Professor, Public Administration and International Affairs
Aging Studies Institute
Senior Research Associate, Center for Policy Research
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2002
Social policy, poverty policy, child and family policy
Colleen Heflin is a Professor of Public
Administration and International Affairs and a Senior Research Associate in
the Center for Policy Research. Dr. Heflin conducts policy-relevant research
that sits at the boundaries of sociology, economics, public health, public
administration, and women’s studies. The broad aim of her research is to
understand the processes that create systems and patterns of social
stratification and, more specifically, to examine welfare policy and the
well-being of vulnerable populations, with a particular emphasis on the causes
and consequences of material hardship. In a recent project, Dr. Heflin analyzed
how specific shocks to family stability, such as unemployment or becoming
disabled, lead to particular kinds of material hardship, such as medical or
housing hardship. Other recent projects have examined how the population using
food stamps and unemployment insurance has changed with the Great Recession;
how the experience of material hardship affects couples’ decisions to marry;
how children’s participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC),
and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) affects their households’
overall food insecurity; and how veterans’ well-being and social program
participation compares to that of other groups. Colleen received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan in 2002. Full Biography
Research Grants and Awards
Co-Principal Investigator. “Food insecurity and chronic diseases in low-income older Americans: The role of SNAP receipt in medication underuse,” with Irma Artega, Leslie Hodges and Chinedum Ojinnaka. Funded by University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research. 2020-2022.
Principle Investigator. "Changing patterns of eligibility and take up in SNAP and the role of out of pocket medical expenses (OOPM)." Funded by University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research. 2020-2022.
Principle Investigator. "Hunger SNAPS: Food Insecurity Among Older Adults," collaboration with Madonna Harrington Meyer. Funded by Russell Sage Foundation. 2020-2022.
Principle Investigator. "Employment Instability As a Barrier to Childcare," with Co-PI Taryn Morrissey. Funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 2020-2021.
Principal Investigator. "Snap Uptake and School Readiness in Virginia," with Michah Rothbart. Funded by the Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. 2018-2020.
Principal Investigator. “Creating Evidence-Based Strategies to Address Administrative Churn in SNAP," with Len Lopoo, Co-Principal Investigator, and in partnership with the Maxwell X Lab. Funded by the Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. 2018-2020.