Kimberly McCombs-Thornton, Ph.D.

Senior Research Associate

Kimberly McCombs-Thornton has more than 25 years of experience working with nonprofits and universities to evaluate programs for children and families. She is an applied social scientist with expertise in quasi-experimental design, survey development, qualitative methods, cost studies, and technical assistance. She has directed evaluations related to early childhood obesity, child care, early literacy, child welfare, and pediatric HIV/AIDS, among others. McCombs-Thornton also has extensive experience reviewing and rating evidence for early childhood programs.

McCombs-Thornton is team lead for the Family-Level Assessment and State of Home Visiting qualitative study and the HealthySteps Outcome Pilot Project process evaluation. She is an evaluation technical assistance specialist for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting  (MIECHV) Technical Assistance Resource Center. Previously, McCombs-Thornton served as the deputy director for the Design Options for Home Visiting Evaluation project, for which she led a team in developing resources on Pay for Outcomes and propensity score matching, and provided technical assistance to MIECHV awardees.

Before joining JBA, McCombs-Thornton was the research and evaluation director for Smart Start, North Carolina’s nationally recognized early childhood initiative. She also directed evaluation efforts for ZERO TO THREE’s Safe Babies Court Teams.

McCombs-Thornton received an M.P.P. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in public health from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.