Steering Committee Member Profile: Kerri Raissian


Kerri Raissian is an Assistant Professor in the UConn Department of Public Policy who studies policies that relate to kids and the family. She has a particular interest in policies designed to reduce family violence, either between parents/adults or directed towards children. The interest stems from her background volunteering with victims and managing a domestic violence shelter; her focus on policy originates from the realization that policies weren’t always clear cut or helpful to families.

“I wanted to figure out a way to measure and estimate if a policy actually helps people on average… whether or not they make people better off in the way that they intended to do,” says Raissian. Her current research looks at differential response policies—that is, policies adopted by child protective service agencies that are meant to help get early intervention for a family that is at risk for abuse or maltreatment of their children.

Involvement with CSCH

Raissian says she was drawn to serve as a steering committee member of CSCH because of the idea of looking at kids, families, communities, and schools holistically. “We need to think big and not in our individual siloes or within our individual research agendas. There are lots of synergies and ways that one policy affects lots of different decision points in a family’s thinking…these policies and programs we have in place that involve schools don’t just stop and end with schools, they really branch out in lots of ways.”

The Collaboratory “is just a really cool place to brainstorm research,” says Raissian. “The agenda is unlike other places where people might connect their research. There isn’t an agenda outside of thinking about how all these things connect together. That connectivity is what’s exciting about the Collaboratory.”

Raissian urges any researcher or community to become involved in CSCH if they have an interest in school and child health. “Many would say there is no better investment than our kids. I would say there is no better investment than learning how to truly help our kids. The CSCH aims to figure out which investments are wise to make to truly help kids.

Fun Fact

Raissian is from Texas and is a Longhorn fan. She also loves square dancing and has an early morning gym addiction.