Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Kris Sahonchik

Director, USM Research & Cutler Institute
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Office Location

331 Wishcamper Center


(207) 780-5856


Kris is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of child welfare and organizational improvement. She has advised state, territorial, and tribal governments from Maine to American Samoa.

Kris brings a commitment to improving the lives of our most vulnerable citizens to the development and application of objective criteria in evaluating and implementing public policy. Examples of her broad portfolio of work include developing policies and management systems in American Samoa; implementing a post-Katrina hurricane recovery and reform plan for the Louisiana Office of Community Services; and facilitating the creation of strategic plans for integrated children’s health, mental health, and human services in over a dozen states. Her approach to reform is focused on the design, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-informed policies and practices that are grounded in research, outcome-driven, and responsive to the needs of vulnerable children, families, and communities.

Kris has authored publications on strategic planning, public agency management, and child welfare and is often asked to speak about the issues to which she has dedicated much of her professional work: working with state and national government leaders and communities to develop long-term solutions for complex social issues. Kris brings this same commitment to her role as Director of the Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy; she has served as Principal Investigator on two multi-year projects funded by the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement and the Northeast and Caribbean Child Welfare Implementation Center.

Kris teaches graduate courses at the Muskie School of Public Service on various topics, including Public Health Policy for Children and Families; Managing Change in Child, Youth, and Family Policy and Programs; and Child and Family Policy and Law. Kris attended the London School of Economics and holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of the District of Columbia and a Bachelor of Arts degree (with honors) from New York University.