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Getting to Know New Policy Council Members: Diana McCallum


Dr. Diana McCallum is a Senior Researcher and Director of Research and Evaluation for Mathematica's Children, Youth and Families division. She is also a newly elected member of the Policy Council as a researcher in a non-academic setting. Let's find out some more about Dr. McCallum in this brief interview. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m a Senior Researcher and Director of Research and Evaluation for Mathematica’s Children, Youth, and Families division. My topical expertise includes social safety net programs that support families, teen pregnancy prevention, family engagement in education, and educational choice. I also have current activities on identifying the core components that are linked to program effectiveness, providing evaluation technical assistance to organizations, and encouraging the use of evidence to drive decision making. I have worked closely with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to launch the Pathways to Work Evidence Clearinghouse, which assesses the existing evidence for employment focused programs designed to improve labor market outcomes for individuals with low incomes.  In addition, I explore ways that we can apply an equity focused lens to both research and organizational processes to better incorporate the voices and needs of underrepresented groups. As a Director at Mathematica, I also focus on mentoring, recruitment, and fostering career development for staff.  I have a PhD in Developmental Psychology and a certificate in education policy from Duke University.

How did you first learn about APPAM?

I first learned about APPAM as a Society for Research in Child Development Fellow with the Department of Health and Human Services.  Through that experience, I presented at APPAM on a series of papers exploring the expansion and use of evidence-based programs for children and youth. I truly appreciated that APPAM was an organization that brought together researchers from a diverse range of disciplines.

What made you want to join the Policy Council?

I’m excited about joining the policy council because it’s a great opportunity to influence the direction of the work APPAM features. APPAM has been committed to connecting researchers across disciplines with practitioners and policymakers, a distinguishing feature that already attracts a diverse audience. During my term, I want to continue expanding the breadth and reach of APPAM.  In the future, I would like to see APPAM become the professional home for understanding how we can actively consider issues of equity and inclusion as we strive to improve public policy and management.

What do you think is the most important thing that the Policy Council can do to help the membership?

Right now, I think the policy council will be critical for helping to highlight the most pressing topics that can be featured through virtual conferences. Given the pandemic, the membership is likely interested in opportunities that we can offer through the Resources, Data and Research Collaboration Hub.

What is your favorite APPAM Conference City?

Washington, D.C.

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