PRGS News and Featured Dissertations, 2011

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Milwaukee County Executive Chooses 2006 Alum as Chief of Staff— Dec. 30, 2011

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Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele named policy analyst Amber Moreen, a 2006 alumna of PRGS, as his chief of staff. According to the Miwaukee Business Times, "Abele said the appointment of Moreen stems from his desire to make research and analysis the cornerstone for decision-making in county government."

Heed Film Lessons on Outbreak — Dec 29, 2011

To assure the health security of the United States, we must be capable of stopping anything a terrorist or Mother Nature might throw at us. Wholesale cuts to public health are taking us farther from that goal, writes PRGS professor Art Kellermann and a colleague in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution commentary.

Vote for Most Influential Research Article of the Year! — Dec. 9, 2011

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In the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's annual poll, two RAND-authored articles are among the 20 in competition for "most influential research article of the year." PRGS student Christina Huang was a coauthor of "Changes in Energy Content of Lunchtime Purchases from Fast Food Restaurants after Introduction of Calorie Labeling; and PRGS faculty Jose Escarce and director of the Economics, Finance, and Organization Program for RAND Health, Carole Gresenz, coauthored "Spillover Effects of Community Uninsurance on Working-age Adults and Seniors".

Brooks on Brooks: Through Little Effort, Great Reward — Dec. 2, 2011

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In a recent New York Times op-ed examining the role of bailouts in the European Union financial crisis, columnist David Brooks referenced PRGS alum and current American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks's Wall Street Journal article critiquing the Occupy Wall Street movement's take on income inequality and what makes a fair economic system.

How the Economy is Affecting Drug and Alcohol Use — Dec. 1, 2011

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Rosalie Pacula, codirector of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center and PRGS professor, recently visited London to deliver the second annual public lecture in memory of Alison Chesney and Eddie Killoran, two well-respected drug treatment pioneers who died in 2006. The lecture is jointly organized by Knowledge-Action-Change and the Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Pacula's lecture, "Substance Use and Recessions: Insights from Economic Analyses of Alcohol and How Drug Use Differs," examined how the current economic climate affects substance use and treatment rates.

Save Money — Hire Police — Nov. 22, 2011

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The high cost of crime to society suggests that adding police officers may give large cities a sizable return on their investments, write PRGS professors and criminal justice experts Greg Ridgeway and Paul Heaton in a Los Angeles Times commentary.

PRGS Grad is a Keynote Speaker at RAND Foreign Policy Conference — Nov. 21, 2011

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On November 29, former PRGS student Eric Larson (cohort '89), now a senior social scientist at RAND, will be addressing the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy at a public event on "Narratives and Strategic Communications in Foreign Policy."

Former PRGS Student's Research on the Relationship Between Natural Disasters and Terrorism is Published — Nov. 14, 2011

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RAND economist Claude Berrebi worked with PRGS graduate Jordan Ostwald (cohort '08) to publish his dissertation research as an article in the special December issue of Public Choice, "Earthquakes, Hurricanes, and Terrorism: Do Natural Disasters Incite Terror?" Their working paper was also discussed in FierceHomelandSecurity last month.

PRGS Student Works with RAND Europe to Evaluate Social Science Research — Nov. 9, 2011

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In the September issue of Research Evaluation, PRGS Ph.D. candidate Lisa Klautzer (cohort '07) was the primary author of a paper reporting the findings of a project conducted by RAND Europe for the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The project examined whether methods typically used to assess the impacts from health research could be employed to determine the effects of social science research, particularly on public policy and the policy environment. RAND Europe director Jennifer Rubin, RAND Europe president Jonathan Grant, and RAND Europe research leader Steven Wooding were coauthors of the report.

PRGS Grad Involved with Public School Reform in Albuquerque — Nov. 4, 2011

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PRGS graduate Richard Bowman (cohort '06) is now a fellow with Harvard University's Strategic Data Project, a national initiative to provide data analysis to education leaders in order to boost student achievement. Bowman, a former teacher, is working with the Albuquerque Public Schools on how to measure student performance. In two articles in the October 11 Albuquerque Journal, Bowman comments on a pilot program to provide merit pay for teachers as well as on the implementation of a new state mandate to assign letter grades A-F to New Mexico schools.

New RAND Report Derived from PRGS Student's Research on New Orleans Flood Damage — Oct. 31, 2011

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PRGS graduate Jordan Fischbach (cohort '04), recently authored a research brief addressing one of New Orleans' most critical challenges: how to make the city more resilient and less vulnerable to future flood damages. Six years after Hurricane Katrina, Fischbach asserts that while nonstructural measures—like incentives for improved construction and land use policies—can cost-effectively make New Orleans less vulnerable to storm surge, additional wetlands restoration and ongoing levee upgrades will be needed to reduce likely future damage from the most extreme storms.

