Welcome to the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute

About the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute

RAND created the Gulf States Policy Institute in 2005 to support hurricane recovery and long-term economic development in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Today, RAND Gulf States provides objective analysis to federal, state, and local leaders in support of evidence-based policymaking and the well-being of individuals throughout the Gulf States region. RAND Gulf States is dedicated to answering the region's toughest questions related to a wide range of issues that include coastal protection and restoration, health care, and workforce development.

Examining Our Impact

Gulf States map

Established in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute tackles tough questions in the topic areas relevant to the region's long-term economic development and the well-being of its residents. For example: How to protect the coasts from future storms? How to provide housing and health care for a population in need? How to educate tomorrow's workforce? And how to ensure energy and transportation for a growing economy?

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Recent News and Reports

  • Cheerful doctor places adhesive bandage on preteen girl's arm, photo by SDI Productions/Getty Images

    Capacities of Health Systems in Climate Migrant Receiving Communities: Insights in the U.S. Gulf Coast

    Climate shocks and stresses and the process of movement have the potential to influence people's physical, mental, and social health and well-being. How do different communities' health care systems interpret the needs of climate migrants?

    Mar 1, 2023

  • Rescue workers help people after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico, September 20, 2017, photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

    Social Vulnerability Shapes the Experiences of Climate Migrants Displaced by Hurricane Maria

    For climate change migrants from Puerto Rico, underlying neglect, discrimination, and other social processes transformed Hurricane Maria from a hazard to a disaster with devastating economic, social, and physical and mental health effects. However, migrants were also able to draw on their faith, community and educational institutions, and new neighbors as sources of strength and coping.

    Feb 21, 2023

  • Bayou at Dauphin Island in Alabama, photo by paulbriden/AdobeStock

    Resilience in the Bayou

    How are the Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities and the University of South Alabama are supporting local communities in understanding, withstanding, and overcoming stressors brought on by the Deepwater Horizon disaster? A short film tells that story.

    Feb 1, 2023

  • Deepwater Horizon oil spill, photo by William C. Bunce/AdobeStock

    Human Health and Socioeconomic Effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico

    The Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill is the only declared Spill of National Significance in US history, and it significantly impacted the health of people and communities in the Gulf of Mexico region. These impacts amplified adverse effects of prior disasters and may compound those of future traumas.

    Feb 1, 2023

  • Top down aerial view of waves coming ashore on a shingle beach, photo by Nick Beer/AdobeStock

    Disaster Experience, Social Capitals, and Behavioral Health

    On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, and oil spilled from the breached well-head for months, leading to an unprecedented environmental disaster with implications for behavioral health. What are the relationships between different forms of social capital on different behavioral health indicators?

    Jan 25, 2023

  • An American flag flies from one of the homes lining the Bayou in Lafitte, Louisiana, photo by E. M. Winterbourne/AdobeStock

    Perceived Environmental Threats, Place Attachment, and Natural Resource Employment

    Southeast Louisiana is a region prone to disasters and is facing slower moving threats, such as coastal erosion and environmental pollution. What are some factors predicting willingness to move, in the face of environmental threats, among residents of Southeast Louisiana?

    Jan 25, 2023

  • Educating Newcomers

    Educating Newcomers: A Research-Practice Conversation

    RAND researchers highlight findings from a recent study that estimates the number of children and youth from Central America and Mexico crossing the Southwest border of the United States from 2017 to 2019, as well as findings on policies and practice from two case study school districts in Louisiana and California.

    Aug 4, 2022

  • RAND researchers Jessie Riposo, Abbie Tingstad, Susan A. Resetar, and Jordan R. Fischbach.

    Climate Change and Implications for Disasters in the United States: Examples from the Arctic, Caribbean, Northeast, and Gulf States

    Climate change is contributing to more frequent and more severe disasters. In this video, three climate researchers from the RAND Corporation discuss climate change and risks for disasters in the United States. They focus on several regions: the Arctic, the Caribbean, the Northeast, and the Gulf states.

    Jun 10, 2022

  • Members of the Cajun Navy transport loggers to clear power lines after Tropical Storm Florence caused massive flooding in Whiteville, North Carolina, September 17, 2018, photo by Randall Hill/Reuters

    What's Missing From Community Disaster Response? The Whole Community

    Across the United States, significant gaps exist in disaster response needs and capabilities. Community volunteers have stepped up to fill those gaps where possible. They may need more support and resources.

    Nov 9, 2020

  • Crab fisherman Mike Taylor Jr. shows his catch of blue crabs in Pointe a la Hache near New Orleans, US, 6 April 2015. 20 April 2015 marks the 5th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico which took place on 20 April 2010. Photo by Johannes Schmitt-Tegge/dpa/Alamy Live New

    Building Community Resilience to Large Oil Spills

    How can communities build resilience to large oil spills? This report examines the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and how communities' resilience to similar threats could be improved.

