Dr. Erin Lentz and Raj Patel: A Balanced, Food Systems Plan for the City of Austin

How does an urban city like Austin develop a food systems plan that enables economic development, environmental improvement, and public health– while balancing often-exclusionary concerns of elites? The City of Austin calls upon the graduate students of the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs, led by CHASP faculty associates Dr. Erin Lentz and Raj Patel, to engage in a Neighborhood Food Planning Process with a goal of developing Austin’s first Food System Strategic Plan. The City will use the team in piloting the program in North Central Austin to inform how to expand the Neighborhood Food System Planning process city-wide.

In the first year of this three-year Policy Research Project (PRP), the students in the study will begin to identify ways to support inclusivity in Austin’s Food System Strategic Plan. First, these students will identify and synthesize lessons learned from leading model cities across the US and beyond, about how to create and foster an environment in which bold citizen-driven transformations in the food system can happen. Prof. Erin Lentz emphasized, “…developing a toolkit for the City of Austin is the real goal.”

Second, students will work closely with City of Austin residents, civil society actors, local policymakers, and government officials to generate a tailored set of inclusive policy recommendations that are appropriate to Austin’s unique context. Edwin Marty, the City’s first Sustainable Food Policy Manager, has stressed that that the most vital step here is listening and reaching out to community members about their true needs and wants.

Future years’ topics for the PRP will be driven both by the City’s demands, and those of the City’s residents as revealed in the first year’s work.

UPDATE 3/15/16: Op-Ed in Austin American Statesman: A Word to FLOTUS: Let’s All Move

CHASP Brown Bag 3/2/16: Dean Angela Evans



Please join us Wednesday, March 2nd for the next CHASP faculty brown bag!

Dean Angela Evans
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
12:15pm-1:30pm in SRH 3.124
Lunch Provided
Limited Seating | Registration at chasp1516-evans.eventbrite.com

Transforming Research and Analysis to Action: Engagement Across the Academic and Political Divide

Dean Evans will discuss the current role evidence plays in bridging the gap that now exists between those who conduct research and those who use that research to inform policy deliberations. She will describe innovative approaches to build and sustain multidisciplinary networks to develop strategies for engaging policymakers, and to craft policy solutions that are innovative and administratively feasible.

Co-sponsored by GPAC

New LBJ Faculty and Reproductive Health Expert Abigail Aiken

headshot2Abigail Aiken is currently a postdoctoral research associate at the Office of Population Research at Princeton University. During the Fall 2014 semester, she was also a lecturer at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In Fall 2016, she will join the LBJ School as Assistant Professor of Public Affairs and new CHASP faculty associate.

Aiken’s research focuses on reproductive health and spans several disciplines, combining backgrounds in biomedical sciences, public policy, demography, public health. Her current projects include: examining women’s experiences obtaining safe abortion in contexts where legislative barriers prevent access through the healthcare system; evaluating programs and policies designed to increase access to contraception in the postpartum and post-abortion setting; and investigating the determinants and impacts of unintended pregnancies through a health equity and reproductive justice framework.

Aiken’s work has recently been published in the American Journal of Public Health, Social Science and Medicine, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Contraception, and the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, among others. Her research has also been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Society of Family Planning.

Most recently her paper, Factors Influencing the Likelihood of Instrumental Delivery Success, was cited by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Practice Bulletin 154 and named one of the top 5 articles in labor and delivery in 2014 by Obstetrics &  Gynecology.

In March 2016, Aiken will serve as a social science expert on abortion on the amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the case Whole Women’s Health versus Cole.



CFRP’s First Annual Texas Fatherhood Summit: Building the Evidence Base for Fatherhood Programs

CHASP Director Dr. Cynthia Osborne and her research group at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, the Child and Family Research Partnership, and the Texas DFPS’ Prevention and Early Intervention division hosted the first annual “Texas Fatherhood Summit: Building the Evidence Base for Fatherhood Programs” in Austin on February 3, 2016.

The Summit brought together hundreds of leading researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in the field of fatherhood to exchange ideas and assess the state of fatherhood programs in Texas and throughout the country.

National fatherhood expert Dr. Ronald Mincy, Director of the Center for Research on Fathers, Children and Family Well-Being and Social Policy Professor at Columbia University, was the keynote speaker and spoke about the importance of fathers in their children’s lives. Dr. Osborne and other top researchers around the country presented on what the current evidence says about fatherhood programs and the impact on future policy decisions. Fatherhood program providers also shared their work of supporting fathers on the ground in communities.

All event details and helpful links are at www.childandfamilyresearch.org/about/texas-fatherhood-summit-2016.

Angela Evans Named Dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs

We are so excited to announce that LBJ Professor and CHASP faculty associate Angela Evans has been named Dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs. She is a passionate advocate for the LBJ School, and we look forward to what future greatness comes to the department under her leadership. Her first day as Dean will be January 16, 2016. We also thank Robert Wilson for his service as Interim Dean during the transition.

President Fenves announced to the University community today:

“Angela is the right person to lead the LBJ School. Her deep knowledge of the school provides a strong basis for increasing its impact by educating public affairs leaders through scholarship and research in domestic and international affairs.  I am especially excited about her ideas for growing the presence of the LBJ School in Washington, D.C.

Following a long and impressive career of public service to the U.S. Congress, including 13 years as the deputy director of the Congressional Research Service, Angela joined the LBJ School as a clinical professor in 2009. Her years of working directly with members of Congress and their staffs on major legislative deliberations, and supporting them as they confronted our nation’s critical and complex policy problems, offer a unique balance of insight and expertise that will benefit our students, faculty and campus leadership. During her time as deputy director, Angela was recognized for leading major organizational changes that enhanced the research capacity of the Congressional Research Service, as well as improved operations and infrastructure.

