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 (she/her) is director, Social and Behavioral Policy Program, and a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation with over 15 years of research experience on the intersection between environmental health and behavioral health. She coleads the California Neighborhoods Count study, a survey sponsored by the State of California that will reach 20,000 households in 174 neighborhoods across the state, and will measure the success of California’s unprecedented efforts to encourage participation in the 2020 U.S. Census. 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 effects of lead exposure and ambient air pollution. Her behavioral health work includes (1) improving sleep policies in the military; (2) identifying multi-level risk and protective factors for adolescent substance use; and (3) evaluating public health approaches to improving dementia caregiving. 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.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Board Member, National Alliance for Caregiving

Recent Projects

  • California Neighorhoods Count
  • Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Access to Home- and Community-Based Services
  • Age Friendly Initiatives and Community Resilience
  • Public Health Approaches for Dementia Caregiving
  • Neighborhood Characteristics and Cognitive Decline

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

Siconolfi D, Ahluwalia S, Shih RA, Friedman E, Saliba , "Engagement of providers and advocates in a rebalancing initiative to increase HCBS access for Medicaid beneficiaries," Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 2020

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

Shih RA, Rodriguez A, Parast L, Pedersen ER, Tucker JS, Troxel WM, Kraus L, Davis JP, D’Amico EJ, "U.S. prevalence and predictors of informal caregiving for dementia," Health Affairs, 2015

7.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

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

Ahluwalia SC, Friedman EM, Siconolfi D, Saliba D, Phillips JL, Shih RA, "Promises and Pitfalls of Health Information Technology for Home- and Community-Based Services," Journal of Applied Gerontology, 2021

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


  • Men hold flowers during a vigil at a makeshift memorial outside the Gold Spa following the deadly shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, March 21, 2021, photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

    Asian American Lives and Livelihoods Don't Just Deserve Our Qualified Support

    Racism against Asian Americans is deeply rooted in the history of the United States. Enduring stereotypes about and bias towards Asian Americans, as well as lack of concern about them, have had long-standing harm on Asian American lives and livelihoods. What can the Asian American community and its allies do?

    Mar 22, 2021 The RAND Blog

  • 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