Shannah Tharp-Gilliam

Photo of Shannah Tharp-Gilliam
Social Scientist
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in developmental psychology, University of Pittsburgh

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Shannah Tharp-Taylor is a social scientist at the RAND Corporation. Her areas of interest span experimental, quasi-experimental, and community-based participatory research, and program evaluation. Many of her studies are evaluations of programs to better understand the effectiveness of institutions that provide health education and services or implement academic educational reforms. A specialist in interview, survey, and focus group protocol development, administration, and analysis, she integrates qualitative data into otherwise quantitative designs. Her work with community service providers lends technical assistance that builds and implements rigorous evaluation strategies based on an outcomes-oriented approach.

Tharp-Taylor led the evaluation of the Pittsburgh Public Schools Excellence for All Initiative and works on the Teacher Incentive Fund evaluation examining the effects of the pay-for-performance initiative on principals, schools, and classroom instruction. She is leading the evaluation for the federally funded Voluntary School Choice Regional Choice Initiative in Beaver County, Pennsylvania.

Tharp-Taylor's work in health policy includes the Pittsburgh Hill/Homewood Research on Eating, Shopping and Health project. She serves as a coinvestigator on the Arkansas Tobacco Settlement programs working primarily with the Minority Health Initiative, the Aging Initiative, and Delta AHEC to develop relevant indicators and outcomes, while maintaining a focus on the programs' strategic goals. In addition to her evaluation work, Tharp-Taylor exercises her expertise as a developmental psychologist through her partnership with neighborhood initiatives focusing on improving developmental outcomes across multiple domains in children at risk for developmental delay.

Tharp-Taylor received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.

Recent Projects

  • Beaver Valley Intermediate Unit (BVIU) Regional Choice Initiative (RCI) Evaluation
  • Pittsburgh Hill/Homewood Research on Eating, Shopping, and Health (PHRESH)
  • Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Evaluation