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Mailman School of Public Health Names New Director for National Center for Children in Povety

NEW YORK, July 7, 2004 — Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health today announced that Dr. Jane Knitzer, clinical professor of population and family health, has been named the new director of the School’s National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP). Dr. Knitzer, who is known for her policy research on low-income and vulnerable children, has been leading NCCP as acting director since August 2003.

The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy organization whose mission is to identify and promote strategies that prevent child poverty in the United States and that improve the lives of low-income children and families.

NCCP has developed a national reputation for policy analysis, academic research, and demographic statistics. Concentrating on the links between family economic security and child development, the organization focuses on policies that promote three goals: economically secure families, children entering school ready to succeed, and stable, nurturing families.

“I am greatly honored to have been chosen to lead NCCP,” said Dr. Knitzer. “I am pleased with what the staff has accomplished this past year and I look forward to what we can achieve going forward.

“These are very challenging times,” she added. “NCCP has a proud track record of using research to improve policy and practice on behalf of America’s 26 million children growing up in low-income families. As resources shrink and the policy context becomes more polarized there is an urgent need to provide policymakers with information that they can use. NCCP is uniquely qualified for such a challenge and I’m happy to be part of its future.”

Jane Knitzer, who has been with NCCP since 1994, is the third director of the organization, following Lawrence Aber, who assumed a new faculty position at New York University last year, and Judith Jones, who founded the Center in 1989 and currently directs the national program office of Free to Grow.

“Jane Knitzer is a national leader in the field of child development. Her work in child welfare and child mental health systems has literally put the issues on the map and has helped to set a national agenda,” stated Allan Rosenfield, MD, dean of the Mailman School of Public Health. He added, “Since its inception nearly 15 years ago, NCCP has played a key role in analyzing the critical factors that influence the health of poor children in the U.S. The Center’s work—translating important research to affect policy—remains critical. NCCP has been fortunate to have had two outstanding previous leaders, in Judy Jones and Larry Aber, and Jane has the exceptional vision, passion, and scholarly depth to lead the Center forward.”

A much sought-after speaker, Dr. Knitzer is especially well known for her work on children’s mental health, particularly two ground-breaking policy reports, Unclaimed Children: The Failure of Public Responsibility to Children and Adolescents in Need of Mental Health Services and At the School House Door: An Examination of Programs and Policies for Children with Behavioral and Emotional Problems. Her work at NCCP has included spearheading two policy series: Promoting the Emotional Well-Being of Children and Families and Map and Track: State Initiatives for Young Children and Families.

Dr. Knitzer has both Master’s and Doctorate degrees from Harvard Graduate School of Education and did post-doctoral work in community psychology at Albert Einstein School of Medicine. Dr. Knitzer has been on the faculty at Cornell University, New York University, and Bank Street College of Education. She is the recipient of the first Nicolas Hobbs Award for Distinguished Service in the Cause of Child Advocacy from the American Psychological Association. She is a past president of Division 37, Child, Youth, and Family Services of the American Psychological Association, and of the American Association of Orthopsychiatry. Currently, Dr. Knitzer serves on the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children and is a member of the Family Support America Board.

About the Mailman School of Public Health
The only accredited school of public health in New York City, and among the first in the nation, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health provides instruction and research opportunities to more than 850 graduate students in pursuit of masters and doctoral degrees. Its students and 250 multi-disciplinary faculty engage in research and service in the city, nation, and around the world, concentrating on biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health policy and management, population and family health, and sociomedical sciences.