LBJ Professor Abigail Aiken Appointed to Travis County Entity That Aims to Improve Health Care System | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

The Travis County Commissioners Court and Austin City Council have appointed LBJ School professor Abigail Aiken to the Central Health Board of Managers, a local public entity that provides the community’s uninsured, underinsured and low-income residents with access to high-quality, cost-effective health care.

Aiken, who was selected over three other finalists, will join the nine – member volunteer Board of Managers and serve a four – year appointment until December 31, 2020.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to serve the residents of Travis Country in this joint appointment on the Central Health Board of Managers,” Aiken said. “I'm eager to bring my passion for community engagement and my skills in public policy evaluation to help fulfill the mission of the board. At this time of great uncertainty for publicly-funded health services, particularly those related to reproductive health, we need a transparent and effective plan for how to best serve the most vulnerable in our community." 

“With an accomplished interdisciplinary background in clinical medicine, public health, demography and public policy, Professor Aiken’s passion for community engagement and her skills in public policy evaluation make her an ideal choice for this prestigious appointment,” said Angela Evans, Dean of the LBJ School. “Professor Aiken will undoubtedly serve our community as an innovative researcher and effective practitioner. On behalf of the LBJ School, I congratulate Professor Aiken on this accomplishment.”

“I'm eager to bring my passion for community engagement and my skills in public policy evaluation to help fulfill the mission of the board. At this time of great uncertainty for publicly-funded health services, particularly those related to reproductive health, we need a transparent and effective plan for how to best serve the most vulnerable in our community."
—Abigail Aiken

The Board of Managers works through a network of health care partners and community members using both local and federal funds to create access to and transform safety net health care services. Partners include Dell Medical School, Austin Travis County Integral Care and the Community Care Collaborative among others. Aiken joins LBJ School Professor Sherri Greenberg, who also serves on the Central Health Board of Managers. The Board of Managers has a broad and varied background, including community and social service, medical care, private business, government and law.

Aiken’s current research projects include examining women’s experiences obtaining safe abortions in contexts where legislative barriers prevent access through the health care system; evaluating programs and policies designed to increase access to contraception in the postpartum and post-abortion setting; and investigating the determinants and impacts of unintended pregnancies through a health equity and reproductive justice framework. Widely published, her recent research on how the Zika virus impacts the lives of pregnant women appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, drawing international media attention.

Aiken completed both her undergraduate degree and medical doctorate at the University of Cambridge. She earned her master’s in public health at Harvard University and her Ph.D. in public policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Board of Managers meetings, held on the first Wednesday of each month, are available to watch online.