While at UT, Angela has earned teaching accolades at the LBJ School and has been the recipient of the Texas Exes Teaching Award. She also has been awarded research grants, including ones from the National Science Foundation and the Dirksen Congressional Center.

Angela continues to be active in the public policy arena, serving as a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. She also has recently served as the president of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management and on the governing board of the Network for Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration.

Congratulations again to our colleague for the much deserved appointment.

More about Angela Evans.

New Interdisciplinary Roundtable Series with UT Austin Experts


The University of Texas at Austin is home to some of the world’s leading scholars. What starts here really does change the world. The impact of their scholarship, however, can be much greater through collaboration across campus and between campus and the larger policy world.

To facilitate and increase collaboration, the Center for Health and Social Policy (CHASP) at the LBJ School of Public Affairs created the new Research to Practice (R2P) Roundtable initiative. Through R2P, CHASP convenes a top policymaker with a select number of faculty and senior researchers at UT Austin whose research is aligned with the social policy issue. The policymakers share their top policy priorities and the group discusses current and potential research that could enhance their goals. Each R2P event explores a different policy area of focus.

CHASP Director Dr. Cynthia Osborne said, “I’m passionate about bridging rigorous research to real world policy. It’s the basis of my work through my child and family research group, and having the opportunity to expand the concept to even more social policy issues and connect high level policymakers directly with scholars is fantastic.”

The inaugural R2P Roundtable was held in October on the topic of child welfare policy with Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Commissioner John Specia, Jr., well-known former judge and authority in family law, foster care, and Child Protective Services cases. The event was a resounding success and very well received by all parties. The University of Texas at Austin participants included experts from the College of Education, College of Natural Sciences, School of Social Work, the Population Research Center, and the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

The next R2P Roundtable will be held in the spring of 2016. Please contact chasp@austin.utexas.edu with any questions.

CHASP at the 2015 APPAM Fall Research Conference

The APPAM Fall Research Conference, the key conference of the year for policy researchers from around the world, is next week in Miami. Attendees convene to both present and learn about research on current and emerging policy and management issues from 14 different policy areas. This year’s conference program is centered around the theme, “The Golden Age of Evidence-Based Policy.”

CHASP director Cynthia Osborne and faculty associates Angela Evans and Paul von Hippel are participating throughout the conference:

  • Angela Evans will be finishing her term as APPAM Past President as well as moderating roundtable, “Transforming Research and Analysis to Action: Engagement Across the Academic and Policy Divide” (11/12/15, 10:15am) and chairing panel “Getting Research Used in Government” (11/14/15, 8:30am).
  • Cynthia Osborne will be presenting papers “Engaging Fathers: Expanding the Scope of Evidence-Based Home Visiting Programs” (11/12/15, 8:30am), “Challenges of Serving and Retaining High-Risk Families in Evidence-Based Home Visiting Programs” (11/12/15, 10:15am), and “Exploring the Role of Fathers’ Birth Presence in Mothers’ Mental Health Outcomes” (11/14/15, 8:30am)
  • Paul von Hippel will be presenting paper, “Seeking Exceptional Teacher Preparation Programs Among Many Noisy Estimates: The Danger of Being Fooled By Randomness,” (11/12/15, 1:45pm; co-authored with Cynthia Osborne) and participating on panels “Supporting K-12 and College Students Academically and Financially” (11/13/15, 8:30am) and “Examining the New Teacher Contract: Compensation and Retention in the Context of Waning Union Power” (11/13/15, 10:15am).

Click for detailed conference schedule.

Angela Evans Receives $300,000 Grant from the National Science Foundation


AngelaEvans_cropwebThere is far-reaching agreement that deep gaps exist between those who generate new scientific knowledge and those who could use that knowledge to formulate and execute social policies.  Despite this consensus, little has been done to strengthen the exchange between academic and policymaking communities, resulting in serendipitous relationships that are often fraught with challenges, and unsustainable over time.

The National Science Foundation recently awarded CHASP faculty associate Angela Evans an EAGER Grant of $300,000 to explore how training protocols supported by NSF and targeted at research scientists in the hard sciences, technology, engineering and medicine might be beneficial to social and behavioral scientists as well.

The ultimate aim of this year-long work is to enhance the exchange of expertise, ideas, and discoveries between the academic research communities and the nonprofit and public sectors. The work undertaken by this grant will create replicable methodologies and training protocols that will allow scientists to build appropriate skills, and to practice successful approaches, to share knowledge and expertise with their policy and nonprofit counterparts.

It is the aim of this grant to help social and behavioral scientist to build partnerships with relevant policy stakeholders early in their research design process to further enhance the potential usefulness and sustainability of their work. Widespread adoption of such a curriculum by a variety of funding sources (e.g. nonprofit, governmental entities, and private foundations) could result in a new orientation for social science researchers – one that is sensitive to the practical challenges faced by policymakers and community stakeholders.

Click for more about Angela Evans and her EAGER Grant Award.

Dean Robert Wilson and CHASP Director Cynthia Osborne at Book Launch in DC

LBJ’s Neglected Legacy: How Lyndon Johnson Reshaped Domestic Policy and Government

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars with the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin and the LBJ Washington Center

October 23, 2015


The LBJ School of Public Affairs’ Dean Robert Wilson and CFRP and CHASP Director Cynthia Osborne are in DC today at the launch event of new book, “LBJ’s Neglected Legacy: How Lyndon Johnson Researched Domestic Policy and Government.”

Dean Robert Wilson is co-editor with Norman Glickman and Laurence Lynn Jr. Cynthia Osborne wrote chapter “LBJ’s Legacy in Contemporary Social Welfare Policy: Have We Come Full Circle?”



(Photos: LBJ Washington Center)