Professor, Public Administration and International Affairs
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. She has recently received funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services through the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin to explore how child support benefits interact with other social programs in Virginia with Dr. Len Lopoo.
Heflin’s research has appeared in leading journals such as the American Sociological
Review, Social Problems,
the Journal of Health and
Social Behavior, and the Journal of Policy Analysis & Management. In 2014, her paper on community social capital
was awarded the W. Richard Scott Award for Distinguished Scholarship from the
American Sociological Association. Dr. Heflin’s research has been funded by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Arteaga, Irma, Colleen Heflin, and Sarah Parsons. “Design Flaws: Consequences of the Coverage Gap in Food Programs on Children at Kindergarten Entry.” (Forthcoming) in Applied Economics Perspectives and Policy.
Heflin, Colleen and Ashley Price. “Emergency Food Assistance and the Great Recession.” (Forthcoming) in Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition. DOI: 10.1080/19320248.2018.1434099
Ying Huang, Stephanie Potochnick, and Colleen Heflin. "Household Food Insecurity and Early Childhood Health and Cognitive Development among Children of Immigrants." Journal of Family Issues. Vol 39(6): 1465–1497. First Published May 26, 2017.
Heflin, Colleen. 2017. "The Role of Social Positioning in Observed Patterns of Material Hardship: New Evidence from the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation." Social Problem. spw041. doi: 10.1093/socpro/spw041.
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.