Sierra Smucker

Sierra Smucker
Policy Researcher
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in public policy analysis, Duke University; M.Sc. in social policy research, London School of Economics


Sierra Smucker (she/her) is a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on family health and wellbeing and protecting families' most vulnerable members. To that end, Smucker works in a range of topic areas including gun violence and substance misuse prevention, and domestic violence intervention and policy publishing in academic and practitioner focused outlets. Smucker is currently leading a study to develop a tool to help first responders identify the dominant aggressor in relationships with violence. In the last year, she published an initial evaluation of an innovative model to address elder abuse which incorporates shelter as well as healthcare, legal services, and social support. A leading expert in domestic violence and firearm policies, Smucker also studies the ways state policies impact rates of homicide and suicide linked with family violence and has published multiple studies about gun violence. She recently led the development and maintenance of the RAND State Firearm Law database which is held as one of the premiere databases for firearm policy analysis.

Smucker holds a degree in American history from Occidental College and an M.Sc. in social policy from the London School of Economics. She earned her Ph.D. from Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy.

Selected Publications

Smucker, Sierra, Esther M. Friedman, Meagan Cahill, Jirka Taylor, John Daly, Regina A. Shih, An Initial Evaluation of the Weinberg Center for Elder Justice’s Shelter Model for Elder Abuse and Mistreatment, RAND, 2021

Whitaker, Laura, Sierra Smucker, and Stephanie Brooks Holliday, Whitaker, Laura, Sierra Smucker, and Stephanie Brooks Holliday, A Gap Analysis of the Los Angeles County Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act Portfolio, RAND Corporation (RR-A1663-1), 2022

Smucker, S., Pedersen, E. R., LaBrie, J. W., D’Amico, E. J., Farris, C., Klein, D. J., & Griffin, B. A., "There and back again…safely: Examining students’ reports of substance use and sexual assault prevention program receipt prior to departure abroad.," Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 2019 (forthcoming)

Smucker, Meadows, and Beckman, "Use of Electronic Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products among Active Component Services Members. Military Medicine ," Military Medicine (Forthcoming), 2023 (forthcoming)

Smucker, Sierra, Eric R. Pedersen, and Terri Tanielian, "Improving Behavioral Health Care Access and Treatment Options for Veterans with Co-Occurring Behavioral Health Problems," RAND Working Paper, 2019

Sierra Smucker, Rose E. Kerber, Philip J. Cook, "Suicide and Additional Homicides Associated with Intimate Partner Homicide: North Carolina 2004–2013," Journal of Urban Health, 2018