Penn Consultants

Consultants to the University of Pennsylvania.

Harold Alderman

Harold Alderman, with both a master’s degree in nutrition (Cornell) and a Ph.D. in economics (Harvard), has naturally gravitated to research on the economics of nutrition and food policy. He spent 10 years at the IFPRI prior to joining the World Bank in 1991. He rejoined IFPRI in 2012. While at the World Bank, he divided his time between the Development Research Group and the Africa region where he advised on social protection policy. His current research has focused on the linkages between nutrition and early child development and the means by which nutrition and social protection programs contribute to long term economic growth.

Afua Appiah-Yeboah

Afua Appiah-Yeboah (PhD in Demography and MPH in Health Behaviors and Education) is a research and evaluation scientist who is skilled in quantitative and qualitative analysis. Her research largely focuses on children’s human capital in developing countries. As a consultant to the GCC project, she is conducting research that determines the health-wealth gradient in children’s nutritional outcomes in rural Malawi. Other research includes an investigation of the role of maternal social capital on children’s educational outcomes, and an investigation of the association between smallholder farm subsidies and changes in household wealth. Dr. Appiah-Yeboah has conducted program evaluations and survey projects for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other organizations. As a CDC-Michigan Population Fellow, she carried out a population-based demographic and reproductive health survey for Zimbabwean ministry of health. As a Population Council consultant, she collaborated with the Navrongo Health Research Center in Ghana to develop social and livelihood interventions for a USAID-funded project to reduce female circumcision in northern Ghana. Her research work is motivated by a passion for building evidence based health policies and programs in developing countries, especially within Africa.

Nazlı Baydar

Julia Behrman

Julia Behrman is currently pursuing a PhD in Sociology at New York University. She served as a Research Analyst on the "strengthening women's assets for better development outcomes research program" at the International Food Policy Research Institute from 2009 to 2012. She holds an MSc from the London School of Economics.

David Bravo

Pia Rebello Britto

Pia Rebello Britto, Ph.D., Senior Advisor, Early Childhood Development, UNICEF, is known internationally for her work in the area of translation of early childhood evidence for policy and programs. She has worked in over 40 low and middle income countries fordeveloping integrated systems and policies for early childhood. In particular, she has investigated the role of governance and finance of national systems in achieving equity, access and quality. Dr. Britto has also been involved in several early intervention program evaluations in Africa and Asia. Other aspects of her international work include the conceptualization of a measurement model for quality early childhood services, and measuring and implementing the school readiness paradigm and understanding the best modalities to support parenting. Most recently, Dr. Britto is involved in research that is examining the relationship between early childhood and peace building. Dr. Britto obtained her doctoral degree in developmental psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University and prior to joining UNICEF she was an Assistant Professor at Yale University. She is the recipient of several national and international grants and awards in recognition for her work and has published numerous books, articles, chapters and reports.

Benjamin T. Crookston

Benjamin Crookston, PhD, MPH is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Science at Brigham Young University. He is a consultant for the GCC project consortium focusing on post-infancy growth, early childhood development, and cognition. Over the past nine years he has conducted research addressing maternal and child health challenges in a number of low-income settings. He is currently a co-investigator on the Young Lives Determinants and Consequences of Child Growth Project, which has received support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and Grand Challenges Canada to further investigate child growth in Peru, Ethiopia, India and Vietnam. Other examples of recent research include the consequences of paternal absence on childhood nutrition in Peru, drinking water quality in Ghana, microfinance and health among adolescent girls in India, hygiene promotion in South Africa, asymptomatic malaria and stunting in Ghana, and folic acid supplementation in Peru. He has worked with a variety of research and non-governmental organizations in Cambodia, Ghana, India, Mexico, Nepal, Peru, Senegal, South Africa and the United States carrying out research and promoting child health. Dr. Crookston also teaches courses on international health and research methods.

Kirk Dearden

For the past 17 years, Dr. Dearden has provided technical assistance to not-for-profit institutions to help them evaluate and improve upon the delivery of health services. For the first 12 years of his career, Dr. Dearden worked as senior research and evaluation specialist at the Academy for Educational Development, Johns Hopkins University, Save the Children, and the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh. More recently, he spent 5 years as a faculty member at Brigham Young University. Dr. Dearden continues to consult on applied research with the Academy for Educational Development, Save the Children/US, Freedom from Hunger, USAID and the World Health Organization among others. He has worked short- and long-term on development projects in Africa (Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya and Mali), Asia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Georgia, India, Jordan, Moldova, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam and West Bank/Gaza) and Latin America (Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico and Nicaragua). Dr. Dearden's research interests include the use of epidemiology and qualitative methods, program strategies designed to improve health and well-being, maternal and neo-natal health, malaria, acute respiratory infections, malnutrition in children less than 5 years of age and adolescent health.

