Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Noted Public Policy Expert Joins National Child Poverty Center
Sociologist Heather Koball brings extensive expertise in disconnected youth and immigration issues to lead the National Center for Children in Poverty’s family economic security portfolio

Heather Koball

Figure 1: Heather Koball

NEW YORK, NY – The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has named youth and immigration policy expert Heather Koball, PhD, to head its Family Economic Security team. Dr. Koball, whose prior work includes a stint as a senior fellow in the Urban Institute’s Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population and as a senior researcher at Mathematica Policy Research, will lead NCCP’s research and policy agenda for advancing economic mobility for low-income families. NCCP is a leading public policy research center dedicated to promoting the economic security, healthy development, and well-being of America’s low-income children and their families.

“We’re excited that Heather is returning to the center to advance this work,” said NCCP Director Renée Wilson-Simmons, adding that Dr. Koball was a senior research associate at the center from 2002 to 2006.  “Her background as a sociologist, her expertise as a researcher, and her deep knowledge of state and federal programs and policies that affect low-income families fit perfectly within our priorities.”
Dr. Koball has led a range of implementation and impact studies that have examined such diverse issues as the well-being of children whose families have been affected by immigration enforcement, survival strategies adopted by families living in poverty who aren’t supported by anti-poverty programs, and interventions to improve the employment outcomes of disconnected youth. 

“I’m thrilled to be returning to NCCP after a decade,” said Dr. Koball. “NCCP continues to play an important role in policy conversations by producing high-quality research with the mission of supporting low-income families. As FES director, I’m eager to continue NCCP’s research on key issues such as family leave bills and state benefit policies. I look forward to expanding NCCP’s research into issues that increasingly are on the forefront of policy discussions, including support for immigrant families and for youth who are disconnected from education and employment.” 

Dr. Koball earned her PhD in sociology from Brown University and her master’s degree in statistics at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Included among her publication credits are “Moving Up in Rural America: Socioeconomic Integration of Latino Immigrants in the United States” in Rural Sociology, “Living Arrangements and School Dropout among Minor Mothers Following Welfare Reform” in Social Science Quarterly, and “Childhood Poverty” In Early Childhood Education: An International Encyclopedia.