Roberta Downing

Roberta Downing

Adjunct Faculty, Professional Psychology Program

Dr. Roberta Downing is a Senior Legislative and Federal Affairs Officer at the American Psychological Association (APA). Prior to joining APA, Dr. Downing was a Senior Legislative Associate at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a leading national think tank that focuses on fiscal policy and public low-income programs. Dr. Downing worked in the United States Senate handling health care, Social Security, and older Americans policy for U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). She was also an APA Congressional Fellow in the health policy office of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, working for U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Dr. Downing was a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health as part of the W. K. Kellogg Community Health Scholars Program. Her research focused on poverty, community-based participatory research, and health disparities. Prior to earning her doctorate, Dr. Downing spent several years working in the AIDS community in Los Angeles.


Dr. Roberta Downing completed her undergraduate work in Comparative Literature and Spanish at San Diego State University and holds an M.A. in General Psychology from Pepperdine University. She completed an M.A. and her Ph.D. in social psychology with a parenthetical notation in Women’s Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


Bullock, H. E., Limbert, W. M., & Downing, R. A. (2013). Low-income women, critical resistance, and welfare rights activism. In H. E. Bullock (Ed.), Women and Poverty: Psychology, Public Policy, and Social Justice. West Sussez, UK: Wiley Blackwell Publishing.

Downing, R. A. (2008). Models for feminist research in community settings. In C. Raghavan, E. Edwards, & K. Vaz (Eds.), Benefiting by Design: Women of Color in Feminist Psychological Research. Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Downing, R. A., LaVeist, T. A., & Bullock, H. E. (2007). Are low-income women discouraged from having children? Intersections of ethnicity and social class in reproductive health care. American Journal of Public Health, 97, 1803-1807.

Downing, R. A., Crosby, F. J., & Blake-Beard, S. (2005). The Perceived Influence of Developmental Relationships on Undergraduate Women’s Pursuit of Science. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 29, 419-426.

Crosby, F. J., Clayton, S., Downing, R. A., & Iyer, A. (2004). Values and Science. American Psychologist, 59, 125-126.

Carvajal, S. C., Hanson, C. E., Downing, R. A., Coyle, K. K., & Pederson, L. L. (2004). Theory-based determinants of youth smoking: A multiple influence approach. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 34, 59-84.

Crosby, F. J., Iyer, A., Clayton, S., & Downing, R. A. (2003). Affirmative action: Psychological data and the policy debates. American Psychologist, 58, 93-115.

Downing, R. A., Lubensky, M. E., Sincharoen, S., Gurin, P., Crosby, F. J., Queirolo, S., & Franco, J. (2002). Affirmative action in higher education. Diversity Factor, 10, 15-20.