Aaron Murnan

Aaron William Murnan

Asst Professor

Procter Hall


CON Population Health - 0038


PhD: The Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio, 2019 (Human Development and Family Science; Couple and Family Therapy; Quantitative Research Methods)

Master of Science: The Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio, 2015 (Human Development and Family Science)

Bachelor of Arts: The Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio, 2013 (Psychology)

Post-Doctoral Fellowship: Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus, Ohio, 2021 (Prenatal Substance Use )

Research and Practice Interests

My research interests center around leveraging community-based participatory research methods to design interventions to improve substance use and health outcomes among families disproportionately impacted by the opioid epidemic and the criminal justice system. I have a specific interest in conducting research that seeks to better understand and address the treatment needs of women in the sex trade within treament programs.  


Positions and Work Experience

01-01-2014 -05-01-2019 Couple and Family Therapist, Couple and Family Therapy Clinic at Ohio State, Columbus, Ohio

08-01-2019 -01-01-2021 Couple and Family Therapy Resident, Couple and Family Therapy Clinic at Ohio State, Columbus, Ohio

Research Support

Grant: #2UL1TR001425 Investigators:Aaron Murnan; Gwen England; Beth Rapien 07-2022 -06-2023 Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTST) at UC Understanding racial disparities in access to diversion treatment programs for women charged with prostitution-related offenses. Role:PI 8,000.00 Active Type:Grant

Grant: #2UL1TR001425 Investigators:Aaron Murnan; Sam Boch; Nichole Nidey 06-2022 -09-2022 Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTST) at UC PHASE I: Maternal Justice Involvement and Infant Health Data Hub Linkage Role:PI 5,000 Planned/In Preparation Type:Grant Level:University

Investigators:Aaron Murnan; Emre Sezgin; Jennifer Tscholl 09-2021 -09-2022 The Ohio State University's Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) Testing a novel approach to identifying child victims of sex trafficking and studying the clinical presentation and healthcare utilization among this difficult to engage population. Role:Co-PI 5,000.00 Active Type:Grant

Investigators:Aaron Murnan; Natasha Slesnick 09-2018 -04-2019 The Ohio State University's College of Education and Human Ecology Treatment needs and family systems influences among treatment-seeking mothers involved in the sex trade: A Qualitative Exploration Role:PI 31,000.00 Completed Type:Grant Level:University

Grant: #2UL1TR001425 Investigators:Murnan, A., Boch, S., Nidey, N. 04-2023 -03-2024 Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training at UC Maternal Justice Involvement and Infant Health Data Hub Linkage - Phase II Role:Co-PI 40,000 Active Type:Grant

Grant: #K23DA058053 Investigators:Aaron Murnan; Melinda Butsch Kovacic; Jennifer Brown; Sarah Manchak; Christine Wilder 06-15-2023 -05-01-2028 National Institute on Drug Abuse A Unique, Co-designed Family-based Therapy for Marginalized Women with Opioid Use Disorder and Justice-Involvement Role:PI $1,000,000 Active Type:Grant Level:National

Grant: #K23DA058053 Investigators:Murnan, Aaron 06-15-2023 -04-30-2028 National Institute on Drug Abuse A Unique, Co-Designed Family-Based Therapy for Marginalized Women with Opioid Use Disorder and Justice-Involvement. Role:PI 192131.00 Active Level:Federal

Grant: #N/A Investigators:Murnan, A., Barnes, J. 05-01-2024 -04-01-2026 Office of Research - University of Cincinnati Assessing the impact of sex work decriminalization on the health of women in the sex trade and victims of sex trafficking: A multi-disciplinary, international collaboration between New Zealand officials and UC faculty Role:PI $25,000 Active Type:Grant Level:International


Peer Reviewed Publications

Carmona, J., Slesnick, N., Murnan, A., Brakenhoff, B., & Guo, X. (2015. ) Predictors of outreach meetings among substance using homeless youth. .Community Mental Health Journal, , 53 (1 ) ,62