    Jul 6, 2020

  • Blue crab in the Gulf of Mexico, photo by MeliaMuse/Getty Images

    The Impact of the Deepwater Horizon Spill on Commercial Blue Crab Landings

    An examination of the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill suggests the spill resulted in substantial, short-term losses to the blue crab fishery. The fishery also exhibited a high degree of resilience and recovered quickly, but the spill may have changed the composition of the industry.

    Feb 10, 2020

  • Louisiana has received attention for new education policies and promising early results. This video describes Louisiana's approach to improving student outcomes since 2012 and summarizes potential policy implementation challenges.

    Raising the Bar: Louisiana's Strategies for Improving Student Outcomes

    Louisiana has received recent attention for some of its new education policies and promising early results. This video provides an in-depth description of Louisiana's approach to improving student outcomes since 2012.

    Dec 4, 2019

  • Traffic on flooded street, photo by Allkindza/Getty Images

    Creating a Water Risk Index to Improve Community Resilience

    What are the physical, social, economic, and environmental factors that contribute to flood vulnerability? An analysis demonstrates two methods to combine water hazard data with a derived water vulnerability index to characterize water risk.

    Oct 23, 2019

  • Flood Damage Reduction Benefits and Costs in Louisiana's 2017 Coastal Master Plan

    Louisiana's coastwide master plans include substantial investments in coastal restoration and hurricane flood risk reduction over 50 years. Modeling of different future scenarios showed implementing the plans could yield net economic benefit for coastal Louisiana in many plausible future scenarios.

    Oct 23, 2019

  • Portrait of young engineer woman working in factory building, photo by serts/Getty Images

    What Works for Job Training Programs for Disadvantaged Workers

    Can workforce development programs resolve the mismatch between the talent available and the skills in demand? An evaluation of the New Orleans Career Pathways program offers insights that should be helpful to anyone striving to create or improve such programs.

    Oct 17, 2019

  • Person pointing at a public transit map, photo by Rawpixel/Getty Images

    Incorporating Resilience into Transportation Planning

    A resilient transportation system is one in which critical assets are not exposed to hazards or, if they are, there is sufficient capacity to mitigate the negative effects. How can transportation planners better incorporate resilience into their decisionmaking?

    Oct 16, 2019

  • A teacher and a student presenting to class, photo by FatCamera/Getty Images

    Elevating Teacher Voices, Along with Their Salaries to Professionalize Teaching in Louisiana

    Salary raises have a direct impact on teachers' day-to-day lives. But efforts like those in Louisiana to elevate teachers' voices, and not just their salaries, are more likely to make a real difference for the teaching profession by creating a clear career ladder. The state's efforts could also be cultivating a teaching force that is providing students with the curricula and instruction they need to achieve at higher levels.

    Sep 18, 2019

  • A man walks among debris at the Mudd neighborhood, devastated after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, September 6, 2019, photo by Marco Bello/Reuters

    Hurricane Recovery in the Bahamas: Turning Good Intentions into Good Decisions

    Recovery in the Bahamas will have to be a balancing act. Plans will need to allow for transition toward long-term strategic goals for the nation, but also be mindful of not perpetuating inequities.

    Sep 6, 2019

  • Prisoners gather around a computer following a graduation ceremony from a computer coding program at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California April 20, 2015

    Higher Education Programs in Prison Reduce Recidivism

    Evidence shows that correctional education programs are effective—and cost-effective—at improving employment outcomes for participants and at helping to keep them from returning to prison. But given limited budgets, how can the long-term funding of these programs be sustained?

    Aug 28, 2019

  • Boil water alert sign in Florida Keys after hurricane, photo by Jodi Jacobson/AdobeStock

    Reaching Vulnerable Populations in the Disaster-Prone U.S. Gulf Coast

    U.S. Gulf Coast responders are faced with a unique challenge when it comes to delivering risk and crisis communication to residents. Engaging in pre-crisis planning with vulnerable populations, and assessing response strategies, can help the region prepare for future disasters.

    Aug 21, 2019

  • Flooded roads and landscapes in Houston, Texas following heavy rains, photo by Casey E Martin/Adobe Stock

    Ensemble-Based Flood Vulnerability Assessment for Probable Maximum Flood in a Changing Environment

    The magnitude and frequency of hydro-meteorological extremes are expected to increase in a changing environment in ways that threaten the security of U.S. energy-water assets. A proposed framework better illustrates uncertainties to inform decisionmaking for future emergency preparation.

    Jun 28, 2019

  • A teacher overseeing a class geography project, photo by Rawpixel.com/Adobe Stock

    What Other States Can Learn from Louisiana's School Reform

    Louisiana's education policy changes aim to improve outcomes for public school students statewide. How well are these reforms working? Analyses of the state's early efforts to reshape its education system point to several early successes, remaining challenges, and key lessons.

    Jun 10, 2019

  • Workers greeting each other at a drilling site

    Educators and Employers Could Align Efforts to Fill STEM Jobs

    Middle-skills STEM workers are in high demand in the oil and natural gas industry, but they need the proper training and credentials. Better collaboration between employers and colleges could bridge the gap between the skills and knowledge employers seek and what instructors emphasize.

    Feb 7, 2019

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