Press Releases Urban Institute Adds Renowned Leader and Policy Expert to Its Executive Team: Dr. Kimberlyn Leary Tapped to Be Senior Vice President
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WASHINGTON DC – June 12, 2020 Today, President Sarah Rosen Wartell announced that Dr. Kimberlyn Leary will be the Urban Institute’s next senior vice president, managing research and program development across the organization.

Dr. Leary has a distinguished career in policy and practice. Currently, she is an associate professor at Harvard University with posts at both the Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, as well as a cross-posting at the Harvard Kennedy School. Before Harvard, she served as chief psychologist of the Cambridge Health Alliance and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow and advisor to the White House Council on Women and Girls during the Obama administration.

“Kim brings leadership, impressive academic credentials, and deep experience at the intersection of science, policy, and practice,” said Wartell. “She has devoted her career to the values at the heart of Urban’s mission: equity, opportunity, and a proven commitment to evidence that improves decisions and outcomes. We are especially glad Kim is joining us at a time when so much needs to be done to rebuild our economy in equitable ways and to dismantle structural racism. I could not be more excited to welcome her to Urban.”

“It is a privilege to join this unique institution, one that is trusted for fact-based insights that change lives and communities. These facts have never been more urgently needed,” said Dr. Leary. “I am eager for the opportunity to work with Urban’s experts as we help the country address the ongoing pandemic response, economic turbulence, and persistent structural inequity.”

Urban conducted a nationwide search for the senior vice president after Margery Austin Turner announced her plans to step down from the role this summer after serving in the position for more than a decade. Turner will remain at Urban as an Institute fellow.

“Marge has been an indispensable leader at Urban– a tireless collaborator, highly effective manager, a true partner and friend,” said Wartell. “She has shaped our country’s understanding of urban policy and neighborhood issues. And over the course of four decades, she has been a tremendous force in shaping and strengthening the Urban Institute. We are thrilled and relieved that she remains at Urban and continues to add knowledge and insights on the issues to which she has devoted her career.”

Dr. Leary assumes her new position on July 1.


The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban scholars have conducted research and offered evidence-based solutions that improve lives and strengthen communities across a rapidly urbanizing world. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the effectiveness of the public sector.