Jay Balagna

Photo of Jay Balagna
Assistant Policy Researcher, RAND; Ph.D. Student, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office

Education

M.P.H. in prevention science and practice, Emory University; B.A. in Spanish, University of Nevada, Reno

Overview

Jay Balagna (he/him) is a Ph.D. student at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an assistant policy researcher at RAND. His research interests include emergency response systems, disaster response and recovery, earthquake preparedness, the influence of climate change on wildfires, housing policy in the wildland-urban interface, and the social determinants of health. 

Prior to joining Pardee RAND, Balagna was a wildland firefighter in Nevada and Montana, an emergency medical technician in Los Angeles, and a political journalist working in the United States and Chile. He has an M.P.H. from Emory University and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Nevada, Reno. Balagna is a student in Pardee RAND's Community-Partnered Policy and Action stream.

Languages

Spanish

Commentary

  • Lower Ninth Ward area residents walk by the reconstructed wall of a levee at the Lower Ninth Ward canal in New Orleans, Louisiana, August 16, 2015, photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    Hurricane Ida Is Part of a Cycle of Disasters—Mitigating Their Impact Means Building Back Better

    Building back better means focusing on recovery that not only restores damage from a disaster but also reduces future risk. To meet that goal today, we need to look at the ways our disaster preparedness and response systems actually create risk themselves, by reinforcing things like wealth inequality, systemic discrimination, or access to crucial services.

    Sep 13, 2021 CNN

  • Firefighters knock down hot spots while protecting a rail bridge from the Dixie Fire near the town of Quincy, California, August 5, 2021, photo by Fred Greaves/Reuters

    Climate Change Is Only One Driver of Explosive Wildfire Season—Don't Forget Land Management

    The fire seasons that have been scorching huge areas and wiping entire towns from the map appear to be the future. Accepting that wildland fires are a part of our environment and working to live with fires rather than continuously fighting against them may be the most responsible path forward.

    Aug 16, 2021 The Hill

  • Firefighters mop up hotspots in the northwestern section of the Bootleg Fire in Oregon as it expands to over 210,000 acres, Klamath Falls, Oregon, July 14, 2021, photo by Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Reuters

    As Fire Season Heats Up, Burnout Looms

    Increasingly intense fire seasons are taking a physical and mental toll on wildland firefighters. Without more direct attention paid to firefighters' mental health, burnout could decimate the ranks of those who protect lives and property across the West.

    Jul 21, 2021 The RAND Blog

  • People walk down the street at a camp for displaced people while Hurricane Matthew approaches in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 3, 2016, photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

    Climate Change Migration: Developing a Security Strategy for All

    Over the past decade, an average of 21.5 million people annually have been forced to move due to the impacts of extreme weather. Building an understanding of the intersection between climate change, migration, and security is crucial and should take into account that many who face the most direct impacts of climate change are already among the most vulnerable.

    Mar 15, 2021 The National Interest

  • A firefighter works on the Blue Ridge Fire burning in Yorba Linda, California, October 26, 2020, photo by Ringo Chiu/Reuters

    Another Record-Breaking Fire Season Shows the Need for a Comprehensive Strategy

    Year after year, fires across western U.S. states scorch forests, rangeland, and neighborhoods, wreaking havoc on rural economies and pushing smoke into cities. Policymakers should consider a coordinated and comprehensive effort that brings together the best minds in government, communities, and academia.

    Nov 6, 2020 United Press International