Sara Anderson is a senior research scientist in early childhood at Child Trends. Her research aims to improve the lives of children and families through applied policy research. For 10 years, she has been conducting research on contexts (neighborhoods and schools) and policies (pre-K and child care) that support children from diverse backgrounds. Her work has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals including Child Development and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.
Dr. Anderson is a Fellow of the Robert Wood Johnson Interdisciplinary Research Leadership program (2019-2021) and co-leads a community-based participatory research project on school-based health centers in rural West Virginia. This work will inform approaches to delivering health care to children and families in rural areas of the US. She also is a co-principal investigator on the high school follow-up of the Tulsa, OK pre-K program, one of the longest running studies of a school-based pre-K program. Dr. Anderson has expertise in quasi-experimental methods, latent class analyses, and growth modeling.
Much of her current work focuses on early childhood programs (such as home visiting and child care) in rural areas of the US. Children and families living in rural contexts face additional challenges related to living in rural, isolated contexts, and Dr. Anderson aims to understand factors of these contexts that may impede early childhood programs and services.