Katie A. Cahill


Katie CahillAssociate Director, Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy
Director, Leadership & Governance Program
Assistant Professor (adjunct), Department of Political Science and MPPA Program
PhD, Political Science, Purdue University

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Dr. Katie Cahill is the Associate Director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the Director of the Center's Leadership and Governance Program, and holds a courtesy appointment as an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science. She holds a PhD from Purdue University and her expertise is in health policy.

Dr. Cahill is a member of the steering committee for the interdisciplinary Coronavirus-19 Outbreak Response Expert (CORE-19) team and led the collection and analysis of the Tennessee Pulse Survey in partnership with Governor Bill Lee's Economic Recovery Group. She also serves on the steering committee for President Randy Boyd's newly announced Substance Misuse and Addiction Resource for Tennessee (SMART) Policy Network and is the principal investigator for the Healthy Appalachia Project in partnership with Remote Area Medical (RAM).Her previous research focused on the tension between democracy and public health intiatives, particularly global childhood vaccinations programs. This included 9-months of fieldwork in South Asia. Her research uses an interdisciplinary, multi-method, and puzzle-driven approach to examine public health policies and outcomes. Dr. Cahill is highly motivated to conduct research that has both theoretical and practical implications.

In addition, she leads the Appalachian Leadership Institute funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission and co-hosts the Tennessee Legislative Leaders Academy for newly elected state legislators with the Institute for Public Service. She also facilitates the campus-wide Vols Vote Intiative and is a founder of the annual statewide Tennessee Campus Civic Summit. The aim of these programs is to foster leadership and public service across generations of Tenneseans.

Based on this work, she recently co-authored an invited chapter for Tennessee's 2020 Economic Report to the Governor on public health and the economy and published an article titled "Health and Voting in Rural America" examining the relationship between health status and voter participation in the journal Frontiers in Political Science. Dr. Cahill's work has been cited by national and local news including in The New York Times, Reuters, C-SPAN, The Tennessean, Knoxville News Sentinel, on WBIR, WVLT, and WUOT, among other outlets. She also frequently provides talks to community organizations.

For the Center, she reports to the Executive Director, and is responsible for strategic planning along with the Center's directors, supervising the day-to-day operations of the Center, including managing staff, graduate students and students, developing outreach strategies, designing new programs that support the research, teaching, and engagement mission of the Center, including high-profile public lectures, and overseeing the appropriate use of the facility. Dr. Cahill also is responsible for developing curriculum for the Public Policy Analytics minor offered by the Center, mentoring student researchers, and pursuing extramural funding for programs and research projects. Serve as a faculty member for the Masters in Public Policy and Public Administration (MPPA) program. Dr. Cahill also supervises undergraduate research through the Baker Scholars program and leads the annual Washington Program.

Prior to joining the Center, she was the Associate Director of the Purdue Institute for Civic Communication established partnership with C-SPAN. Her personal website can be found here.