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 (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. Her recent work includes an intital evaluation of an innovative model to address elder abuse which incorperates 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. Smucker also works with military partners and veteran organizations to develop best practices for combating key issues such as sexual assault, suicide, and substance misuse.

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 (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


  • Black family with older parents looking at financial records, photo by Alina555/Getty Images

    Protecting the Elderly from Financial Exploitation

    Older adults are more vulnerable to scams and more likely to have money and assets than their younger counterparts of the same race/ethnicity. Policy solutions that provide protection against financial fraud could help older adults to live more financially stable lives.

    Oct 14, 2021 The RAND Blog

  • 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