Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy

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Dolores Acevedo Garcia

Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, Ph.D., MPA-URP, Director

Dr. Dolores Acevedo-Garcia  is Samuel F. and Rose B. Gingold Professor of Human Development and Social Policy, and Director of the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University. Her research focuses on the social determinants (e.g. residential segregation, immigrant adaptation) of racial/ethnic inequities in health; the role of social policies (e.g. housing policies, immigrant policies) in reducing those inequities; and the health and well-being of children with special needs. She received her B.A. in public administration from El Colegio de Mexico (Mexico City), and her MPA-URP and Ph.D. in Public Policy with a concentration in Demography from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. She is Project Director for, a comprehensive database of indicators on child wellbeing and opportunity by race/ethnicity across multiple sectors (e.g., education, health, neighborhoods) and geographies, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Dr. Acevedo-Garcia is an investigator and member of the Steering Committee on the Housing and Children’s Healthy Development Study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the MacArthur Foundation. She was a member of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Housing and Families with Children (2009-2014). Her professional activities include invited presentations at the National Conference on Housing Mobility (2015, 2012, 2010), the HUD/MacArthur Foundation “How Housing Matters” Conference (2011, 2012), and at the White House conference on the Future of Rental Housing Policy (2010). She served on two national expert panels convened by the Centers for Disease Control (Housing and Health, and Social Determinants of Health), and on the expert panel for the award-winning PBS documentary series “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making us Sick?” She is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Social Problems and Cityscape. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Council on Contemporary Families, the Advisory Board of the National Center for Children in Poverty, the board of PolicyLink, the Social Science Advisory Board of the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, the Research Advisory Panel of the National Coalition on School Diversity, and the National Hispanic Advisory Council of the March of Dimes. She has served on the board of directors for the Fair Housing Center for Greater Boston, and the Committee on the Analysis on Impediments to Fair Housing (Boston Office for Civil Rights). Top of Page

Maura Baldiga, Research AssociatePhoto of Maura Baldiga

Ms. Maura Baldiga is a Research Associate at the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy (ICYFP) at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University. Her current projects focus on equity issues related to family and medical leave, affordable housing, and affordable childcare. Prior to joining ICYFP, Maura graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and earned her master’s degree in City Planning from University of California (UC) Berkeley. As a graduate student, she examined urban displacement in the Bay Area with UC Berkeley’s Center for Community Innovation. Throughout graduate school, Maura crafted and piloted tools to assess small business employment practices and to plan for incremental increases in job quality for ICA, an Oakland, California-based CDFI. Her research interests center on inequality relating to work and employment conditions, family policy, and neighborhood change. Top of Page.

Lisa Dodson headshotLisa Dodson, Ph.D., MPH, Senior Scientist and Senior Lecturer

Dr. Lisa Dodson is a Senior Scientist and Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy (ICYFP). She also holds a Research Professorship in the Sociology Department at Boston College concentrating on race, class and gender. Her current ICYFP research (funded by the Ford Foundation) focuses on low-wage jobs and family life, social mobility and family care responsibilities. Her recent articles include, “We don’t fight poverty anymore” online The Conversation (2015) and “The high cost of cheap care” in The American Prospect (2014). Dodson’s most recent book, The Moral Underground: How Ordinary People Subvert an Unfair Economy (The New Press, 2010) was called a "must-read" by Time Magazine. Recent journal articles include “Social Network Development Among Low-income Mothers” 2014, Family Relations and “Stereotyping Low-Wage Mothers Who Have Work/Family Conflicts” 2013, Journal of Social Issues, exploring low-wage employment and the critical care needs of low-income children, disproportionately children of color. Dodson coauthored the policy report, funded by the Ford Foundation and Annie E. Casey Foundation, on How Youth Are Put At Risk by Parents’ Low-Wage Jobs (2012) that examines the interaction of youth development, family stability, and parents’ low-wage jobs. Professor Dodson specializes in field-based research, conducted in collaboration with community organizations and national networks, to integrate existing knowledge with lived experiences of low-income people in the development of public policy. Her earlier book Don’t Call Us Out of Name: The Untold Lives of Women and Girls in Poor America integrated eight years of field-based research to uncover an alternative account of welfare reform, told from the perspective of hundreds of single mothers and their children. Lisa Dodson’s research has been funded by the Ford, Annie E. Casey, Kellogg, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundations. Her research has been featured in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Huffington Post Live, The Boston Globe, Chronicle of Higher Education, The American Prospect, The Ed Show, Alternet, and YesMagazine. Dr. Dodson teaches research methods that focus on partnerships with national NGOs and community based organizations. In the past she has presented research findings in numerous US Congressional hearings and to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Top of Page