Slesnick, N., Feng, X., Brakenhoff, B., Carmona, J., Murnan, A., Cash, S., McRee, A., & Guo, X. (2016. ) A test of outreach and drop-in linkage versus shelter-linkage for connecting homeless youth to services. .Prevention Science, , 17 (4 ) ,450

Bartle-Haring, S., Murnan, A., & Slesnick, N. (2017. ) Benefit to children who participate in family therapy with their substance using mother. .Journal of Marriage and Family Therapy, , 44 (4 ) ,671

Murnan, A., Wu, Q., & Slesnick, N. (2018. ) Effects of ecologically-based family systems therapy with substance using, prostituting mothers. Journal of Family Therapy, , 40 (4 ) ,557

Wu, Q., Slesnick, N., Murnan, A. (2018. ) Understanding parenting stress and children's behavior problems among homeless, substance-abusing mothers. Children and Youth Services Review, , 39 (4 ) ,423

Murnan, A., Wu, Q., & Slesnick, N. (2018. ) The impact of parenting on child mental health among children of prostituting mothers. .Children and Youth Services Review, , 89 ,212

Murnan, A., Bates, S., & Holowacz, E. (2020. ) Understanding the risk and protective factors among children of mothers engaged in street-level prostitution .Children and Youth Services Review, , 112 ,104899

Klebanoff, M., Fried, P., Yeates, K., Rausch, J., Wilkins, D., Blei, H., Sullivan, J., Phillips, W., Wiese, A., Jude, A., Boone, K., Murnan, A., & Keim, S. (2020. ) Lifestyle and early achievement in families (LEAF) study: Design of an ambi-directional cohort study of prenatal marijuana exposure and child development and behavior .Journal of Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, , 34 (6 ) ,744

Murnan, A., & Ferber, M. (2020. ) Familial influences on women's treatment and substance use behaviors among mothers engaged in street-level prostitution.Journal of Family Relations, , More Information

Murnan, A., & Holowacz, E. (2020. ) A qualitative exploration of mother-child relationships in mothers with histories of substance use and street-level prostitution. .Journal of Child and Family Studies, , 29 ,3225

Murnan, A., Keim, S., Li, R., & Klebanoff, M. (2021. ) Marijuana use and sleep quality during pregnancy.Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, , More Information

Murnan, A. (2021. ) Exploring treatment needs among women who prostitute.Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, , More Information

Nidey, N., Hoyt-Austin, A., Chen, M., Bentley, B., Tabb, K., Aniygbo, C., Wilder, C., Terplan, M., McAllister, J., Wexelblatt, S., Murnan, A., & Kair, L. (2022. ) Racial Disparities in Breastfeeding Counseling among Women who use Cannabis. Obstetrics and Gynecology, ,

Murnan, A., Keim, S., & Klebanoff, M. (2022. ) Exploration of differences between women who do and do not disclose their marijuana use during pregnancy.American Journal of Perinatology, , More Information

Murnan, A., Keim, S., & Klebanoff, M. (2022. ) Understanding the relationships between Fetal Health Locus of Control (FHLC) and Maternal Marijuana Use During Pregnancy. .Clinical Nursing Research, , More Information

Murnan, A., Keim, S., Yeates, K., Boone, K., Sheppard, K., & Klebanoff, M. (2021. ) Behavioral and Cognitive Differences in Early Childhood related to Prenatal Marijuana Exposure.Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, , 77 , More Information

Boch, S., Murnan A., Pollard, J., Nidey, N., Hardy, R., Iruka, I. (2024. ) Assessment of US federal funding of incarceration-related research, 1985 to 2022. .JAMA Network Open, , 6 (2 ) ,

Murnan, A., Tscholl, J., Ganta, R., Duah, H., Qasem, I., & Sezgin, E. (2023. ) Identification of child survivors of sex trafficking from electronic health records: An artificial intelligence guided approach. .Child Maltreatment, ,

