Elizabeth Thornton

Elizabeth V. Thornton
Policy Analyst
New Orleans Office


M.A. in climate and society, Columbia University; B.A. in mass communication, Loyola University New Orleans


Elizabeth Thornton is a policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. She also serves as the program coordinator for the RAND Water and Climate Resilience Center (WCRC).

Her research interests include climate change adaption, community and urban resilience planning, socioeconomic implications of disaster, program evaluation, and stakeholder engagement. Thornton's recent work includes assessing and addressing public health, social, and economic impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Gulf Coastal communities; evaluating a district-wide school climate and safety improvement program in Jackson, Mississippi public schools; conducting semi-structured interviews with law enforcement agencies on suicide prevention and mental health promotion programs; emergency management and community resilience strategy development for Gulf State community health clinics; and evaluating a city-led career training program connecting disadvantaged job seekers in New Orleans to opportunities in the advanced manufacturing and energy sectors.

Prior to joining RAND, Thornton was the regional development director for a long-term disaster recovery organization's Hurricane Sandy Recovery Program. She was also a working group manger at the Clinton Global Initiative, where she managed a cross-sector, multi-stakeholder working group on residential energy efficiency.

Thornton holds an interdisciplinary M.A. in climate and society from Columbia University and a B.A. in mass communications from Loyola University New Orleans.

Recent Projects

  • Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities
  • Supporting Resilience Capacity as Part of the Gulf Region Health Outreach Program's Emergency Management Initiative
  • Developing Knowledge About What Works to Make Schools Safe: Implementation and Evaluation of Restorative Practices in Jackson Public School District
  • Creating Career Ladders for Unemployed and Underemployed Workers in New Orleans
  • Firearm Violence in Louisiana: Suicide Psychological Autopsies