MSU HDFS celebrates new role for faculty member Dr. Ahnalee Brincks

By Katie Frey 

MSU HDFS celebrates new role for faculty member Dr. Ahnalee Brincks

As of August 2023, Dr. Ahnalee Brincks has transitioned to a tenure-stream appointment as an Associate Professor in the MSU Department of Human Development and Family Studies.  

“I'm looking forward to deepening my collaborations with colleagues and students in the department and across MSU,” Dr. Ahnalee Brincks said. 

For her research, she is broadly interested in the prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral issues for youth and families with an emphasis on preventing substance use and depression.  

“My recent work is in the mechanisms of adaptive interventions-- that is interventions that change based on an individual's current needs,” she said. “I'm also very involved in research that examines how interventions work.” 

She became interested in this research area because her graduate training was deeply embedded in prevention science.  

“I became fascinated with the fact that some of our most effective interventions didn't work for everyone,” she said. “That led me to think about how we identify which individuals an intervention might not work for, and then adjust the intervention to better fit their needs.” 

The goal of her research is to provide better-fitting interventions for people and better overall health prevention.  

“I thrive on collaboration and interdisciplinary science and look forward to continuing to develop and deepen these partnerships for better prevention,” she said. 

Dr. Brincks will continue to teach courses – usually teaching statistical methods courses at graduate and undergraduate levels. 

“My favorite teaching experiences are those that involve students who feel challenged by statistics and helping them see how much fun it can be,” she said.  

Dr. Brincks earned a master's degree in student development in postsecondary education and worked in higher education student services for almost a decade before returning to school for her Ph.D. in bio-behavioral statistics. Since finishing that degree she has taught statistical methods for students in education, nursing, public health, epidemiology, biostatistics, and psychology.  

“I've also been a co-investigator on numerous grants funded by the National Institutes of Health with collaborators from across the country focused on the promotion of mental, emotional, and behavioral health for adolescents and families,” she said. 

One such collaboration many years ago published an article, “Toward scientific equity for the prevention of depression and depressive symptoms in vulnerable youth,” examining the concept of “scientific equity” for depression prevention. She continues to think about this work as a contribution to the field and a basis for her research moving forward. 

One fun fact about Dr. Brincks is that she is an avid weaver and loves taking her math skills to her looms. 

“Last year I trained as an MSU STEM Ambassador and did science outreach with the local weaving guild, which was a fun mashup of science and art,” she said. 

To learn more about Dr. Brincks, visit