Deborah Temkin Cahill

Chief Research Officer

Research Focus

Education & certification

PhD, Human Development and Family Studies, M.A., Education Theory and Policy; M.S., Human Development and Family Studies; Pennsylvania State University

Deborah Temkin Cahill

Chief Research Officer, Bethesda, MD

Deborah Temkin Cahill, PhD, is a recognized leader in the fields of school climate, school safety, and school health. Dr. Temkin Cahill aims to use quality research to inform policy and practice to improve conditions for learning so that all students can thrive. Versed in the latest evaluation and statistical methodology, Dr. Temkin Cahill has extensive experience conducting research as well as compiling and translating research for policymakers and the general public. She is frequently called upon to provide her expertise, including through testimony to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and through media interviews with The Washington PostPolitico, CNN, Education Week, U.S. News and World Report, USA Today, the 74 Million, and other publications.

Currently, Dr. Temkin Cahill serves as the deputy chief operating officer and vice president for youth development and education research at Child Trends. In this role, Dr. Temkin Cahill oversees the work of over 40 researchers investigating the policies, programs, and practices that support the healthy development of youth across all contexts where they live and learn. Dr. Temkin Cahill also serves as the co-chair of Child Trends’ Institutional Review Board (IRB), which ensures protections for human subjects across all of Child Trends’ research projects.

Since joining Child Trends in 2014, Dr. Temkin Cahill’s research agenda has focused on the intersections between education policy and healthy social and emotional development. As part of this work, Dr. Temkin Cahill co-leads the policy analysis and development arm of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Together for Healthy and Successful Schools Initiative, which aims to document and inform state policies across all components of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child framework developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The resulting analyses help inform the National Association of State Boards of Education’s State Policy Database on School Health.

Dr. Temkin Cahill has also led several large-scale, school-based evaluations including: a $3.8 million four-year evaluation of the Safe School Certification Program in DC public and public charter schools funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Comprehensive School Safety Initiative; a multi-year evaluation of school start time changes funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and a retrospective evaluation of the DC Healthy Schools Act under contract with the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education. With funding from the Arcus Foundation, Dr. Temkin Cahill also led a study to develop and validate measures of sexual orientation and gender identity for use with middle and high school students. She also serves as a senior advisor to Child Trends’ work on the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Safe Supportive Learning Environments, the Title IV Part-A Technical Assistance Center, and the CDC’s Leadership Exchange for Adolescent Health Promotion.

Prior to Child Trends, Dr. Temkin Cahill led the Federal Initiative on Bullying Prevention and was a finalist for the 2012 Call to Service Medal of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals. She played a major role in creating and coordinated the 2011 White House Conference on Bullying, among other initiatives.