Alison McClay

Research Scientist I

Research Focus

Education & certification

MPH, Maternal and Child Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Alison McClay

Research Scientist I, Bethesda, MD

Alison McClay, MPH, is a research scientist in Child Trends’ youth development and sexual and reproductive health research areas who is passionate about applied, multidisciplinary research that supports and promotes optimal adolescent health. Alison’s passion is driven by her direct service experience as a middle school math teacher, volunteer community health and sexual violence prevention educator, college resident assistant, and out-of-school time practitioner. 

Alison’s research has included a multi-year, national evaluation of the YMCA of the USA’s national character development initiative; the ongoing evaluation of El Camino, a sexual health promotion program for Latino adolescents; and an examination of how lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic in communities with MIECHV-funded home visiting programs can help us understand the role of home visiting in advancing health equity 

Alison has rigorous training in quantitative and evaluation methods, but her work at Child Trends increasingly focuses on the effective use of mixed methods data to understand program impacts. She is also committed to helping practitioners learn about and use up-to-date research findings and identify ways to incorporate and better use data in their continuous quality improvement efforts. Her technical assistance portfolio includes one-on-one and small group engagement with practitioners, webinars and training, peer learning, resource development, and conference planning. 

Alison has published in peer-reviewed journals and has written for the federal government, the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families, and Child Trends. She has presented at FYSB’s Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Grantee Conference and the Healthy Teen Network Conference, among others, and via webinars for practitioners 

Alison holds a Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Appalachian State University. Outside of work, Alison can be found frequenting her neighborhood farmers market and indie bookstore or attending a concert.