Melissa Finucane is a senior social and behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation and a Pardee RAND Graduate School professor. Also a senior fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawai'i, her interdisciplinary and policy-oriented research focuses on understanding the human dimensions of environmental health risks.
She is director of the Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities, funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. This integrated program of research and outreach aims to assess and address community impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Finucane is co-investigator with the NOAA-funded Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (MARISA) program, which aims to support decisionmakers in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic states to adapt to the impacts of climate variability and change. MARISA will assess and address climate-sensitive issues such as flooding, fresh water management, coastal infrastructure, transport, and agriculture.
Finucane is also co-investigator with the Pacific RISA program, which aims to support Pacific Island communities to adapt to the impacts of climate variability and change (related to fresh water resources, coastal erosion, and military infrastructure). Finucane is a co-editor and chapter author for the 2012 Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA) report and lead author for the Pacific Islands Region chapter in the 2014 report for the National Climate Assessment by the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
Finucane's NSF-funded research examines the relationship between modernization and perceived risk of avian influenza in Vietnam.
She received her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Western Australia and has 20 years of experience working with many different communities around the world.