RAND Gulf State Policy Institute Newsletter


Issue 10, March 2011

A periodic report on key public policy findings and activities of the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute

RAND in the Region

Adm. Thad Allen

Managing the Unexpected: Lessons Learned about How to Respond More Effectively to Disaster

RAND Gulf States hosted Admiral Thad Allen, Senior RAND Fellow, Retired Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, and National Incident Commander for the response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as he discussed his experiences leading the nation's high-profile response to two national emergencies—the oil spill and Hurricane Katrina. Allen discussed the need to establish and maintain unity of command during response efforts, the need to coordinate among government agencies and nonprofit and private organizations to streamline response and recovery, and the importance of improving the resilience of communities prior to disaster to aid in more rapid recovery post-event. Allen said, "We need a long-term doctrine that has clear exit points for moving from response to recovery. The incident that keeps coming to mind is the transition from emergency shelter to long-term shelter after Hurricane Katrina."

Heather Schwartz

Improving the Academic Performance of Low-Income Students

Recent research suggests that the academic achievement of low-income children improves when they are integrated into affluent schools. Should U.S. schools include a mix of low-income and more affluent students? What are the potential obstacles and benefits? Heather Schwartz, a RAND Corporation associate policy researcher, described the research and led a group discussion at a public event in the RAND Gulf States Jackson office. Schwartz studies housing and education policy at RAND Gulf States in New Orleans and is currently co-leading a project to examine an economically integrative housing program in 10 cities to test whether the housing provides low-income children access to low-poverty schools.

Recent RAND Research

cover of TR915

Building Community Resilience to Disasters: A Way Forward to Enhance National Health Security

Community resilience, or the sustained ability of a community to withstand and recover from adversity, has become a key policy issue. This report provides a roadmap for federal, state, and local leaders who are developing plans to enhance community resilience for health security threats and describes options for building community resilience in key areas.

Read moreFull Document | Research Brief | News Release

boy doing times tables

Reauthorizing No Child Left Behind: Facts and Recommendations

Congress and the Obama administration should use the upcoming reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 to promote more consistent and rigorous academic standards across states, as well as more consistent and relevant teacher qualification requirements.

Read moreFull Document | Research Brief

students raise hands

Using Student Performance to Evaluate Teachers

Performance-based teacher evaluations should incorporate multiple measures of performance. Use of student test scores must support valid, reliable inferences. Evaluating teachers of nontested subjects/grades may require supplemental assessments.

Read moreFull Document | Research Brief

children holding pictures of military family members

Views from the Homefront: How Military Youth and Spouses Are Coping with Deployment

A recent study offers guidance for supporting the well-being of family members left behind when soldiers deploy. The findings from this longitudinal study of the emotional well-being of youth from military families and their caregivers have implications for targeting support programs to the subgroups that would benefit the most.

Read moreFull Document | Research Brief


U.S. Military Should Improve Behavioral Health Programs in Response to Rising Number of Suicides

U.S. military officials should improve efforts to identify those at risk and improve both the quality and access to behavioral health treatment in response to a sharp rise in suicide among members of the nation's armed forces.

Read moreFull Document | Research Brief | News Release


Anita Chandra

Anita Chandra

Anita Chandra is a behavioral scientist and manager of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Group at the RAND Corporation. Her background is in public health, child and adolescent health, community resilience, and community-based participatory research and evaluation. Chandra and Joie Acosta were lead authors on a recent RAND report about community resilience. They conducted a literature review and a series of community and regional focus groups to define community resilience in the context of national health security and to identify components for building resilience. The report is a roadmap for resilience; it describes activities that communities are pursuing and may want to strengthen for community resilience and it identifies challenges to implementation. Chandra is also lead author of a new RAND report about how to support the families of deployed soldiers. Chandra received her Doctorate of Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Read more about Anita Chandra »

Joie Acosta

Joie Acosta

Joie Acosta is a RAND behavioral scientist. She provides managerial, research, evaluation, and technical expertise on projects related to the implementation of public health; preventing violence and substance abuse; emergency preparedness and response; and systems change. Acosta is a co-author on the recent RAND report about community resilience and another report about how to prevent suicide among members of the U.S. armed forces. Acosta received her Ph.D. in Community and Cultural Psychology at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Read more about Joie Acosta »

Visit us online at www.rand.org/gulf-states


Sally Sleeper, Director, RAND Gulf States Policy Institute



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