Field Center at Penn Announces Third Alan Lerner Fellow in Child Welfare Policy

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto | | 215-898-4820November 4, 2013

A third-year student at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Brittany Strandell, has been selected as the third Alan Lerner Fellowship in Child Welfare Policy recipient. The announcement was made by Penn’s Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research at its annual “Field of Dreams” luncheon Friday.

As this year’s Alan Lerner Fellow in Child Welfare Policy, Strandell will conduct research for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Health Care Work Group. To support the Field Center’s effort to implement system-level change, she will examine the progress of pending child-welfare legislation in the state.

The 26-year-old from Clinton, Miss., is also a senior research assistant in Penn’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, where she studies and analyzes legislation related to the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace. 

She became interested in child-welfare issues when, as a high school student, she volunteered at a therapeutic horse riding facility for foster children.  That experience prompted her to focus her studies on children and cognition.

Strandell graduated summa cum laude from Wesleyan College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. At Wesleyan, she conducted cognitive research, earning a prize in neuroscience and publishing an article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

“When I came to Penn Law, I was eager to blend my legal training with my background in psychology,” she said. “I became interested in the interplay of law, health and child-welfare issues.”

In conjunction with earning her degree from Penn Law, Strandell will be receiving her master's in bioethics from Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine in May.

"We are delighted to have a student like Brittany, who has already embraced an interdisciplinary perspective with a dual degree, as a member of the Field Center team as this year's Alan Lerner Fellow in Child Welfare Policy,” said Debra Schilling Wolfe, the Center’s executive director.

The “Field of Dreams” luncheon is dedicated to the legacy of the late Alan M. Lerner, Field Center faculty director and professor at Penn Law.

The Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the School of Social Policy & Practice, Law School, Nursing School and Perelman School of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It works to improve the lives of victims of child abuse and neglect by reforming the systems that are responsible for protecting them through innovative and critical change.