Alison Earle PhotoAlison Earle, Ph.D, Visiting Scholar and Lecturer

Dr. Alison Earle’s research focuses on how labor and social policies affect the health, well-being and economic security of working families in the United States and worldwide.  In particular, Earle has focused on documenting the social gradient in access to paid leave, flexibility and other indicators of job quality among working parents and explored the association with disparities in adult labor market outcomes and parents’ ability to support their children’s healthy development. Earle’s first book, Raising the Global Floor: Dismantling the Myth that We Can’t Afford Good Working Conditions for Everyone, 2009, uses the global labor policy database she and Dr. Jody Heymann (McGill University) developed and other global economic data to assess the association between federal guarantees of a set of worker benefits and protections including paid leave and working time policies, and economic competitiveness. Earle has also led studies of the impacts of parental working conditions in families with a child with special health care needs. Her recent research includes a study of the determinants of wage loss among caregivers of children with special needs and adults with disabilities and the impact of having a child with special health care needs on the likelihood of job loss.  

At ICYFP, Earle currently conducts research on the inequalities in access to good jobs by race/ethnicity and immigration status for the project funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Earle is also conducting an equity analysis of the Family and Medical Leave Act, and developing state-level indicators of parental job quality as part of the project. Earle has provided expert testimony at Massachusetts congressional hearings on proposed paid family and medical leave and paid sick days legislation, and at U.S. congressional briefings on after school policy and funding.  Her articles have been published in The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, The Journal of the American Public Health Association, Pediatrics, Community Work and Family, The American Educational Research Journal, and The Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association, among others. Earle received the 2006 Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis Best Article Award for her co-authored article examining the link between economic competitiveness and paid sick days policy. Earle received her M.P.P. from the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, and her Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard University. Top of Page.

Kimberly GeronimoKimberly Geronimo, Research Associate

Kim Geronimo is a Research Associate at the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy (ICYFP) at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University. She provides policy equity assessment and related indicator development for, a project on racial/ethnic equity in child well-being funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. She also provides geospatial descriptive work and analysis as part of a Child Care Research Partnership Grant evaluation study sponsored by the federal Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). Her current work focuses on early childhood education and parental leave, with a special emphasis on Head Start, child care subsidies, and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Prior to joining ICYFP, Geronimo worked at ACCION USA, a nonprofit, domestic microfinance organization. Her work with clients emphasized income growth and credit improvement for small business owners who were unable to access traditional financing. Geronimo graduated from Wellesley College with a B.A. in political science and Spanish. Top of Page.

Kate Giapponi, Post-Doctoral Research AssociatePhoto of Kate Giapponi

Kate Giapponi, PhD, is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Dr. Giapponi is interested in the fields of early education and care, public assistance and child welfare. Her current work at the Institute is focused on child care subsidy policy, including conducting research on state variation and equity issues in child care subsidy administration, application and use under the project. Dr. Giapponi is also conducting research under two U.S. Office of Program, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) grants, the Child Care Research Partnerships Grant and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Implementation Research and Evaluation Planning Grant (for which, she serves as a Co-Principal Investigator). As a doctoral student, Dr. Giapponi was awarded OPRE’s highly competitive Early Care and Education Research Scholars Grant, for her dissertation research investigating predictors of provider participation in the Massachusetts child care subsidy system. Prior to joining Brandeis, Dr. Giapponi worked for over six years at Public Consulting Group, consulting for various state and local human services agencies.  In this capacity, she conducted projects involving survey research, program evaluation, needs assessment, revenue maximization, and business process review.  Dr. Giapponi holds a PhD and MA in Social Policy from Brandeis University, an MBA from Clark University and a BA in Economics from the College of the Holy Cross. Top of Page.

