Shadi Houshyar is a Senior Associate at the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), where she is focused on equity-driven policies to support young children and families and with a primary focus on child health, childhood trauma, toxic stress, and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). At CSSP, Shadi has overseen the successful implementation of a universal pediatric intervention for infants, birth to six months, aimed at promoting protective factors, addressing social determinants of health, and enhancing parent agency as part of community approaches to preventing and mitigating toxic stress. Shadi has deep expertise in advancing equity through public policy both legislatively and administratively at the local, state, and federal level.
Prior to joining CSSP, she served as the Director of Early Childhood and Child Welfare Initiatives at Families USA. In this role, Shadi led policy development on the national and state-level for policies to promote the healthy development of children, including preventing and mitigating ACEs, ensuring access to trauma-informed care, and promoting resiliency in young children and families. Shadi also has experience working on federal child welfare policy, with a focus on identifying opportunities to address the health and behavioral health challenges of children and youth impacted by the child welfare system. This includes serving as Vice President for Child Welfare Policy at First Focus, a national bi-partisan children’s advocacy organization. She was also directed First Focus’s State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center (SPARC), a national resource center for state-based advocates, aimed at improving outcomes for children and families involved with the child welfare system by building the capacity of, and connections between, state child welfare advocates. Shadi has also served as a fellow of the Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale and as an AAAS/SRCD Congressional Fellow for Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), working on health, education, and disability policy and other issues within the jurisdiction of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Shadi received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Yale University.