I am the Barbara Knudson Endowed Chair in Family Policy and Associate Professor in the Human Development and Family Sciences program at Oregon State University. I study poverty, social policy, and families and lead the Family Policy Group. Current research projects fall under the following areas (1) family leave and self-sufficiency, (2) poverty measurement and safety net participation, and (3) policies that affect financial capability and asset building.

Examples of current research questions include:

  • Among mothers with low incomes what are the economic changes before and after birth and what is the role of family policies to offset these?
  • How much poverty exists and how has this changed over time? To what extent do family policies and safety net programs moderate poverty?
  • How does context – specifically social policies – shape family financial capability and asset building?

This work is supported by research grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Institute for Research on Poverty, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Findings have been published in leading journals including Journal of Marriage and Family, Children and Youth Services Review, Family Relations, and Child Indicators Research (see publications page). I am a faculty member of the Centre for Children and Families at McGill University and faculty associate at the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis. I have been a visiting scholar at the University of Birmingham (UK).

I am currently recruiting graduate students under my supervision. I am seeking curious and passionate future scholars committed to understanding and reducing social inequality. I strongly encourage applications from scholars underrepresented in higher education, particularly first generation scholars.

Current CV

College of Public Health and Human Sciences
462 Waldo Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331

Phone: 541-737-1081

Schedule a meeting during my office hours.

Email: david [dot] rothwell @ oregonstate.edu

My background: Born and raised in Oregon, I attended Pitzer College for undergraduate studies. After teaching English in Japan, I finished my MSW at Tulane University and worked as a social worker in adult mental health at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New Orleans. I went on to earn a doctorate in social welfare from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National University of Singapore. Prior to joining OSU in 2016, I was an Associate Professor of Social Work at McGill University in Montreal.