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 at
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
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 U.S Department of Agriculture, 2018-2020.
Principal Investigator. "Snap Uptake and School Readiness in Virginia," with Michah Rothbart. Funded by USDA Department of Agriculture, 2018-2020.
Principal Investigator. “Does Child Support Increase Self-Sufficiency?: Evidence from Virginia,” with Len Lopoo, Co-Principal Investigator. Funded by the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP)’s Extramural Small Grants program for Research, 2018-2019.
Principal Investigator. "Understanding SNAP and Food Security Among Low-Income Households.”Funded by the University of Kentucky and United States Department of Agriculture, 2017- 2018.
Principal Investigator. "SNAP and Child Health: Evidence from Missouri Administrative Data," with Peter Mueser and Irma Arteaga, Co-Investigators. Funded by the Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, 2016–2018.
Co-Principal Investigator. "Understanding SNAP and Food Security among Low-Income Households," with James P. Ziliak, Co-Principal Investigator. Funded by the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research; Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, 2015–2018.
Principal Investigator. "Family Self-Sufficiency and Stability and Material Hardship: The Role for Public Policy after the Great Recession." Funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, 2013–2018.
Principal Investigator. "Community Eligibility and Child Well-Being," with Daniel P. Miller, Co-Principal Investigator. Funded by the Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics (RIDGE) Center for Targeted Studies at the Southern Rural Development Center, Mississippi State University, 2015–2016.