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Getting to Know New Policy Council Members: Molly Irwin


Dr. Molly Irwin is Vice President Research and Science at The Pew Charitable Trusts. She is also a newly elected member of the Policy Council as Treasurer. Let's find out some more about Dr. Irwin in this brief interview. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I oversee the Pew Charitable Trust’s research and science portfolio, which spans the Trusts’ programmatic work (including conservation, health, and social science portfolios) and focuses on building research quality and expertise across Pew.  My background includes planning, leading, and conducting large-scale research and evaluation projects and working with policy makers, researchers, and practitioners to build and use evidence to improve public programs. Before Pew, I spent 10 years in the federal government planning and managing research and evaluation portfolios in two agencies, most recently as the Chief Evaluation Officer for the U.S. Department of Labor. I’ve also spent time in local and state government and academia.

How did you first learn about APPAM?

I first learned about APPAM in graduate school. APPAM is a great home for someone like me whose background and experience spans disciplines and topic areas and who is keenly interested in building and using evidence to support decision-making.

What made you want to join the Executive Council?

I have served on the APPAM Policy Council for the last four years. As part of the Policy Council, I chair the policy relevance committee and I have served on the communications and nominating committees. I am excited to continue my engagement in the APPAM leadership on the Executive Council as treasurer.  I’m especially interested in the role APPAM plays in connecting research and decision-making and helping to bring together and strengthen the relationships between the researcher community and stakeholders—policy-makers, practitioners, community members, and funders—so that together, we can better define research needs and build evidence that is useful and used.

What do you think is the most important thing that APPAM’s leadership can do to help the membership?

Help to build bridges and foster learning across disciplines and between researchers and stakeholders. 

What is your favorite APPAM Conference City?

I have so many good memories from traveling to different cities for past conferences, but I really love having the conference in DC.

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