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Principal Associate, Health, Social & Economic Policy

Christine Tappan specializes in applying progressive practice, program, policy, strategy, and financial expertise across the health and human services spectrum. She brings 25-plus years of experience working in the public, social, and for-profit sectors, as well as primary and higher education, both in the United States and internationally. Throughout her career, she’s focused on building partnerships that use data and analytics to drive collaboration and integrate transformational change at key intersections of the social determinants of health, including early childhood, economic mobility, housing, behavioral health, child welfare, and juvenile justice.

Tappan co-directs Abt’s Global Center on Technical Assistance & Implementation, and guides the advancement of Abt’s cross-cutting portfolio of health and human services capacity-building efforts and partnerships across the United States. A focus of Tappan’s role is to leverage Abt’s research and best practices to directly impact the capabilities of individuals, families, communities, organizations, and systems. 

Prior to joining Abt, Tappan was associate commissioner at the New Hampshire’s Health and Human Services. In that role, she guided substantive transformations in the state’s early childhood, child welfare, juvenile justice, behavioral health, and economic mobility systems. At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Tappan led the establishment of a statewide Child Care Collaborative, a partnership between philanthropy, government, and stakeholders, that helped maintain a safe, operational, and responsive child care system.

Previously, Tappan was the director of Local Government Affairs at American Public Human Services Association. She also served as a senior manager at ICF providing senior-level guidance and technical assistance to government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau, Departments of Education and Justice. She also served as a Fulbright Program specialist in Central Asia, and as an NGO capacity building expert with a focus on child protection and strengthening the child and family serving system.


  • Intersections across social determinants of health
  • Early childhood
  • Economic mobility
  • Housing
  • Behavioral health
  • Child welfare
  • Juvenile justice


  • Biggar, L. and Tappan, C. (2016). Managing Knowledge for Impact. APHSA Policy & Practice. October, 2016.
  • Harder, K. and Tappan, C. (2016). “Locals” Charting a New Pathway to Prosperity and Well-Being. APHSA Policy & Practice. August, 2016.
  • Mertinko, E. and Tappan, C. (2015). Making Health Care Access Easier for Young People Leaving Care. Youth Today. August 4, 2015.
  • Wells, M. Bartlett, L., Tappan, C. & Levesque, S. (2015). Child Welfare Agency Climate: Congruence with Practice Model Beliefs. Journal of Public Child Welfare. Vol (9), Issue 3, 236-255. DOI: 10.1080/15548732.2015.1043422
  • Shannon, P., & Tappan, C (2012). Using Data Tracking Systems to Improve Child Welfare Services For Children with Disabilities. Child Welfare 360. Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare. University of Minnesota’s School of Social Work.
Christine Tappan