5):553-66. View abstract
  78. Rolls BJ, Kim-Harris S, Fischman MW, Foltin RW, Moran TH, Stoner SA. Satiety after preloads with different amounts of fat and carbohydrate: implications for obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 Oct; 60(4):476-87. View abstract
  79. Starfield B, Bergner M, Ensminger M, Riley A, Ryan S, Green B, McGauhey P, Skinner A, Kim S. Adolescent health status measurement: development of the Child Health and Illness Profile. Pediatrics. 1993 Feb; 91(2):430-5. View abstract
  80. Rolls BJ, Kim S, McNelis AL, Fischman MW, Foltin RW, Moran TH. Time course of effects of preloads high in fat or carbohydrate on food intake and hunger ratings in humans. Am J Physiol. 1991 Apr; 260(4 Pt 2):R756-63. View abstract
  81. Rolls BJ, Kim S, Fedoroff IC. Effects of drinks sweetened with sucrose or aspartame on hunger, thirst and food intake in men. Physiol Behav. 1990 Jul; 48(1):19-26. View abstract