PRGS Faculty and Students Author New Report on Health and Wellbeing in Mexico — Oct. 26, 2011

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According to a new RAND report, Mexican citizens are living longer and overall have experienced an improvement in the quality of life compared to that of prior generations. However, the demographic transition in Mexico combined with the lack of formal sources of income in retirement place many older persons in a state of financial insecurity. PRGS professor Emma Aguila authored the report along with PRGS students Claudia Diaz, Mary Manqing Fu, Ashley Pierson, and with the research support of Caroline Tassot.

PRGS Welcomes the 2011 Entering Class — Oct. 24, 2011

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Each year since 1970, PRGS has enrolled a new cohort of doctoral students with a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences. Meet the 22 new students in the 2011 cohort who are now on campus and have begun the courses and research projects that will occupy them as they work towards their Ph.Ds. in policy analysis. Learn more about the entire PRGS student body and our newest members.

PRGS Online Has a New Look! — Oct. 21, 2011

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Welcome to the new and improved PRGS website. Now visitors can create a My RAND profile, which will allow you to save the reports, projects, multimedia, and staff profiles that interest you, so you can find them more easily when you return. We will be continuing to expand the information PRGS has online so stay tuned!

Join PRGS at APPAM's Annual Conference — Oct. 11, 2011

Capitol Building Washington, DC

PRGS will be hosting a reception from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. on November 4, the second day of the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management's 2011 fall conference in Washington, D.C., which this year will focus on "Seeking Solutions to Complex Policy and Management Problems." Fellow alumni, current students, and industry professionals will be in attendance. RSVP by Thursday, October 27 to Kristina Wallace at (310) 393-0411, ext. 6472 or

Michael Rich named president and CEO of RAND — Oct. 4, 2011

Michael Rich

Michael D. Rich, currently the executive vice president of the RAND Corporation, has been selected as the organization's new president and chief executive officer. Rich will become RAND's fifth president and CEO on Nov. 1, 2011. He succeeds James A. Thomson, who has led RAND since 1989 and announced his decision to step down in April 2011.

PRGS Policymaker Training Program in the News — Sep. 12, 2011

two participants in African First Ladies program

A profile of the PRGS African First Ladies Program was posted today in the UK's Financial Times online. In describing the impetus for the initiative, program codirector Gery Ryan asks, "Why aren't first ladies more powerful and influential entities? Because they are leaders without authority. We want to help them lead."

Sign Up for Live and Online Info Sessions — Sep. 2, 2011

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Want to learn more about PRGS and its degree program before you apply? Attend one of our information sessions at various U.S. locations this fall, or register for a "virtual" session to get your questions about the Ph.D. program—and all things related—answered by current students and staff.

Apply Now to PRGS — Sep. 1, 2011

graduation capInterested in obtaining a graduate degree at one of the preeminent public policy programs in the world? PRGS is now accepting applications for enrollment into the 2012 entering class. The application period runs through January 5, 2012.

PRGS Alums Among Coauthors of New RAND Book on 9/11 — Jul. 26, 2011

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A new collection of essays by experts from the RAND Corporation examines America in the decade since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, focusing a critical eye on the nation's subsequent actions and outlining changes in strategy needed to improve efforts against jihadist groups. Three PRGS alumni and current RAND staff—vice president K. Jack Riley, senior policy researcher Eric V. Larson, and PRGS assistant dean Jeffrey Wasserman—each authored chapters in the book, as did several PRGS faculty.

PRGS Accredited for Next 10 Years — Jul. 18, 2011

students outside PRGS building

The Pardee RAND Graduate School has been reaccredited for 10 years by the Senior Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Ten years is the longest possible term for reaccreditation, with most schools receiving reaccreditation for anywhere from seven to ten years. PRGS will provide an interim report in 2016 and will formally begin the next reaccreditation cycle in 2020.

PRGS Alum Coauthors New Book on Drugs and Drug Policy — Jul. 7, 2011

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The Economist has favorably reviewed Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know, saying it successfully sorts drug use and treatment myths from facts to the benefit of substance abusers, their loved ones, and professional stakeholders. Mark Kleiman of UCLA coauthored the book along with Jonathan Caulkins of RAND and Carnegie Mellon University, and PRGS alumnus Angela Hawken ('98 cohort), now an associate professor at Pepperdine University.

