Dana Thomson

Senior Research Scientist II

Research Focus

Education & certification

PhD, Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology, Boston College, MS, Education, Northwestern University

Dana Thomson

Senior Research Scientist II, Boston, MA

Dana Thomson, PhD, is an expert in child poverty, economic mobility, and family resilience. Dr. Thomson’s work strives to elevate the diversity of experiences among families who face economic hardship and other forms of adversity, to identify and remove barriers to their ability to access needed supports, and to improve equitable access to effective policies and programs.

Dr. Thomson’s most recent work, Lessons from a Historic Decline in Child Poverty, investigates the economic, demographic, and policy forces that led to a nearly 60 percent reduction in child poverty over the last quarter century. She also led a series of studies on racial and ethnic disparities in access to income support programs, and on the impact of state-level Earned Income Tax Credit policies and practices on uptake among Hispanic families with young children. In other recent work, Dr. Thomson has provided training and technical assistance on supporting family economic mobility for Head Start staff in coordination with the National Center for Parent, Family, and Community Engagement, and has supported research and policy efforts to ensure equitable access to early care and education from a family-centered perspective.

Dr. Thomson’s expertise encompasses both mixed-methods evaluation and advanced quantitative methods, the latter of which include structural equation modeling, growth curve analyses, and econometric methods such as fixed-effect estimations, difference-in-difference modeling, and causal inference analyses. 

An array of media outlets have featured Dr. Thomson and her work, including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, PBS NewsHour, NPR’s Planet Money, POLITICO, The Hill, Axios, The Philadelphia Inquirer, CNN, and other media outlets. She has published in peer-reviewed journals that include Health Affairs, Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, and Journal of Children and Poverty. Policymakers and practitioners rely on her research to develop policies that support the well-being of children and their families.