- PhD Developmental Psychology, Cornell University (2008)
MA Human Development and Family Studies, Cornell University (2005)
BS Psychology and Child Development, Tufts University (2003)
Dr. Morrissey is a SPA Dean's Scholar Associate Professor. Her work centers on examining and improving public policies for vulnerable children. She is Associate Professor of public policy at AU, a non-resident fellow at the Urban Institute, and a Commissioner on the Washington, DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s Healthy Youth & Schools Commission. Ongoing research examines early care and education policy, family economic instability, and neighborhood poverty. She is coauthor of Cradle to Kindergarten: A New Plan to Combat Inequality (2017, Russell Sage Foundation). Her research has been published in journals including Pediatrics, Child Development, Developmental Psychology, and the Journal of Marriage and Family.
From January 2013 to August 2014, Dr. Morrissey was on leave from AU serving as Senior Advisor for Human Services Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department 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.
Grants and Sponsored Research
Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison (US Department of Health and Human Services funds). Co-Principal Investigator (PI: Scott Allard). 2019-2020
Peter G. Peterson Foundation and the Ford Foundation, US 2050 Grant, Co-Principal Investigator (PI: Katie Vinopal). “Neighborhood Disadvantage and Children’s Cognitive Skill Trajectories,” 2018-2019 ($50,000)
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Award. (Team members: Nina Yamanis and Catalina Sol). 2017-2020
Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison (US Department of Health and Human Services funds). Co-Principal Investigator (PI: Sharon Wolf). 2017-2018
Metropolitan Policy Center, American University. "The Effects of Universal Early Childhood Education on Parental Time Use". Co-Principal Investigator (PI: Seth Gershenson). 2016-2017
University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, National Health Interview Survey Research Program. "Using Natural Experiments to Examine the Impacts of SNAP on Adult and Child Health." Co-Principal Investigator (PI: Daniel Miller). 2015-2016
Intergovernmental Personnel Agreement (IPA), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2013-2015
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
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
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
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
Chaudry, A., Morrissey, T., Weiland, C., & Yoshikawa, H. (2017). Cradle to Kindergarten: A new plan to combat inequality. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. https://www.russellsage.org/publications/cradle-kindergarten
Selected journal articles:
Morrissey, T. W., & Vinopal, A. (2018). Center-based early care and education and children's school readiness: Do impacts vary by neighborhood poverty? Developmental Psychology, 54(4), 757-771. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29154645
Morrissey, T. W., & Vinopal, A. (2018). Neighborhood poverty and children’s elementary school outcomes. Journal of Marriage and Family, 801(1), 182-197. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jomf.12430/abstract
Wolf, S., & Morrissey, T. W. (2017). Economic instability, food insecurity, and child health during and after the Great Recession. Social Service Review, 91(3), 534-570. http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/694111
Morrissey, T. W. (2017). Active shooter incidents and gun ownership and storage among families with young children in the United States. Preventive Medicine, 100, 50-55. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743517301214?via%3Dihub
Morrissey, T. W. (2017). Child care and parental labor force participation: A review of the research. Review of Economics of the Household, 15(1), 1-24. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11150-016-9331-3
Morrissey, T. W., Oellerich, D., Meade, E., Simms, J., & Stock, A. (2016). Neighborhood poverty and children’s food insecurity. Children and Youth Services Review, 66, 85-93. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740916301505
Morrissey, T. W. (2016). Parental depressive symptoms and gun, fire, and motor vehicle safety practices. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 20(4), 799-807.
Jacknowitz, A., & Morrissey, T. W., & Brannegan, A.* (2015). Food insecurity across the first five years: Triggers of onset and exit. Children and Youth Services Review, 53, 24-33.
Morrissey, T. W., Hutchison, L. A.*, & Winsler, A. (2014). Family income, school absences, and student achievement. Developmental Psychology, 50(3), 741-753.
Morrissey, T. W., Jacknowitz, A., & Vinopal, K.* (2014). Local food prices and their associations with children’s weight and food security. Pediatrics, 133(3), 422-430.
Morrissey, T. W. (2013). Trajectories of growth in body mass index across childhood: Associations with maternal and paternal employment. Social Science & Medicine, 95, 60-68.
Morrissey, T. W. (2012). Health reform and child health: Progress, cautions, and future directions. Child Development Perspectives, 6(2), 199-205.
Morrissey, T. W., Dunifon, R. E., & Kalil, A. (2011). Maternal employment, work schedules, and children’s body mass index. Child Development, 82(1), 66-81.
Honors, Awards, and Fellowships
Center for Health, Risk and Society (CHRS) Fellow Award, American University, 2019-2020
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Leader Award, 2017-2020
Institute for Research on Poverty Visiting Food Assistance Scholar, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013
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)
- Social policy and child development
- Child care, maternal employment, and work-family issues
- Health reform and child health
Area of Expertise
Impacts of public policy on child development; the impacts of public-and employer-supported child care on work/family balance; child care stability and children's development
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. From January 2013 - August 2014, Morrissey served as senior adviser to the deputy assistant secretary for Human Services Policy in the office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to joining AU's School of Public Affairs, 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. Morrissey is a co-author of Cradle to Kindergarten: A New Plan to Combat Inequality (Russell Sage, 2017).