Elizabeth Villegas, PhD, is a research scientist in Child Trend’s early childhood program area. Dr. Villegas is an interdisciplinary scientist who researches culturally and linguistically diverse populations and how their experiences impact health, education, and wellbeing. More specifically, she has numerous years of experience conducting applied community-based research focused on socio-emotional development, health, mental health, racial and ethnic disparities, cultural and linguistic diversity, and sociological issues. Dr. Villegas is a bilingual and bicultural team member, and she supports the development, implementation, and translation of data collection materials tailored toward Hispanic families and children. Dr. Villegas served as the project director for several projects focused on health promotion efforts in Migrant and Seasonal Head Start for staff, parents, and children (NORC, University of Chicago). Furthermore, she has worked on OPRE projects to understand state and Tribal Child Care and Development Fund efforts to support families to select child care that best fits their needs.
In graduate school, Dr. Villegas served as a research associate and team manager for a Multi-State Evaluation project called “Abriendo Caminos,” a five-year, $3.5 million project funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. The project involved designing and evaluating a health promotion intervention tailored for Hispanic populations providing real-time feedback.
Dr. Villegas earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology, and her master’s degree and doctorate in Human Development and Family Studies all from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.