Children and Families


  • Harris Cooper, professor of education, psychology and neuroscience. Researches the value of homework, making the most of summer school, the value of after-school programs, and the impact of school calendars and calendar variations on students and their families. (919) 660-3167;
  • Helen Ladd, professor emeritus of public policy and economics. Specializes in charter schools, school-based accountability, market-based reforms, parental choice and competition, teacher quality, student achievement. 
  • Clara G. Muschkin, assistant research professor of public policy; associate director for undergraduate studies, Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. Muschkin studies education policy, school structure and student outcomes, including the impact of early childhood education on academic outcomes, impact of grade retention on student behavior, and consequences of high school reform practices.  (919) 613-9302;
  • Kristen R. Stephens, assistant professor of the practice of education. Specializes in gifted-child education, teacher training; can discuss Race to the Top/No Child Left Behind. (919) 660-3083;

Mental Health; Substance Abuse

  • E. Jane Costello, an epidemiologist in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, is associate director of research, Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. She studies the interplay of genetic and environmental factors in the development of mental health problems and substance abuse problems in children and adolescents. (919) 613-9335;
  • William Copeland, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. His research focuses on the presentation, course and biological and environmental causes of psychiatric disorders in childhood and adolescence. (919) 687-4686;

Poverty and Child Well-Being

  • Anna Gassman-Pines, assistant professor of public policy, and psychology and neuroscience; faculty fellow, Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. Gassman-Pines is a psychologist who studies the effects of welfare and employment policy on child and maternal well-being. Research interests include the effects of job loss on children’s tests scores (co-authored with Gibson-Davis and Ananat). (919) 613-7301;
  • Robin Gurwitch, instructor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. ​Gurwitch studies the impact of trauma and disasters on children and co-authored the book “When Their Worlds Fall Apart.” (919) 419-3474, (405) 659-9513 (cell);
  • Kathryn Whetten, professor of public policy and global health. Her work focuses on the understanding of health disparities in the U.S. and around the globe. She is an expert on orphans and orphanages who directs the Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research in the Duke Global Health Institute. (919) 613-5470;


  • Jennifer Lansford, research professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy and affiliate of the Center for Child and Family Policy. She is an expert on child and adolescent development, aggression, parenting, culture, peer relationships, and child maltreatment. (217) 722-0965;

Poverty; Neighborhoods and Families

  • Elizabeth O. Ananat, assistant professor of public policy; faculty fellow, Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. Ananat, an economist, focuses on the intergenerational dynamics of poverty and inequality. Research includes the effects of factory closings on children’s test scores. (919) 613-7302;
  • Christina M. Gibson-Davis, associate professor of public policy, sociology; faculty fellow, Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. Studies causes and consequences of changing fertility and marriage patterns, including single mothers and marriage versus cohabitation. (919) 613-7364;