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Taryn Morrissey

Assistant Professor Department of Public Administration and Policy

Dr. Morrissey's work centers on examining and improving public policies for vulnerable children. Ongoing research examines the social determinants of food insecurity and obesity, and the impacts of neighborhood poverty and family instability and children's development. Her work has appeared in journals including Pediatrics, Child Development, Developmental Psychology, and the Journal of Marriage and Family. Her research is supplemented with policy experiences. From January 2013 to August 2014, Dr. Morrissey was on leave from AU serving as Senior Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the Dept. of Health and Human Services. She worked primarily on the President's Early Learning Initiative, including Early Head Start and child care. Prior to joining the SPA faculty in 2010, Taryn Morrissey served as a Health Policy Advisor on the staff of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, first for Senator Edward Kennedy and then for Senator Tom Harkin. Dr. Morrissey worked primarily on federal health reform legislation, particularly child and maternal health and workforce issues. She began her career in policy as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) / Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Congressional Fellow. She has also worked at the Massachusetts Department of Education and at the Families and Work Institute on early care and education policy, and served as consultant to the American Public Health Association and the National Center for Children in Poverty.


PhD Developmental Psychology, Cornell University (2008) MA Human Development and Family Studies, Cornell University (2005) BS Psychology and Child Development, Tufts University (2003)

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SPA - Public Admin and Policy
Ward - 342
Tuesdays 9:30-11am and by appointment
Contact Info
(202) 885-6323 (Office)

Send email to Taryn Morrissey

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Partnerships & Affiliations


  • Spring 2016

    • PUAD-396 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: Health Policy
    • Description
    • PUAD-685 Topics in Policy Analysis/Mgmt: Healthcare Policy
    • Description

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

  • Social policy and child development
  • Child care, maternal employment, and work-family issues
  • Health reform and child health

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) /American Association for the Advance of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowship, 2008-2009.

Individual National Research Service Award (NRSA), National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): Child Care Chaos and Children's Social-emotional Development and Stress. Grant # F32-HD-059795-01A1, 2008-2010 (declined)

Grants and Sponsored Research

Maternal and Child Health Research Program, Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Pricinpal Investigator (Co-PI: Rada Dagher). "A Longitudinal Analysis of Maternal Depression and its Associations with Child Obesity and Health Care Use" 2012-2013 ($99,991)

Institute for Research on Poverty RIDGE Center for National Food and Nutrition Assistance Research Grant: Food Assistance and Children's Eating Patterns, Food Insecurity, and Obesity: The Influence of Local Food Prices. Principal Investigator (Co-PI: Alison Jacknowitz). 2011-2012 ($35,361)

University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, Research Program on Child Hunger Small Grants Program: Food Insecurity Across the First Five Years: Triggers of Onset and Exit. Co-Principal Investigator (PI: Alison Jacknowitz). 2011-2012 ($74,980)

Child Care Bureau Research Scholar Award, U.S. Dept. of Health  and Human Services, Principal Investigator: Patchworks and  Sequences of Child Care: The Effects of Multiple Child Care Arrangements  on Child Development; 2006-2008 ($41,763)

W.K. Kellogg Foundation via Smart Start National Technical Assistance Center (PI: Mildred Warner): Employer-Supported Child Care: An Alternative Finance Option, 2008-2009 ($67,000)

Institute  of Social Sciences, Cornell University, Co-Principal Investigator (with  Mildred Warner and Moncrieff Cochran): Evaluating an  Employer-Supported Child Care Program: An Ecological  Approach; 2006-2008 ($5,000) 

AU Expert

Area of Expertise: Impacts of public policy on child development, especially how health care and early education policy affect young children's health (particularly obesity) and social-emotional outcomes; the social determinants of childhood obesity; the impacts of public-and employer-supported child care on work/family balance; child care stability and children's development

Additional Information: Taryn Morrissey's research focuses on the impacts of public policy on child development. Specifically, she examines how health care and early education policy affects young children's health, particularly obesity, and social-emotional outcomes. Ongoing research projects investigate the social determinants of child obesity, the impacts of public- and employer-supported child care on work/family balance, and child care stability and children's development. Prior to joining AU's School of Public Affairs faculty, she served as a health policy advisor for the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, first for Sen. Edward Kennedy and then for Sen. Tom Harkin, where she worked on health reform, particularly child and maternal health and workforce development issues. She has also worked for the Massachusetts Department of Education in the Early Learning Services Division on early education policy, and has consulted for the National Center for Children in Poverty and the Families and Work Institute.

Media Relations
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.

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