Lia C. H. Fernald

Lia Fernald, Ph.D., MBA is Associate Professor in Community Health and Human Development at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a consultant for the GCC project consortium focusing on measures of child development.  Dr. Fernald’s work has focused primarily on how inequalities in socio-economic position contribute to growth and developmental outcomes in mothers, infants and children, and on how interventions can address socio-economic and health disparities.  Much of her work for the past decade has centered on looking at the effects of interventions (e.g. conditional cash transfer programs, parenting programs, microcredit interventions, and community-based nutrition interventions) on child development and maternal mental health, particularly focused on low- and middle-income countries.  Dr. Fernald has published over 70 academic articles and book chapters in journals such as the Lancet, Pediatrics, International Journal of Epidemiology, Journal of Health Economics, Social Science and Medicine, American Journal of Public Health, and Developmental Science.  For the past several years, she has acted as an NIH Study Section reviewer for the Social Science and Population Studies Panel, as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation, and was selected as a member of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Experience-Based Brain and Biological Development Program.  She is also Associate Editor for Public Health Nutrition. 

Andrew S. Griffen

Pınar Mine Güneş

Pınar Mine Güneş (B.A. in Economics, Bogazici University; M.S. in AREC, University of Arizona) is a Ph.D. candidate in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is also a research affiliate at the Maryland Population Research Center, a consultant on the U Penn component of the GCC consortium, and a consultant for the Africa Region Gender Practice at the World Bank. Her research is in the area of development economics with an emphasis on program evaluation, education, health, and labor and demographic economics. She has experience in evaluating various public policies in a number of countries, including Georgia, Turkey, and the United States, and several African countries. Her current research examines the impact of female education, and mechanisms through which female education has its effects, on fertility and infant health, as well as the effects of teenage childbearing on maternal health. Recently, she is involved in the evaluation of the Adolescent Girls Initiative (AGI) program in Africa. She has presented her work at economics, development economics, and population conferences.

John Hoddinott

John Hoddinott (D.Phil. in Economics, Oxford, 1989) is Deputy Director, Poverty Health and Nutrition Division, International Food Policy Research Institute based in Washington DC. Before joining IFPRI he held university appointments in Canada and the United Kingdom, including a University Lectureship in Economics and Fellowship at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford. He is a consultant on the University of Pennsylvania component of the GCC project consortium. His principal research interest lies in the microeconometric analysis of issues in development economics, particularly the causes and consequences of poverty, food insecurity and undernutrition, and the design and evaluation of interventions that would reduce these. He has published over 100 professional articles, book chapters and books (in leading general and field economic journals as well as demographic, nutritional and biomedical journals), has been a research consultant with all major international development donors, and has undertaken professional research or lecturing in over 30 countries. Research honors including receipt of prizes for outstanding research from the American Association of Agricultural Economists and the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research Centres.

Sue Horton

Sue Horton (PhD Harvard, BA Cambridge, both in economics) is CIGI Chair in Global Health Economics at the University of Waterloo, and is a consultant on the U Penn component of the GCC consortium. She works on economics of nutrition, public health, labour markets, household time allocation, women's work, poverty, and policy evaluation, primarily in low and middle income countries.  She has published more than 100 journal articles, book chapters and technical reports, and 5 books.  She has served as a consultant to at least a dozen international organizations, and has conducted professional research or lectured in almost 40 countries, three quarters of these in low and middle income countries. 

Çiğdem Kağitçıbaşı

Çiğdem Kağitçıbaşı (B.A. Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA; Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, USA) is a professor of psychology and former Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey Professor Kagitcibasi has served on the Executive Committees of the International Social Science Council and the International Union of Psychological Science since, also as Vice President. She is a Past President of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology and the Turkish Psychological Association. She is one of the first ten elected founding members of the Turkish Academy of Sciences. She was a visiting scholar at the University of California (Berkeley), Columbia, Duke and Harvard Universities and was twice a fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study.

John Maluccio

John A. Maluccio (Ph.D. in Economics, Yale University, 1997) is associate professor of Economics at Middlebury College and a consultant on the Penn grant). His research interests lie in the microeconometric analysis of issues in development economics, particularly the determinants of health and education, program evaluation, and the long-term consequences of early childhood malnutrition and poverty. He has experience in the collection and analysis of longitudinal data from a number of countries including Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua, and South Africa, much of this gained prior to coming to Middlebury, when he was a research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Sergio Urzúa Soza

Jan van Ravens

Jan van Ravens’ present area of work is the development of strategies and scenarios to expand and improve early childhood services in low and middle income countries*. The emphasis is on policy development, planning and finance. Scientific evidence is being used for political breakthroughs. Partners include international organizations such as UNICEF, World Bank, UNESCO and Aga Khan Foundation, as well as ministries and civil society organizations in the countries. His mission is (i) to draw lessons from these country projects; (ii) to develop tools and methodologies; and eventually (iii) to arrive at more general recommendations for consensus building and policy development in early childhood development. His former positions include (i) Senior Policy Analyst in a UNESCO-based team that issues the annual Education for All Global Monitoring Reports, (ii) Head of Multilateral Affairs in the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and (iii) Policy Coordinator for Higher Education and Lifelong Learning in the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs. Having participated in OECD- and EU-networks, Jan sees international comparison as an important means to understand and improve the functioning of education, health and other public service systems.