Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center UT Austin Scholars Group

The University of Texas at Austin Scholars Group

The University of Texas at Austin, a nationally recognized Tier 1 research institution, is home of the Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center. The University of Texas at Austin Scholars Group is a multi-disciplinary academic group comprised of leaders with specialized areas of expertise especially relevant for the work of the Impact Center. The primary goals of this strong working group of scholars and researchers are to strengthen the knowledge base and ensure rigor.

Areas of expertise of The University of Texas at Austin Scholars Group members include: pediatric and child health and development, maternal mortality and morbidity, social neuroscience, racial and health equity, early care and education, parenting, youth mental health, child welfare, and father engagement. Learn about the members in their bios below.


  • Cynthia Osborne, Ph.D. (Chair) – LBJ School of Public Affairs;
  • Sarah Kate Bearman, Ph.D. - College of Education, Educational Psychology; Dell Medical School, Psychology;
  • Esther Calzada, Ph.D. - Steve Hicks School of Social Work;
  • Frances Champagne, Ph.D. - College of Liberal Arts, Psychology;
  • Robert Crosnoe, Ph.D. - College of Liberal Arts, Sociology;
  • Elizabeth Gershoff, Ph.D. - College of Natural Science, Human Development and Family Sciences;
  • Tara Greendyk, M.D. - Dell Medical School, Pediatrics;
  • Mark Hayward, Ph.D. - College of Liberal Arts, Sociology;
  • Michael Hole, M.D., M.B.A. - Dell Medical School, Pediatrics and Population Health; LBJ School of Public Affairs;
  • Jose Rubén Parra-Cardona, Ph.D. - Steve Hicks School of Social Work; and
  • Lourdes Rodríguez, Dr.PH. - Dell Medical School, Population Health.


Cynthia Osborne Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center

CYNTHIA OSBORNE, PH.D. (Chair) | LBJ School of Public Affairs

Cynthia Osborne is the Founder and Director of the Child and Family Research Partnership and the Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center at The University of Texas at Austin. She is also Associate Dean for Academic Strategies and Director of the Center for Health and Social Policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Osborne’s teaching and research interests are in the areas of early childhood, poverty and inequality, and family and child wellbeing. She has extensive experience leading long-term evaluations of state and national programs, with the aim of helping organizations and agencies understand what works and why, and how to ensure sustainable implementation of effective policies. Her work includes evaluations for the Texas Home Visiting Program, one of the largest home visiting programs in the country; for critical state-level child welfare and child support programs. Osborne is an appointed member of the National Academies of Sciences Committee to Reduce Child Poverty by Half in Ten Years. She serves as the Chair of the Responsible Fatherhood working group for the federally funded Fatherhood Research and Practice Network. She is also an elected member of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) leadership council. Osborne holds a Ph.D. in Demography and Public Affairs from Princeton University, a Master in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a Master of Arts in Education from Claremont Graduate University. Previously, she taught middle school in a low-income community in California.

Sarah Kate Bearman Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center

SARAH KATE BEARMAN, PH.D. | College of Education | Dell Medical School

Sarah Kate Bearman is an Assistant Professor at the College of Education Department of Educational Psychology and the Dell Medical School Department of Psychiatry at The University of Texas at Austin. She is also Director of the Leveraging Evidence and Advancing Practice for Youth Mental Health Services Lab (LEAP Lab). Bearman has many years of experience in the development, testing, and dissemination of effective treatments for youth. Her work focuses on the dissemination and implementation of empirically supported practices (ESPs) for underserved youth in community settings. She examines the processes and contexts that promote and support the effective use and sustainability of ESPs, with particular focus on treatment redesign, training and supervision, and the use of non-traditional providers and settings to increase ESP access. Bearman also provides both clinical supervision and national trainings for therapists in the use of empirically supported practices for anxiety, depression, disruptive conduct and traumatic stress. She also works with community partners in a number of different child service contexts, including schools, clinics, and child welfare agencies. Bearman received her Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin and her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Psychology from Kenyon College.

