Sierra Smucker

Photo of Sierra Smucker
Associate Policy Researcher
Santa Monica Office


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


Sierra Smucker is an associate policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on violence prevention and behavioral health. At RAND, Smucker has worked on a range of projects including RAND's State Gun Law Database where she focused on Extreme Risk Protection Order laws and firearms laws related to domestic violence. She currently leads a study of the implementation of such laws at the state level. She has also worked on multiple projects related to sexual assault prevention in the military, working to develop a concrete guide to best practices for military service academies looking to improve their sexual assault prevention programming. Smucker's expertise also includes substance use prevention as well as mental health care access. 

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, 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, 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


  • Christina Bojorquez and Kimberly Decoursey pitch a tent in their encampment next to a freeway in Los Angeles, California, October 14, 2019, photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    Unaccompanied Women Become an Official Homeless Subpopulation in LA County

    Unaccompanied homeless women are more likely than other subgroups to be chronically homeless, to have mental illness, and to have work limitations. Los Angeles County is now recognizing these women as a subgroup in the official homeless count. An assessment will also be conducted to identify this group's unique needs.

    Nov 23, 2020 The RAND Blog

  • A woman peeks through a blind in a window, photo by lathuric/Getty Images

    After COVID-19: Prevent Homelessness Among Survivors of Domestic Abuse

    Without assistance, domestic violence survivors are more likely to be forced into homelessness. Now could be the time to invest in programs that help victims—before a second wave of COVID-19 cases pushes more families into unsafe environments.

    Jul 2, 2020 The RAND Blog