Erin Hardy PhotoErin Hardy, MS,  Fellow and Lecturer

Erin Hardy is a Fellow at the Institute for Child, Youth & Family Policy (ICYFP) at the Heller School for Social Policy & Management at Brandeis University. In her current role, Erin serves as Principal Investigator for the project, "Child-Focused Community Profiles of WKKF Priority Areas", a data research project for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Erin also serves as Research Director and Co-Investigator for the Project--a project focused on using data to advance child wellbeing and racial/ethnic equity. She also serves as Co-Principal Investigator for the Evaluation of the Child Care Voucher Eligibility Reassessment Policy Change in Massachusetts, 2013 Child Care Research Partnership Grant (CCRPG) sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation (OPRE), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). 

Erin’s content and methodological expertise is in (i) how racial/ethnic stratification shapes children’s developmental contexts (neighborhoods, educational settings), access to opportunities, and outcomes, and relatedly, (ii) how to account for these connections in the analysis and development of U.S. social policies. Her work has a strong quantitative focus that blends a combination of measurement, evaluation, spatial statistics/Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and mixed-methods research expertise. Prior to Brandeis, Erin worked as a Fellow for the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University and as a Research Associate for RTI International conducting evaluation work for a federally-funded, community-based family strengthening initiative. Early in her career, Erin spent half a decade working in corporate and public finance investment banking serving Midwest private and public sector clients. Erin earned a Master of Science in Political Science at MIT and a BA in Government and Economics at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Most importantly, Erin is the proud mother of an exuberant seven-year old girl and two-year old boy. Top of Page.

Pamela K. Joshi, ICYFP Sr. Research Scientist and Associate DirectorPam Joshi, Ph.D. '01, MPP, Senior Research Scientist, Associate Director

Dr. Pamela K. Joshi, Ph.D. '01, is a Senior Research Scientist and the Associate Director of the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy. Her 15 years of expertise includes policy implementation research, evaluation of community-based interventions, systematic reviews, welfare, housing and family support programs, parental working conditions and nonstandard work shifts, and race/ethnic health disparities. Currently, Joshi is the Director of Policy Analysis for the project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which targets data collection, analysis and policy implications for low-income and vulnerable families and children. The project is a data-driven project to document disparities in access to opportunities, their outcomes and the variation in state level child policies, and to conduct systematic reviews and case studies of interventions that improve the lives of vulnerable children. A parallel project is a systematic review of faith-based organizations’ capacity and management practices in emergency preparedness and response efforts in vulnerable communities. Prior to Brandeis, Joshi spent 4 years in social policy evaluation at RTI International leading systematic reviews and policy evaluation funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security, and 6 years at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as a Research Scientist on Welfare, Children and Families: A Three City Study. She received her B.S. in economics from Miami University, M.P.P with a concentration in poverty and inequality from the University of Michigan, and Ph.D. from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She was the Heller School’s first Sol C. Chaikin dissertation fellow in child, youth and family policy. Top of Page.

Photo of Frank LiFrank S. Li, MFA, Research Associate

Frank Li is a Research Associate at the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy (ICYFP) at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management. He works primarily on the Child-Focused Community Profiles project, which aims to build detailed indicator data dashboards on childhood inequity in several cities and counties across the country. The project is funded by the William K. Kellogg Foundation. Previously, Frank worked for a GIS software company supporting, testing, and developing sales territory design software and cartographic data. He holds a B.A. in Urban Planning and Music Composition from the University of California, San Diego, an M.F.A. in Composition and Theory from Brandeis University, and a GIS Technician Certificate from San Diego Mesa College.

Outside of ICYFP, Frank is a composer, writer, and artist interested in the intersections of artistic expression, technology, and sociopolitical issues. He finds the vast potential of new technologies to model and effect social equity across race, gender, and class lines to be breathtaking. Furthermore, he believes that art – be it music, theater, painting, poetry, dance, photography – has a singularly ferocious capacity to ignite passion and connection with those segments of the human condition outside of a "typical" audience's awareness, and that there is no compelling reason not to break any of these boundaries whenever possible.

In his music, Frank is drawn to just intonation, surrealism, social activism, and experimental theater, but his past work has explored such varied ideas as unreliable narrative, imperfect patterns, and meditation. Frank is also a writer and digital visual artist. Besides the occasional essay or digital painting, he is a graphic designer and is working on his first book of poems. His musical background reflects this eclecticism well; though trained as a classical violinist he has performed as a saxophonist, vocalist, actor, and conductor in everything from a Fluxus happening to a klezmer band. Top of Page.

