Shoshana R. Shelton

Photo of Shoshana Shelton
Senior Policy Analyst; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Pittsburgh Office


M.P.H., The Ohio State University; B.A. in English, Denison University

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Shoshana R. Shelton is a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on performance measure development, program evaluation, public health systems, violence prevention, infectious disease control and mitigation, and national health security. She has authored multiple peer-reviewed publications in journals and worked on numerous efforts for a wide range of federal agencies. Currently, she leads a project analyzing mass attacks and targeted violence for the U.S. Secret Service and serves as project manager for RAND's master contract with ASPE. Her past work includes conducting risk analysis for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear terrorist threats, leading the development of the National Health Security Strategy objectives on workforce and countermeasure delivery, working closely with the CDC to develop performance measures, and conducting a portfolio analysis of federally funded research on health security. Before joining RAND in 2007, Shelton was a program manager at the Office of Public Health Practice at The Ohio State University, where she conducted training for the public health workforce. Shelton holds an M.P.H. from The Ohio State University and a B.A. in English from Denison University.

Recent Projects

  • Targeted Violence Prevention
  • Continuity of Operations Planning for Public Health Laboratories
  • National Health Security Strategy Development, Implementation, and Evaluation Support Services
  • Developing Updated Legionellosis Guidelines for Western Pennsylvania
  • Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) and the Road Ahead: A Proposal for Assessment and Guidance

Selected Publications

Shelton, S., Nelson, C., McLees, A., Mumford, K., Thomas, C., "Building Performance-Based Accountability With A Limited Empirical Evidence Base: Performance Measure Development for Public Health Preparedness," Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 7(4), 2013

Parker, A. Shelton, S., Morganti, K., Nelson, C., "Assessing Relationships Between State and Local Public Health Organizations: Evidence from the NACCHO 2008 Profile of Local Health Departments," Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 18(2), 2012

Shelton, S., Connor, K., Uscher-Pines, L., Pillemer, F., Mullikin, J., Kellermann, A., "Bioterrorism and Biological Threats Dominate Federal Health Security Research: Other Priorities Get Scant Attention," Health Affairs, 31(12), 2012

Nelson, C., Willis, H., Chan, E., Shelton, S., & Parker, A., "Can the Federal Government Improve Community Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies? Lessons from the Cities Readiness Initiative," Health Affairs, 29(12), 2010

Greenfield, V., Shelton, S., Balkovich, E., Davis, J., Adamson, D., The Federal Voting Assistance Program and the Road Ahead: Achieving Institutional Change Through Analysis and Collaboration, RAND (RR-882-OSD), 2015

Parker, A., Jackson, B., Martinez, A., Sanchez, R., Shelton, S., Osburg, J., Exploring the Effect of the Diffusion of Geo-targeted Emergency Alerts: the Application of Agent-Based Modeling to Understanding the Spread of Messages from the Wireless Emergency Alerts System, Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (EP-50878), 2015

Moore, M. and Shelton, S., Updated Guidelines for the Control of Legionella in Western Pennsylvania, Allegheny County Health Department (EP-66197), 2014


  • Healthcare workers take part in a rehearsal for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, Indiana, December 11, 2020, photo by Bryan Woolston/Reuters

    COVID-19 Vaccination: Expect the Unexpected

    With emergency use authorization for the first COVID-19 vaccine now in place, states and localities have turned their focus to the logistics of dispensing it as quickly as feasible. Still, uncertainties abound. It is essential to build a process of learning into the plan.

    Dec 15, 2020 The RAND Blog

  • Pedestrians in a region of the South Bronx that has seen a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in New York August 7, 2015

    Control Disease in a New York Minute

    Legionella bacteria are ubiquitous in many warm-water environments, but outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease like the recent one in the South Bronx don't have to be. Effective public health policies and practices can help inhibit Legionella growth, minimize the occurrence and impact of outbreaks, and save lives.

    Aug 20, 2015 U.S. News & World Report

  • Center for Domestic Preparedness Training

    Tuberculosis Outbreak in LA Reminds Us of Importance of 'Bread and Butter' Public Health Capabilities

    In this fiscally uncertain climate, we should continue to leverage the dual-use benefit of bioterrorism investments by building and maintaining those routine (but essential) public health capabilities that can also be used in response to a variety of public health emergencies.

    Mar 12, 2013 The RAND Blog

  • Red Cross Shelter volunteers discuss coordination of services for survivors of Hurricane Sandy

    Far More U.S. Health Security Research Effort Aimed at Bioterrorism than Natural Disasters

    Given the broad range of threats facing the United States, including those related to extreme weather, it is imperative that monies invested in enhancing health security be well spent, writes Shoshana Shelton.

    Dec 3, 2012 The RAND Blog