Murnan, A., England, G., Boch, S., Qasem, I., Matthews, C., Bates, S., Manchak, S. (2024. ) "They don't give a damn about us": A qualitative study on experiences and perceptions underlying racial disparities in sex trafficking specialty court programs in Ohio. .Journal of Human Trafficking, ,

Vranditis, D., Klebanoff, M., Yeates, K., Murnan, A., Fried, P., Boone, K., Rausch, J., Keim, S. Associations of prenatal stress with 5-year-old children's executive functioning. .Development and Psychopathology, ,

Murnan, A., England, G., Boch, S., Matthews, C., Duah, H., Qasem, I., Manchak, S. Examination of Racial Disparities in Women's Matriculation Through the Criminal Justice System and Referral to Human Trafficking Special Docket Court Programs Following a Prostitution-Related Arrest .Social Sciences & Humanities Open, ,

Keim, S., Fried, P., Yeates, K., Boone, K., Vrantsidis, D., Dean, A., Wilkins, D., Murnan, A., Rausch, J., Klebanoff, M. Prenatal Cannabis exposure and executive functioning and aggressive behavior at age 5. .JAMA Pediatrics, ,

Boch, S., Omololu, S., Fan, M., Murnan, A., Kelleher, K., Lin, S., & Chisholm, D. (2024. ) Clinician note documentation of parental justice involvement: Preliminary evidence from pediatric electronic health records. .Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. , ,

Book Chapter

Brakenhoff, B., Murnan, A., & Slesnick, N. (2017 ) Homelessness, and mental illness. Encyclopedia of Abnormal and Clinical Psychology .Thousand Oaks, California, Sage

Murnan, A., Zhang, J., & Slesnick, N. (2018 ) Homeless mothers with children in their care Mental Health and Addiction Interventions for Youth Experiencing Homelessness: Practical Strategies for Front-Line Providers .Toronto, Ontario, Canadian Homeless Research Network


Invited Presentations

Murnan, A. (06-13-2024. ) Elevating Lived Experience, How Community Partnered Strategies can Improve Outcomes and Drive more Equitable Treatment .Create Opioid Preparedness Education (COPE), St. Louis University (SLU). Level:Regional

Poster Presentations

Murnan, A., Wu, Q., Slesnick, N. (2018. ) The impact of parenting on child mental health among children of prostituting mothers. Meeting for International Family Therapy Association, Bangkok, Thailand. . Level:International

Murnan, A., Wu, Q., Cully, L., Slesnick, N. (2017. ) Effects of family systems therapy with prostituting women .International Family Therapy Association, Malaga, Spain. . Level:International

Bartle-Haring, S., Slesnick, N., Murnan, A. (2015. ) Benefits of mother's substance use treatment on children .National Council on Family Relations, Vancouver, Canada. . Level:International

Murnan, A., Slesnick, N., Guo, X., Bowers, D. (2014. ) Predictors of 12-step attendance among substance abusing mothers. College on Problem Drug Dependence, San Juan, Puerto Rico. . Level:National

Murnan, A. & Ferber, M. (2020. ) Exploring the influence of family of origin, children, and therapists on substance use treatment decisions among women engaged in prostitution. National Council on Family Relations, Virtual. . Level:National

Fu, X., Mattison, W., Morningstar, M., Murnan, A., Sullivan, J., Keim, S., Klebanoff, M. (2019. ) Prenatal Marijuana Exposure: Effects on brain morphology and executive function in young children. International Society for Developmental Psychobiology, Chicago, Illinois. . Level:International

Wu, Q., Slesnick, N., Murnan, A. (2017. ) Homeless mothers' parenting stress and child behavioral problems .National Council on Family Relations, Orlando, Florida. . Level:National

Post Graduate Training and Education

07-08-2019-07-30-2021 Post-Doctoral Fellow, Abigail Wexner Research Institute: Center for BioBehavioral Health, , Columbus, Ohio

Courses Taught

Social Determinants of Health Level:Graduate

Epidemiological Methods in Healthcare Level:Graduate

Contact Information