Hi! I’m Chelsea!

I am an applied epidemiologist at the intersection of early childhood, education, and public health. As the inaugural Director of Research and Strategy at South Carolina First Steps, my job is to get data into the hands of those who need it. Through collaborative research, evaluation, strategic planning, and data infrastructure and capacity building, I lead meaning making and storytelling that gives people the tools to understand and address the needs of our state’s youngest citizens, their caregivers, and communities.

I have a PhD and MSPH in Epidemiology from the University of South Carolina. My dissertation focused on opioid use during pregnancy and its impact on birth outcomes, particularly for women with disabilities. I am a proud resident of Columbia, SC and transplant from Boston, MA. I am married to Drew Richard, an appraiser with the Richland County Assessor’s Office, and we have a full house with two dogs and one cat.

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