Esther Calzada Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center

ESTHER CALZADA, PH.D. | Steve Hicks School of Social Work

Esther Calzada is a clinical child psychologist and the Norma and Clay Leben Fellow in Child and Family Behavioral Health and an Associate Professor of Social Work at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. She also holds faculty affiliate positions in the Population Research Center and the Llilas Benson Latin American Studies and Collections at The University of Texas at Austin, and in the Department of Population Health at the New York University School of Medicine. Calzada’s expertise is in parenting and early childhood development among ethnic minority, particularly Latino, families. Her research focuses on family and intergenerational processes and interventions and aims to reduce racial/ethnic disparities in academic achievement, behavior problems, and socio-emotional problems. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Science Foundation, her work advances understanding of the unique risk factors (e.g., acculturative stress, linguistic isolation, experiences of discrimination, migration trauma, undocumented status) that undermine healthy child development among Latinos, as well as the protective and promoting factors (e.g., ethnic identity, family cohesion) that offset such risk. Calzada serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Latin@ Psychology and as an editorial board member of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Pyschology and French from Duke University and her Ph.D. in Clinical and Health Pyschology from the University of Florida.

Frances Champagne Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center

FRANCES CHAMPAGNE, PH.D. | College of Liberal Arts

Frances Champagne is a Professor and the Director of the Epigenetics, Development and Neuroscience Lab in the Department of Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University. She is a world leader within the evolving field of behavioral epigenetics – the study of how life experiences lead to behavioral and neurobiological variation through epigenetic factors. Though mechanistic studies in this field are addressed primarily in animal models, Champagne has also established collaborations to explore epigenetics within humans to determine the contribution of these molecular marks to neurobiological outcomes. Champagne’s main research interest concerns how genetic and environmental factors interact to regulate maternal behavior, and how natural variations in this behavior can shape the behavioral development of offspring through epigenetic changes in gene expression in a brain region specific manner. Her research focuses on: investigating the epigenetic mechanisms via which individual variation in reproductive and social behavior can be induced through variation in early life experiences (prenatal and postnatal); investigating the epigenetic mechanisms via which offspring may overcome or be resilient to such early life experiences; the exploration of the interplay between mothers and fathers in offspring development; and determining the transgenerational effects of early life experiences. Champagne received a Master of Science in Psychiatry and Ph.D. in Neuroscience from McGill University.

Robert Crosnoe Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center

ROBERT CROSNOE, PH.D. | College of Liberal Arts

Robert Crosnoe is the Chair of the Department of Sociology and the Rapoport Centennial of Professor Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also a faculty member in the Department of Psychology and the Population Research Center. Crosnoe’s research considers the connections among health, child/adolescent development, and education and the contributions of these connections to socioeconomic and immigration-related inequalities in American society. His work has been supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Science Foundation, Institute of Education Sciences, National Institute of Justice, William T. Grant Foundation, and Foundation for Child Development. A few of his recent books include Mexican Roots, American Schools: Helping Mexican Immigrant Children Succeed (Stanford University Press), Fitting In, Standing Out: Navigating the Social Challenges of High School to Get an Education (Cambridge University Press), and Debating Early Child Care: The Relationship between Developmental Science and the Media (Cambridge University Press with Tama Leventhal). Crosnoe is Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Collaborative on Development in Context, President-Elect of the Society for Research on Adolescence, and a member of the Governing Councils for Society for Research in Child Development and Council on Contemporary Families. Crosnoe received a Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University and then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Elizabeth Gershoff Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center

ELIZABETH GERSHOFF, PH.D. | College of Natural Sciences

Elizabeth Gershoff is a Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences and the Associate Director, Development Core Director, and Postdoctoral Training Director at the Population Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin. She is a developmental psychologist who studies how parenting generally and discipline, in particular, affect children’s development. Her research combines longitudinal and hierarchical methods for understanding the dynamic and multilayered contexts of children’s lives. Gershoff is particulary interested in how parenting affects children differently within contexts of poverty and low income, neighborhoods, schools, and culture. She also studies the associations between children’s exposures to various forms of violence (from parents, communities, and terrorism) and their mental health and risk behaviors. Her current projects include an NICHD grant examining the dynamic effects of income and material hardship on parents and children over time; a CDC-funded project examining the long-term effectiveness of a school-based violence prevention program; and an NIMH-funded project identifying the developmental outcomes for children with comorbid depression and conduct disorder. Gershoff received her Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Child Development from The University of Texas at Austin.

Tara Greendyk Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center

TARA GREENDYK, M.D. | Dell Medical School

Tara Greendyk is an outpatient pediatrician and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics with The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School Pediatric Residency Program at CommUnity Care East Austin. Greendyk’s commitment to underserved and vulnerable populations has characterized her career. She and her family relocated to Austin in July 2009, where she has been committed to the education and shaping of future pediatricians, as well as to the needs of disenfranchised populations at CommUnity Care East Austin Clinic. Greendyk has particular interests in the special and specific needs of immigrant children and families, as well as caring for those living in poverty with and without complex medical conditions. She and her co-faculty were instrumental in implementing screening for postpartum depression in the primary care pediatric setting at East Austin Clinic, and she has a particular passion for early childhood brain development and adverse childhood experiences. Greendyk attended medical school at Rutgers University - New Jersey Medical School and completed her pediatric residency training at New York Presbyterian Hospital - Weill Cornell Medical Center in 2007.

