Ithar Hassaballa

Futures Thinkers: We are thrilled to welcome Ithar Hassaballa to our director’s team. This experienced group is comprised of thought leaders in areas including complexity and futures thinking, early childhood and evaluation. Ithar complements the team with her strong background in global health, research, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.


CPPR Announces Addition of New Leadership focused on DEI and Public Health

Ithar Hassaballa, Ph.D., has joined the Center for Public Partnerships and Research at the University of Kansas as Research Project Director. As part of CPPR’s leadership team, Hassaballa will be engaged in the center’s efforts to promote the wellbeing of children, youth, and families.

Hassaballa will be a part of CPPR’s work on the All in for Kansas Kids Strategic Plan, focused on the development of the state’s early childhood integrated data initiative. She will also lead CPPR’s work with Kansas Connecting Communities, which supports depression screenings for women who are pregnant or just given birth. In addition, she will play a lead role in internal and external projects focused on promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We have an outstanding leadership team of thought leaders in areas including complexity and futures thinking, early childhood and evaluation. Ithar complements the team with her strong background in global public health, research, and community efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. We are thrilled to work with her and look forward to the future,” said Jackie Counts, director.

“Understanding the needs of children and families using data is going to be key in improving the health and wellbeing of all Kansans,” Hassaballa said. “I aim to draw strategies for health and improvement based on previous work.”

Hassaballa holds a doctorate in behavioral psychology, a master’s in public health, a master’s in applied behavioral science, and a bachelor’s in science, all from the University of Kansas.

She also has extensive experience in global public health. For example, she has provided evaluation, technical support, and consultation to the World Health Organization African Regional Office in Congo, Botswana, and various other countries. She participated in the University of College London’s Health and Society Summer School on the Social Determinants of Health in the United Kingdom. And she has been a contributor to the United Nations Association Summit on Global Engagement.

Prior to joining CPPR, Hassaballa was Research Project Manager for the University of Kansas Center for Community Health and Development addressing youth development and violence prevention. She has also served as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Ambassador at the University.

“CPPR is committed to systems change and improvement,” Hassaballa said. “Further, we believe it’s important to engage the communities we serve in the research process, and we are working on strategies for larger engagement and impact.”

The mission of Center for Public Partnerships and Research at the University of Kansas is to optimize the well-being of children, youth, and families. The center’s multidisciplinary team of researchers, social workers, psychologists, and sociologists are experts in research and evaluation, social innovation, and data science. CPPR works in partnership with thought-leaders and change-makers in government, academics, non-profits, and business organizations in Kansas and across the country. Through grant-funded projects, CPPR addresses challenges in areas like K-12 education, public health, youth development, early childhood, child welfare, child neglect and abuse prevention, and adaptive leadership.