National Children’s Study Federal Advisory Committee Member
Dr. Padilla is a Professor of Social Work and Women’s Studies and Faculty Research Affiliate of the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Padilla’s research focuses on population and social science analyses of health disparities. Dr. Padilla was principal investigator of a recent study on Mexican American birth outcomes and health in early childhood funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Taking the Hispanic epidemiological paradox as the starting point, the main objective of her current research is to examine broader public health issues affecting the life chances of Hispanic children. It is well-documented that in spite of their healthy beginnings by adolescence and early adulthood, the Hispanic population is overrepresented in terms of teen pregnancy, poor school attainment, and involvement in the criminal justice system—indicators that are currently being reframed as public health issues—in comparison to non-Hispanic whites. In order to determine links to these later outcomes, in her current work she continues the analysis of the life course of Hispanic children. A graduate of the University of Michigan’s joint program in social work and sociology, Dr. Padilla studied under the Research and Training Program on Poverty and Public Policy. Dr. Padilla is a member of the National Commission on Paternal Involvement in Pregnancy Outcomes of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which is doing work on closing the gap in the large U.S. racial disparities in birth outcomes. Dr. Padilla served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Social Work Education from 2006 to 2009. In 2002, she received the SSWR Excellence in Research Award for Best Scholarly Contribution Published.