PRGS Alumnus Authority on U.S. Space Program — Jul. 6, 2011

atlas space launch

In light of NASA's final shuttle launch early this month there has been much speculation as to the future of the U.S. space program. Chairman of U.S. Space and PRGS alumnus Mark J. Albrecht ('73 cohort) shared his perspective in a recent commentary in The Washington Times.

PRGS Faculty and Former PRGS Student on Promoting Psychological Resilience in the U.S. Military— Jul. 5, 2011

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RAND researcher and PRGS professor Lisa S. Meredith was the lead author of a new monograph, to which Sarah J. Gaillot ('05 cohort) also contributed when she was at PRGS, which sought to address how though many programs are available to encourage and support psychological resilience among service members and families, little is known about their effectiveness. The authors' focused literature review identifies evidence-informed factors for promoting psychological resilience and a basis for evaluating military resilience programs.

PRGS Student Joins Editorial Board of Policy Journal — Jun. 29, 2011

Russell Lundberg

Russell Lundberg has been named managing editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis under editors-in-chief Beau Kilmer, codirector of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, and Mark Kleiman of the UCLA School of Public Affairs.

PRGS and RAND Research Effort Yields World Bank Publication — Jun. 22, 2011

Cover of World Bank Report – Healthy Partnerships: How Governments Can Engage the Private Sector to Improve Health in Africa

PRGS alumnus Connor Spreng led a World Bank/International Finance Corporation project assessing how governments and the private health sector are working together in forty-five African countries. He was also the lead author of the resulting publication, Healthy Partnerships: How Governments Can Engage the Private Sector to Improve Health in Africa. PRGS alumnus Neeraj Sood, now on faculty at PRGS as well as at the University of Southern California, served as the PI for the RAND component of this study.

New Issue of Findings, the Alumni Newsletter, Now Available — Jun. 13, 2011

Findings Newsletter

The Spring 2011 issue of the PRGS alumni newsletter Findings includes coverage of

  • highlights from student on-the-job training (OJT) projects in Afghanistan—Ahmad Idrees Rahmani's work on counterinsurgency and Matt Hoover's efforts in rural development and governance
  • alumni involvement in the 2011 admissions process, with the Fall class expected to be the second largest ever
  • alum updates—Mark Albrecht's new book on the Cold War space race, Diana Epstein's new position at the Center for American Progress, and Scott Pace's recent interview on the future of U.S. space policy.

PRGS Student Comments on DNA Analysis — Apr. 29, 2011

Carl Matthies

Carl Matthies, a PRGS Ph.D. candidate and former Los Angeles Police Department criminalist, was quoted in an Investor's Business Daily article on crime analysis. The piece focused on LAPD Chief Charlie Beck's use of a 2010 RAND study in support of his claim that there is much room for improvement in U.S. DNA profiling technology and procedures when compared with results achieved by the U.K.

PRGS Student Wins 2010 EPA STAR Fellowship — Feb. 9, 2011

Eileen Hlavka

The EPA awarded a Science to Achieve Results (STAR) dissertation fellowship to Eileen Hlavka, a fourth year doctoral candidate at PRGS. The fellowship will be used to support her dissertation research which uses Bayesian text analysis to measure research on renewable energy technology and assesses whether that research is driven by energy policies.

RAND Military Health Study Wins Award — Feb. 8, 2011

Claudia Diaz

AcademyHealth gave its 2011 Health Services Research Impact Award to the research team that produced the seminal report, "The Invisible Wounds of War." This 2008 study was the first to comprehensively demonstrate the extent of post-deployment psychological and cognitive disorders among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, galvanizing policy activity at both the Federal level and among veterans groups nationwise. PRGS student Claudia Diaz was part of the project team recognized with this award.

PRGS Student Quoted in News — Feb. 2, 2011

Sean O'Neill

Sean O'Neill, a PRGS Ph.D. candidate currently working on his dissertation in health care quality improvement, was asked by Reuters Health to comment on a study in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The JAMA study indicated that for-profit hospices are choosing cheaper patients in order to make more money from their Medicare reimbursements, and cited a paper O'Neill wrote in 2008 with Karl Lorenz (RAND/VA/UCLA) and Susan Ettner (UCLA).

PRGS Alumnus Authored Only Analysis of California's Redevelopment Program — Jan. 30, 2011

Michael Dardia

Governor Jerry Brown's first budget entails a plan to abolish California's redevelopment agencies in order to reclaim their share of the state's annual $5 billion in property taxes. The only review of the value of these agencies in their 65 years of existence was completed by 1994 PRGS alumnus Michael Dardia.


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