Alumni Impact Fund 2016: Winning Projects

The votes have been counted and the following two projects will receive Alumni Impact Fund support. Congratulations to the recipients, and thanks to all who supported the 2016 Alumni Impact Fund campaign!

What’s Driving the Opioid Epidemic—And How Can We Stop it?

Opiod prescription bottles and pills

Photo by Steve Heap/Fotolia

The opioid epidemic, which is contributed to by both prescription opioids and illegal heroin, is a critical public health challenge. Opioids killed more than 33,000 people in 2015. With the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act in December 2016, $1 billion has been allocated to find effective strategies for dealing with the problem. RAND has produced a body of research that explores the mechanisms driving the epidemic, including the interactions between the legitimate medical market and a vibrant black market, the effectiveness of state prescription drug monitoring programs, and industry changes like the reformulation of OxyContin. Alumni Impact Fund support is helping the research team outline the benefits of various approaches and compare their relative importance to inform effective solutions and help policymakers decide what strategies to fund.

A Toolkit for Countering Violent Extremism

Close up of hands of people sitting in a circle

Photo by g-shockstudio/Getty Images

Community-based organizations are at the forefront of efforts to confront violent extremism in the U.S. In July 2016, the Department of Homeland Security invited organizations working in this space to apply for funding to help support their programs to counter violent extremism (CVE), and in fact, help stop community members from becoming radicalized in the first place. RAND developed a toolkit in order to help these organizations evaluate their endeavors. The RAND CVE Evaluation Toolkit walks organizations through evidence-based evaluative measures to help identify approaches that are working and to modify or abandon ones that are not. Alumni Impact Funds will help the research team present the toolkit to organizations like the National Academy of Sciences and the International Advisory Committee on Terrorism, as well as to promote it to federal, state, and local government entities that work with CVE programs.

UPDATE: Alumni Impact funding helped RAND introduce the CVE toolkit to community-based organizations through workshops and webinars. The funding also enabled the research team to create two animated videos that introduce the CVE Evaluation Toolkit to law audiences.