Mark Hayward Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center

MARK HAYWARD, PH.D. | College of Liberal Arts

Mark Hayward is a Professor of Sociology, Centennial Commission Professor in the Liberal Arts, and a faculty research associate of the Population Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin. His primary research addresses how life course exposures and events influence the morbidity and mortality experiences of the adult population. His recent studies have clarified how early life conditions influence socioeconomic, race and gender disparities in adult morbidity and mortality; the demography of race/ethnic and gender disparities in healthy life expectancy; social inequality in the biomarkers of aging, and the health consequences of marriage, divorce, and widowhood. Hayward recently served as President of the Southern Demographic Association and Chair of the Aging and Life Course section of the American Sociological Association. He has served on the boards of the Population Association of America and the Society of Biodemography and Social Biology, and he was a member and then Chair of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research Council. Currently, he is a member of the Committee on Population, National Academy of Sciences, and the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health and Society Scholars Program. Hayward received his Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Sociology from Indiana University Bloomington.

Michael Hole Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center

MICHAEL HOLE, M.D., M.B.A. | Dell Medical School | LBJ School of Public Affairs

Michael Hole is a physician and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Population Health and Public Policy as well as Director of Social Entrepreneurship for Dell Medical School’s Texas Health CoLab at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also a pediatrician onboard the Children’s Health Express, a mobile clinic serving Greater Austin’s most vulnerable children and street youths. Hole started his career in social services fighting child trafficking before founding two international development campaigns which helped fund a primary school in Uganda, an orphanage for disabled kids abandoned during Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, and a new food product for malnourished children globally. He is also Co-founder and Co-director of StreetCred, a national nonprofit helping low-income families file taxes, build wealth, and apply for basic resources in pediatricians’ waiting rooms. Hole is a first-generation college graduate from Butler University. He then earned a medical degree and Master of Business Administration from Stanford University with concentrations in public management, community health and social innovation. He completed pediatrics residency at Harvard Medical School.

Ruben Parra-Cardona Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center

JOSÉ RUBEN PARRA-CARDONA, PH.D. | Steve Hicks School of Social Work

Jose Rubén Parra-Cardona is an Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. Parra-Cardona was funded by NIMH to investigate the treatment efficacy and relevance of two versions of an evidence-based parenting intervention culturally adapted for Latino families with young children. He is currently funded by NIDA to extend this line of research to Latino families with adolescent children. He is the recipient of the 2013 American Family Therapy Academy Early Career Award for his innovative work on cultural adaptation research. He has a wealth of experience on research collaborations across the U.S.-Mexico border, and is currently vice-president of the Family Process Institute, a member of the board of directors of the Centro de Investigación Familiar (a leading family therapy institute in Mexico and in Latin America), and a clinical faculty member and researcher in the Instituto Regional de Estudios de la Familia (a leading family therapy institute in northern Mexico). Parra-Cardona earned his Master of Arts from Syracuse University and his Ph.D. from Texas Tech University in Couple and Family Therapy.

Lourdes Rodriguez Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center

LOURDES RODRÍGUEZ, PH.D. | Dell Medical School

Lourdes Rodríguez is an Associate Professor of Population Health and Director of the Center for Place-Based Initiatives at The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School. The Center for Place-Based Initiatives conducts all of its work with an eye toward community servanthood. Areas of focus include: identifying persons in Austin, Travis County and Central Texas who have ideas to improve the health of their communities and neighborhoods; addressing systemic challenges rooted in unfair economic policies, discrimination and other social determinants of health that drive health inequities; and identifying and supporting exceptional people and ideas that may otherwise not have a source for support, ensuring their community impact and sustainability. Previously, Rodríguez was the Program Officer at the New York State Health Foundation supporting neighborhood-level interventions to increase healthy food options and improve the built environment; advance public policies that promote healthy living; and increase access to resources and programs that address social determinants of health. She was also Associate Director of Community Partnerships for the Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative at City Harvest, where she oversaw community engagement activities to help address diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other diet-related diseases in low-income neighborhoods of New York City. Rodríguez received a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Biotechnology from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, an Master of Public Health from the University of Connecticut, and a Doctor of Public Health from Columbia University.