Shadi serves as First Focus’ Vice President for Child Welfare Policy. She has extensive experience working with families involved in the child welfare system and is particularly interested in the translation of developmental research into effective child welfare and family policy, mental health policy, and government programs, interventions, and prevention practices targeting high-risk families.
Shadi received her PhD in developmental psychology from Yale University, where she worked with children who were maltreated, and concentrated her research on identifying factors that foster resiliency in children exposed to trauma. Shadi’s graduate project involved an evaluation of an intervention program in the state of Connecticut designed to minimize multiple placements, re-abuse, and re-entry into the child welfare system. Her research was recognized by awards from Division 37 of the American Psychological Association (APA), the Section on Maltreatment of Division 37 of APA, and the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students. While at Yale, Shadi served as a Fellow of the Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy.
After graduating, Shadi went on to serve as an AAAS/SRCD Congressional Fellowship in the Senate, working on education and health policy in the Office of Senator Jeff Bingaman (NM). Next, she worked in policy communications and government relations for Burness Communications - a communications firm working exclusively with non-profits and foundations in the health sector. At First Focus, she is leading our efforts on child welfare and mental health policy.