Melissa L. Finucane

Melissa L. Finucane
Senior Social and Behavioral Scientist
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in psychology, University of Western Australia

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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Melissa Finucane is a senior social and behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation. Her interdisciplinary and policy-oriented research focuses on understanding the human dimensions of environmental health risks. 

Finucane is codirector of the RAND Climate Resilience Center, which supports innovative policy research and tool development to help decisionmakers at all levels address the impacts of climate change. She is also director of the Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities, which aims to assess and address community impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. 

Finucane is principal investigator with the NOAA-funded Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (MARISA) program, an interdiscipinary partnership supporting decisionmakers with climate-sensitive issues such as flooding, fresh water management, coastal infrastructure, transport, and agriculture.

Her NSF-funded research examines the perceptions of and responses to environmental health risks among different demographic groups, including impoverished communities. She also has examined relationships among large-scale changes such as rapid modernization in Vietnam, perceptions of infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and avian influenza, and on-the-ground tools for building community resilience. 

Finucane received her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Western Australia and has more than 20 years of experience working with many different communities around the world. 

Recent Projects

  • Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities
  • Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments
  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments
  • Evolution of Public Risk Perception and Mental Models regarding COVID-19
  • Perceived Risk and Impacts of COVID-19 in Disinvested, Racially Isolated, Urban Neighborhoods

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: BBC News