Callaghan's research focuses on the linkages between policy, politics, and public attitudes with an emphasis on health policy and politics. Overarching themes in Callaghan's writings include state decision-making on health policies like the Affordable Care Act, intergovernmental relations between states and the federal government, public attitudes and behaviors on health policies - particularly connected to developmental disabilities, survey design, and Community Health Worker roles in ensuring health access. Callaghan is also affiliated with the Southwest Rural Health Research Center and has ongoing research studying rural health issues including telehealth and chronic diseases in rural America.
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Analyzes public opinion about vaccination policies to assess whether Dunning-Kruger effects, when people with little knowledge think that they are better informed than medical experts about causes, can help to explain anti-vaccination policy attitudes.