Brad Olson

Brad Olson

Research Assistant Professor, Human Development and Social Policy


Bradley D. Olson, PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor at Northwestern University, and an advocate supporting a greater national emphasis on health care-based approaches toward alcohol and substance abuse problems. He has published numerous research articles, many on consumer-run recovery homes (e.g. Olson et al., 2002), and has provided congressional testimony, once on the relationship between substance abuse and crime, and again on the feasibility of faith-based initiatives. He is chair of United States Congressman Danny K. Davis’ drugs and substance abuse advisory committee and chairperson of CATCH (Citizens Activated to Change Healthcare). CATCH, in conjunction with Congressman Davis’ office, those in recovery, treatment providers, and many others obtained roughly 118,000 signatures from registered voters to get a treatment-on-demand initiative on the Cook County ballot in Illinois. On November 2, 2004, 1.2 million people (76 percent) voted in support of the referendum.



Year Degree Institution
2001 Ph.D. Psychology University of Iowa

Selected Publications

Cox, K. S., Wilt, J., Olson, B., & McAdams, D. P. (2010). Generativity, the Big Five, and psychosocial adaptation in midlife adults. Journal of Personality, 78: 1185-1208.

McAdams, D. P., & Olson, B. D. (2010). Personality development: Continuity and change. in S. Fiske, D. Schacter, and R. Sternberg (Eds.), Annual review of psychology, Vol. 61 (pp. 517-542). Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews, Inc.



SESP 351

SESP Topics: Human Rights, Advocacy, and Action In this course, we will study issues and dilemmas in the area of human rights, including torture, war, genocide, immigration, trafficking, humanitarian assistance, as well as the global involvement of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations (e.g., Amnesty). We will take an interdisciplinary approach, focusing particularly on the role of psychological constructs such as prejudice, obedience to authority, altruism, and community research and action. This knowledge will help in our actual use of grassroots strategies to bring about policy change. As individuals, subgroups, and an overall team, we will attempt to get the US to ratify three conventions of the United Nations: on the elimination of discrimination against women, on the rights of the child, and on the rights of persons with disabilities. We will use various methods to build partnerships, communicate to broader sets of stakeholders, and document/evaluate our social change efforts.

Last Updated: 2011-09-29 10:58:10