Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy

Affiliated Scholars

April Allen

April Allen, PhD, MPA, is a forward-thinking and forward-looking changemaker with a passion for using data to transform systems that serve children, youth, and families. She is the founder of Spark Learning for Organizations LLC, and has previously held senior roles in research, government, and nonprofit settings. A substantial portion of her research agenda has focused on the experiences of children involved with the child welfare system, informed by her own experiences as a child in care. 

Allen launched Amplify Action Research in 2020 to build a pipeline of leaders with lived experience in service systems. She holds a doctorate in social policy from Brandeis University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Queen’s University.

Joanna Almeida

Joanna Almeida

Joanna Almeida is an associate professor at Simmons School of Social Work, Simmons University.

The primary focus of her research is on understanding factors including stress, discrimination, anti-immigrant policies and sentiment, which may explain patterns of Latino immigrant health, mental health and wellbeing after arrival in the United States. An additional line of Almeida’s research examines public health approaches to suicide prevention among adolescents. Almeida has been cited as an authority in U.S. Supreme Court cases and her research has been used by local jurisdictions supporting legislation to become sanctuary/inclusive cities. Her work has been covered by Reuters, The Boston Globe and National Public Radio.

Almeida earned a doctorate in social epidemiology from the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health, master’s degrees from Boston University School of Social Work and from Boston University School of Public Health and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont. Prior to earning her doctorate, Almeida completed a fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mikyung Baek

Mikyung Baek

Mikyung Baek is a senior research associate with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University. She is also a contributor to, a project of the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

Her work involves mapping child opportunity indicators to create the Child Opportunity Index, one of the institute’s main research products. Her research interests include opportunity indicators for children and youth, spatial (GIS) analysis of opportunity, food insecurity and health equity, and their relationship with neighborhood conditions.

Baek holds a doctorate in educational technology and a master’s degree in foreign and second language education, both from The Ohio State University. She also received an undergraduate degree in computer science and statistics from Pusan National University in South Korea.

Research Interests: Indicators of opportunity for children and youth and their life experiences, spatial (GIS) analysis of opportunity, food (in)security and health equity, and their relationship with neighborhood conditions.

Kerith Conron

Kerith Conron is the Blachford-Cooper distinguished scholar and research director at the Williams Institute.

She is a social and psychiatric epidemiologist whose work focuses on documenting and reducing inequities that impact sexual and gender minority populations. She is committed to altering the landscape of adversity and opportunity for LGBTQ communities, particularly through collaboration. Conron is co-principal investigator of the “Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity, Socioeconomic Status, and Health across the Life Course” study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Conron has a doctor of science degree from Harvard School of Public Health and a master’s in public health from Boston University School of Public Health. Her publications appear in the American Journal of Public Health, Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, and Psychological Medicine. Her expertise and commentary have been featured by The New York Times, the Associated Press and National Public Radio.

Morgan Crossman

Morgan Crossman

Morgan Crossman is the executive director of Building Bright Futures, Vermont’s foundational early childhood public-private partnership mandated to serve as the state advisory council on early childhood, the mechanism used to advise the governor and legislature on the status of children birth to age 8.

Crossman’s primary areas of expertise are in child development, maternal and child health and wellbeing, and care transitions over the life course for children with disabilities and special health care needs and their families. Prior to joining Building Bright Futures, Crossman held the pediatric health services research fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. In that role she led research studies focused on service integration and improving care transitions for children with special health care needs and their families as they navigate multiple complex service systems over the life course. She previously served as the clinical research program manager for the laboratories of cognitive neuroscience at Boston Children’s Hospital. In this role, she submitted multi-million dollar, federally funded grants and coordinated the implementation of multi-site, national research projects focused on families of children, youth and adults with autism spectrum disorders and other neurodevelopmental and related disabilities.

Crossman has a doctorate in social policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, and a master’s degree in applied developmental and educational psychology from the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College.