Photo of Clemens NoelkeClemens Noelke, Ph.D., Senior Scientist

Clemens Noelke is a research scientist at the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy (ICYFP) at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University. He holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Mannheim, Germany. His PhD research examined structural and institutional causes of youth unemployment in Eastern and Western Europe, focusing on the role of vocational education and training and employment protection legislation in particular. His post-doctoral studies focused on the impact of economic downturns and job loss on cardiovascular disease and mortality among older workers. He has published in leading social science journals, including the European Sociological Review, American Journal of Public Health, American Journal of Epidemiology, and Social Science and Medicine. Before joining the ICYFP as a specialist for quantitative analyses, he was David E. Bell Postdoctoral Fellow and research associate at the Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Top of Page.

Laurie Nsiah-Jefferson photoLaurie Nsiah-Jefferson '80, Ph.D. '06, Senior Scientist and Senior Lecturer

Dr. Laurie Nsiah-Jefferson '80, Ph.D. '06, holds faculty and senior scientist positions at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy, and the Institute on Assets and Social Policy. She is also an affiliated faculty member of the African and Afro-American Studies Department and the Women's and Gender Studies (WGS) Program. She chairs the MPP Diversity Committee, serves on the Heller Diversity Steering Committee, and is the coordinator for the MPP/WGS Joint Degree Program, and advises joint degree students. Furthermore she is currently a Davis Teaching and Learning Fellow working with a cohort of Brandeis faculty to explore innovations in pedagogy for effective teaching and student learning. 

Nsiah-Jefferson earned a joint Ph.D. in Social Policy with a concentration in Health Policy/Health Services from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, and an M.A. in Women's and Gender Studies from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Brandeis University. She received an M.P.H, in Health Services Administration from the Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health.  In addition she holds a B.A. in African and Afro-American Studies and Politics from Brandeis University. 

Nsiah-Jefferson’s research interests relate to the simultaneous intersections between aspects of social difference and identity (e.g., race and ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, age, immigrant status, ability, etc.), and forms of systematic oppression (racism, sexism, classism, etc.) at micro and macro levels, and its impact on various social outcomes. She is also interested in the relationship between health and wealth inequities and its impact on the well-being of women of color and young children; the role of racial and ethnic discrimination on health status; and disparities in health care quality and services. Her current research projects are focused on health workforce diversity, nursing home report cards for diverse populations, the role of philanthropy in reducing health disparities, and the impact of racism/discrimination on health outcomes. Top of Page.

Lindsay Rosenfeld

Lindsay Rosenfeld, ScD, ScM, Scientist and Lecturer

Dr. Lindsay E. Rosenfeld is a social epidemiologist with research interests in program and policy design that focus on the health impacts of “nonhealth” policies and programs, particularly concerning the built environment, urban planning and design, housing, neighborhoods, education, (im)migration, and health literacy. In addition to her work with the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management, she is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Northeastern University's Institute on Urban Health Research & Practice as well as a Scholar in Health Literacy Studies at the Harvard School of Public Health. At the Heller School, Rosenfeld co-teaches HS502A: Child, Youth, and Family Poverty - Research & Policy as well as HS329F: Introduction to Epidemiology. In the Health: Science, Society, & Policy Brandeis undergraduate program, she teaches HSSP100b: Introduction to Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Population Health, HSSP112b: Perspectives on Child Health and Well-Being, and HSSP120bj: Health Care Landscapes, a course in the Food, Lifestyle, and Health Justice Brandeis Semester. At Harvard, Rosenfeld will co-teach two health literacy modules in January 2015 and has previously taught Health Literacy there as well. She has also taught Race, Ethnicity, and Health at Northeastern University. Throughout her career Rosenfeld has served in numerous research, policy, teaching, and community social-service capacities—she is passionate about the utility of research for program and policy application. Examples include being a founding member of the Boston Child Health Impact Assessment Working Group, a second-grade teacher in Compton, California, co-founder and coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Consortium on Urban Planning and Public Health, a participant in the Boston Affordable Housing Design Competition and Fit City Boston, and a mentor to many students and young professionals. Currently, she is working on 3 main project areas: child equity and policy with [WK Kellogg Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Brandeis University], NOURISH (Nutrition Opportunities to Understand Reforms Involving Student Health) [Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Harvard School of Public Health], and The Meaning and Impact of Limited Literacy on the Lives of People with Serious Mental Illness [National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, Northeastern University]. Rosenfeld earned her bachelor’s degree in women’s studies from Brown University and both her master’s degree and doctorate in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health. Top of Page.

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