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Cynthia Burnson

Cynthia Burnson, PhD, has served as a senior researcher at Evident Change since 2018. Evident Change is a non profit that uses data and research to improve our social systems, including child welfare, juvenile and criminal justice, adult protective services, and education. At Evident Change, Dr. Burnson works with child welfare agencies to improve equity, accuracy, and consistency in decision making, use data to inform practice and policy, and evaluate practices and programs.

Prior to joining Evident Change, Dr. Burnson was with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied postpartum depression treatment in Wisconsin home visiting programs, infant and family mental health, and the assessment of parent-child relationships. She received her PhD in human development and family studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied resilience processes in young children of incarcerated parents and quantitative methods. Before receiving her PhD, she taught preschool for 10 years.

Dr. Burnson has worked on a wide range of research and outreach projects, including studying self-regulation in children born preterm, a compassionate and mindful parenting intervention, the efficacy of Sesame Street toolkit materials in promoting positive jail visitation between young children and their parent, marital quality in families with a child with autism, postpartum depression treatment programs, young children experiencing homelessness, and reading programs geared toward low-income preschoolers. Throughout all her work, Dr. Burnson has carried her passion to promote the well-being of children within systems that impact their development: family, school, community, and policy.

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