Regina A. Shih

Photo of Regina Shih
Director, Social and Behavioral Policy Program; Senior Policy Researcher
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in psychiatric epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; B.A. in neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University

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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Regina Shih is director, Social and Behavioral Policy Program, and a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. She currently has three primary research areas: aging policy, environmental health, and behavioral health. Her aging policy work includes (1) examining the effects of a LTSS rebalancing initiative; (2) examining age-friendly initiatives on the resilience of older adults to disasters; (3) developing a national blueprint for dementia LTSS; and (4) developing instruments to assess medication reconciliation for post-acute care settings. Her recent environmental health work includes (1) understanding environmental contributions to mental health and substance use disorders; (2) developing a national database of demographic, social, economic, and physical characteristics of neighborhoods and testing how they influence cognitive aging and dementia risk; (3) estimating chemical exposure risks following climate change-related weather events; and (4) clarifying the health and mental health effects of lead exposure and ambient air pollution. Her behavioral health work includes (1) studying the impacts of poor sleep and developing recommendations for the DoD to improve sleep programs and policies in the military; and (2) identifying multi-level risk and protective factors for adolescent substance use and risk behaviors. Shih is skilled at leading sophisticated mixed-methods studies that incorporate large epidemiological study designs, qualitative data collection, and advanced statistical analyses including latent variable modeling. She holds a Ph.D. in psychiatric epidemiology from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Recent Projects

  • Understanding Effects of the Balancing Incentives Program
  • Age Friendly Initiatives and Community Resilience
  • Neighborhood Characteristics and Cognitive Decline
  • Sleep in the Military: An Evaluation of Military Programs and Policies
  • Adolescent Substance Use Trajectories: The Role of Race and Ethnicity

Selected Publications

Siconolfi D, Shih RA, Friedman EM Kotzias VI, Ahluwalia SC, Phillips JL, Saliba D, "Rural-urban disparities in access to home- and community-based services and supports: Stakeholder perspectives from 14 states. ," Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 2019

Shih RA, Concannon TW, Liu JL, Friedman EM, Improving Dementia Long-Term Care: A Policy Blueprint, RAND Corporation (RR-597), 2014

Weden MM, Shih RA, Kabeto MU, Langa KM. , "Secular trends in dementia and cognitive impairment of U.S. rural and urban older adults.," American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2018

Friedman EM, Shih RA, Langa KM, Hurd MD, "U.S. Prevalence and Predictors of Informal Caregiving for Dementia," Health Affairs, 2015

Kovalchik SA, Friedman EM, Miles JNV, Slaughter ME, Shih RA, "Racial/Ethnic Composition and Segregation and Trajectories of Cognitive Decline Among U.S. Older Adults," Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 2015

Shih RA, Mullins L, Ewing B, Miyashiro L, Tucker JS, Pedersen E, Miles JNV, D’Amico EJ, "Access to Alcohol Outlets and Its Association with Young Adolescent Alcohol Use," Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 2015

Shih RA, Rodriguez A, Parast L, Pedersen ER, Tucker JS, Troxel WM, Kraus L, Davis JP, D’Amico EJ. , "Associations Between Young Adult Marijuana Outcomes and Availability of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and Storefront Signage. ," Addiction, 2019

Troxel WM, Shih RA, Pedersen E, Geyer L, Fisher M, Haas A, Griffin BA, Kurz J, Steinberg P, Promoting Healthy Sleep in U.S. Servicemembers, RAND Corporation (RR-739), 2015

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services; Public Radio East, NC

Commentary: The Star-Ledger; U.S. News & World Report


  • An elderly couple leaves an evacuation center as a wildfire forces the center itself to be evacuated, Poway, California, October 21, 2007, photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

    Turning Off Power to Combat Wildfires Could Harm the Very People Who Need Protection

    While intentionally shutting off power may be a practical way to prevent power lines from sparking wildfires, is it worth the risks? Until more thoughtful and comprehensive decisions are made, planned power outages need to be planned better.

    Oct 28, 2019 CalMatters

  • Soldiers from the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment catch a few winks before jumping over North Carolina during a training exercise

    U.S. Soldiers Denied Sleep Suffer Major Health Effects

    More than 60 percent of service members don't get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night. About a third get by on five hours or less. The military, and society at large, needs to recognize the importance of sleep as a crucial link to physical and mental well-being.

    May 11, 2015 U.S. News & World Report

  • ballistic missile submarine USS Louisiana returns home to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor

    Quality Sleep at Sea

    The U.S. Navy may be waking up to something sleep experts have known for a long time: that people function best when they follow their natural sleep rhythms.

    May 8, 2014 U.S. News & World Report

  • Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks at the G8 Dementia Summit

    A Global Focus on Dementia

    The Group of 8 industrial nations is convening a special session to seek an international approach to dementia research at a time the disease is being recognized as a 21st century global health crisis of historic proportions.

    Dec 11, 2013 The RAND Blog

  • woman carrying umbrella looking up at sky

    Weather Forecasts, and Our Trust in Them, Need to Improve

    When scientists predict extreme weather that never materializes, lay people tend to wonder what went wrong. This is a natural tendency that is not tied to a failure of the science, but rather to differences in the way scientists and lay people view predictions about extreme events.

    Oct 8, 2013 The Star-Ledger

  • A mother on Staten Island straps a protective mask onto her baby after Hurricane Sandy

    Removing Road Blocks to Climate Change Adaptation Planning

    Despite increasing interest and investments in climate adaptation science, the implementation of adaptation plans through institutional policies or other actions designed to reduce health vulnerabilities has been slow. Institutionalized assumptions are an important roadblock.

    Oct 3, 2013 The RAND Blog