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, a sociologist and demographer, studies education policy, school structure, and student outcomes. Research interests include 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;

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;

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;