Alison Earle

Alison Earle

Alison Earle, PhD, is senior research analyst in work-family policy at the WORLD Policy Analysis Center at the School of Public Health at UCLA, where she leads research projects on how labor and social policies affect the health and economic security of working families in the U.S. and worldwide.

Her U.S. research has recently focused on disparities in the availability, accessibility, and affordability of state paid family and medical leave. Dr. Earle has also examined the impact of paid leave on children's health and caregiving for family members with chronic conditions and disabilities.  Her global research includes cross-national, comparative studies of paid parental and medical leave, early childhood education, child labor and child marriage laws. Previously, Earle served as the co-director of the Project on Global Working Families at the Harvard School of Public Health where she managed a research team developing the first truly global database of national labor policies in 193 countries. Earle conducted some of the first national studies on disparities in access to paid leave and schedule flexibility in the United States, and the first globally comparative analysis of paid sick leave policies. Earle has over 60 publications and has provided expert testimony at Massachusetts congressional hearings on proposed paid family and medical leave and paid sick days legislation. Earle and colleagues at the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy received the 2014 Lawrence Klein Award for the Best Article in Monthly Labor Review for her article examining the job characteristics of working parents across race, ethnicity and nativity.

Earle received a master’s in public policy from the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, and a doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard University.

Erin Hardy, Fellow

Erin Hardy

Erin Hardy is Senior Research Scientist in the Education and Child Development Department at NORC, where she conducts early childhood policy research focused on issues of diversity, race, equity and inclusion. 

Before joining NORC, Hardy was the early childhood research director at, where she lead various equity indicator development and policy research projects and related policy impact activities, mostly focused on early childhood and neighborhood and educational inequities. Her research focuses on how racial/ethnic stratification shapes children’s developmental contexts and access to opportunities and outcomes, and how to account for these connections in the analysis and development of U.S. social policies. Her work utilizes quantitative and spatial analysis methods and GIS.

Previously, Hardy 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. Hardy holds a master’s degree in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in government and economics from Wesleyan University.

Nancy McArdle

Nancy McArdle

Nancy McArdle is a senior research analyst for at the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

Her current projects focus on child opportunity across a wide range of geographic areas. McArdle also conducts a variety of data analysis, research and original written pieces for the website. She has specialized in assessing patterns of segregation, fair housing and demographic change.

Prior to joining, McArdle was a research analyst for the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University and research director of the Harvard Civil Rights Project’s Metro Boston Equity Initiative. She holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a bachelor’s degree in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Theresa Osypuk, Affiliated Scholar

Theresa Osypuk

Theresa L. Osypuk is an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. She is also a contributor to and, both projects of the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy (ICYFP) at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

Osypuk is a social epidemiologist, and her research examines why place and social policy influence health and health disparities. Specifically, she examines the influence of racial segregation, neighborhood context and policies outside of the health sector (i.e., those concerned with housing or neighborhoods), for their effects on racial/ethnic and immigrant health disparities. Osypuk has contributed to research studies on social policy, housing and neighborhood inequity and health inequity, collaborating with ICYFP researchers Acevedo-Garcia, Joshi, McArdle, Noelke and Baldiga, and using data from and, on topics such as 1) the affordability of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); 2) the effects of economic downturns on inequities in birth outcomes; 3) the effects of social and economic policies on health; 4) how segregation patterns exposure to high-poverty schools; 5) neighborhood opportunity and location affordability for low-income renter families.

Osypuk holds a doctorate of science and a master’s degree of science from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Jason Reece

Jason Reece

Jason Reece is an assistant professor of city and regional planning at the Knowlton School of Architecture at The Ohio State University. He is also a contributor to, a project of the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

He contributed to the design of the first Child Opportunity Index. More recently, he assisted in researching novel practices in utilizing neighborhood data tools to support child development. His research, teaching and professional experience focuses on social equity in city planning, fair housing, health equity and asset-based community development.

Reece was formerly the senior associate director and director of research for the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity at The Ohio State University. He holds a doctorate in city and regional planning from The Ohio State University, and two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Miami in geography and urban and regional planning.