Meet The Trusted Team Behind the System

In 2015, Heather Rouse and Cassandra Dorius came together to leverage their combined three decades of experience in education, human services, public health, and integrated data systems.
They brought together leaders from across Iowa’s departments serving young children and their families, secured training and technical assistance to develop Iowa’s model and governance structure, and obtained funding to stand up the system and use it to demonstrate value for informing policy and program improvement. I2D2 was born.
In collaboration with strong Early Childhood Iowa partners spanning diverse systems in the state, this partnership has paved the way for Iowa success. In the words of former ECI Board Chair, the tandem of Rouse and Dorius brings a “palpable level of commitment, a deep understanding of a very complicated system, and a passionate and motivating approach” to the work, which has increased the national visibility of the state of Iowa and Iowa State University as leaders in the use of administrative data systems to inform evidence-based decision making.
In 2019, the dynamic duo was invited to share the successful development of I2D2 at the National Academy of Sciences Committee on National Statistics. With a panel of experts deliberating the value of administrative data, conversations included considerations of how state and municipal integrated data systems could inform national statistical approaches.

Meet our Leaders

Heather Rouse

Heather Rouse


Cassandra Dorius

Cass Dorius



Todd Abraham

Assistant Director of Data and Analytics

Todd joined the I2D2 team in 2019 with backgrounds in data management, quantitative research methodology, and program evaluation. He currently co-leads design and implementation of data processing protocols, data integration and record linkage algorithms, and project analysis planning. His research interests focus on the interplay between individual, family, and contextual factors as influences on child developmental trajectories.

Jeff Jackson

Assistant Director, Strategic Planning and Outreach

Jeff joined I2D2 in 2021, bringing a wealth of experience working with state and local decision-makers to inform strategic planning for children, youth, and families. In his role with I2D2 he supports the mission of evidence-based decision-making by working with stakeholders to ensure data are both used in strategic planning and that data and analytics are informed by high-priorities of ECI and the State of Iowa as a whole.

Giorgi Chighladze

Data Scientist

Before joining the I2D2 team as a data scientist in 2021, Gio worked as a data manager and analyst for multi-institutional cross-disciplinary projects involving more than dozen land-grant universities across the Midwest, government institutions and state organizations. Over six years he has curated data from agricultural and environmental studies, and has published two datasets in the National Agricultural Library.

Laura Betancur

Research Associate

Laura Betancur received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2020. Her research aims to increase understanding of how the context of children and families shape their wellbeing, focusing on disadvantaged populations in the U.S. and in low- and middle-income countries. In January of 2021, she joined the ECI Longitudinal Study where researches the relationship between families’ utilization patterns of early childhood education services and child developmental outcomes.

Quentin Riser

Research Associate

Quentin completed his dissertation in Fall 2020. He began working with the I2D2 team in 2015 at the start of his graduate training, making him one of the earliest student team members. He worked on the Statewide Needs Assessment team in 2019, and he has led a project developing webinars and trainings for ECI stakeholders designed to improve data use. His research interests focus on understanding early childhood poverty and family and community strengths associated with early educational and social and emotional wellbeing.

Laura Wallace


Laura Wallace received her B.A. in Psychology from Bryn Mawr College in 2009, her M.S. in Psychology from Villanova University in 2012, and her Ph.D. in School Psychology from Lehigh University in 2020. She is currently a postdoctoral scholar at Iowa State University in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Dr. Wallace’s research interests include utilizing integrated data sets to evaluate home visiting programs, the impact of home visiting on maltreatment and abuse, and evaluating the use of precision home visiting to best meet the needs of children and caregivers.


Jessica Bruning


Jessica began her graduate studies at ISU and joined the I2D2 team in 2018. She worked with the Statewide Needs assessment team in 2019, on the 2020 MIECHV Needs Assessment, and now on the home visiting program evaluation team. Her research interests include early childhood risk and development, equity and access, and public policy for children and families.

Allison Gress


Allison is working on her thesis focused on Child Care Assistance and will be completed in Summer 2021 and has worked with the I2D2 team since starting her graduate training at ISU in 2018. She was part of the Statewide Needs Assessment team in 2019, and recently participated in work developing trainings for ECI stakeholders in data use. Her research interests focus on understanding early childhood poverty and family and community strengths associated with early educational wellbeing, as well as child maltreatment prevention.

Emma Kelley


Emma graduated with a Bachelor’s in Science in Child, Adult, and Family Services from Iowa State University in December of 2019. She was an intern for the IDS team to fulfill her graduation requirements, working on the Statewide Needs Assessment in 2019 and using  data from Iowa Head Start for her Honors project. She enjoyed it so much that she stayed on the team post graduation as a part-time employee. Emma lives in Kansas City and is currently working towards her Masters in Social Work from the University of Kansas.