Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Cohort Seven Fellow


Academic Mentor
Elizabeth Letourneau, PhD
Professor, Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Policy Mentor
Susan Notkin
Senior Vice President, Systems Change, Center for the Study of Social Policy

Areas of Expertise
Prevention Science, Families and Family Systems, Public Health Approach


Kenneth Feder is a doctoral candidate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is interested in the role of social policy in preventing child maltreatment and promoting well-being. Much of his research is on children and families' access to and utilization of behavioral health treatment, with a particular focus on treatment for opioid addiction. Prior to coming to Johns Hopkins, Mr. Feder worked as a Policy Analyst at Connecticut Voices for Children, a non-profit organization that advocates for state policies in the best interests of families. There, Mr. Feder’s advocacy focused primarily on protecting the rights of children in foster care. His work helped lead to increased programming and support for adolescents and young adults at risk of “aging out” of foster care. He also organized an annual “Youth at the Capitol” forum, a forum that offers adolescents in foster care the opportunity to present directly to state legislators on issues impacting their well-being. As part of his work, he testified nearly 30 times before the Connecticut State legislature on a diverse array of issues. He has a B.A. from Wesleyan University with double majors in physics and psychology.


Collateral Consequences of the United States Opioid Epidemic for Children

Illicit opioid use and its associated harms have reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Drug overdoses have become so common that, for the first time since data collection began, an American is more likely to die from poisoning than in a motor vehicle crash. While most research on this epidemic has focused on meeting the needs of adults, the growing prevalence of opioid-related problems in families and communities is likely spilling over and putting children at risk. Unfortunately, there is currently essentially no research on the number, characteristics, health outcomes, or medical or social service use of children growing up in families where a parent or caregiver is struggling with opioid-related problems. Mr. Feder’s dissertation uses nationally representative surveys and administrative data to study trends in illicit opioid use in families with children. It examines families’ substance use and utilization of substance use treatment, adverse adolescent outcomes associated with parent illicit opioid use, and factors that may promote resilience against these outcomes. It also seeks to estimate how much the opioid epidemic has increased the number of children in foster care.