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SSW appoints Tate Distinguished Professor for Children in Need

Emily Putnam-Hornstein, Ph.D., is joining the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work as John A. Tate Distinguished Professor for Children in Need. Her appointment begins July 1, 2020. She is well known for her interdisciplinary research in child abuse and neglect, children’s health disparities, public policy, and predictive risk modeling.

“Dr. Emily Putnam-Hornstein is one of the most respected and influential child welfare scholars in the world,” noted Gary Bowen, dean of the UNC School of Social Work. “I am particularly excited about bringing in a scholar with such a high level of data science expertise.

“Our School is working to increase its focus on data science … Dr. Putnam-Hornstein’s capability in data management and predictive risk modeling in child welfare is particularly timely and attractive.

“She possesses a unique set of attributes that combine academic rigor, methodological precision and dedication — qualities a dean looks for when filling a distinguished professor position,” Bowen added. “Dr. Putnam-Hornstein’s commitment to promoting policies that advance the safety and well-being of families and children makes her the perfect appointment as the John A. Tate Distinguished Professor for Children in Need.”

Putnam-Hornstein has served on the faculty of the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, University of Southern California, since 2011. While at USC, Putnam-Hornstein and her colleague Jacquelyn McCroskey launched the Children’s Data Network, a collaborative data network focused on the health, safety and well-being of children. Putnam-Hornstein and McCroskey will continue to serve as co-directors of the network, which is the largest single source of integrated administrative records concerning children in the United States, with Putnam-Hornstein holding a voluntary faculty appointment as a USC Distinguished Scholar.

She will undertake an extension of that project at UNC-Chapel Hill, Bowen said: “With associate professor Paul Lanier, [Putnam-Hornstein] has already initiated efforts with the State of North Carolina to establish the North Carolina Children’s Data Network (NC-CDN), which is modeled on her work in California.”

While at USC, Putnam-Hornstein also produced 50 peer-reviewed publications, with more than half of these including at least one student or post-doctoral fellow whom she was mentoring. She has also served as principal investigator for research projects receiving $7.5 million in funding and has given more than 100 invited and peer-reviewed presentations.

She is a recipient of the Commissioner’s Award by the Administration for Children, Youth and Families and the Forsythe Award for Child Welfare Leadership from the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators.

Putnam-Hornstein earned her Ph.D. from the University of California Berkeley School of Social Welfare, Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University and bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University.

The Tate Distinguished Professorship was endowed by John A. “Jack” Tate Jr. and friends in memory of Mr. Tate’s father, who attended UNC-Chapel Hill in the late 1890s. Jack Tate was a retired businessman, a former member and chairman of the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees, and a former chairman of the UNC School of Social Work Board of Advisors. He was a leader in efforts to transform child and family services to improve developmental outcomes for children.