RAND Gulf State Policy Institute Newsletter


Issue 13, January 2012

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

RAND Work Provides Insight into Proposed Reforms

photo courtesy of FEMA

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a part of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), writes the vast majority of flood insurance on residential properties in the United States. President Obama recently approved a short-term extension of the program through November 18, and Congress is working on a five-year re-authorization.

Current legislation includes a number of reforms that could strengthen the program.

Read moreH.R. 1309, the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2011 (PDF Download)

RAND has completed studies in four key areas that offer insight into the issues under consideration.

Read moreRead More

photo courtesy of FEMA

On September 23, 2011 United States Senators Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss., introduced the Disaster Recovery Act of 2011. The Act proposes reforms to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act that are aimed at improving the nation's capability to recover from disasters. On the same date, the National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) was released, providing a conceptual guide to how federal agencies will work together to meet the needs of states and communities during disaster recovery. The proposed reforms to the Stafford Act and core principles of the NDRF cluster around five key areas where RAND has relevant studies that offer additional insight and context for the proposed reforms.

Read moreRead More

RAND in the Region

RAND Gulf States recently partnered with the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) to explore community resilience and climate change—specifically, how communities can prepare for, respond to, and recover from major events such as hurricanes and the slow-moving but potentially devastating effects of rising sea levels, higher temperatures, and fluctuations in precipitation.

In September, MASGC and RAND staff Joie Acosta, Lauren Andrews, Anita Chandra, Amy Coombe, Agnes Gereben Schaefer, and Sally Sleeper met in three Gulf States cities—New Orleans; Biloxi, Mississippi; and Spanish Fort, Alabama—to facilitate discussion among coastal scientists, governments, health and social service agencies, and community-based organizations and to generate informal recommendations. Participants shared ideas about communicating with the public and mitigating the effects of climate change on communities and they pledged to continue the discussion as strategies take shape.

Community resilience is an important research area that integrates RAND's work on several related topics, such as infrastructure, insurance, water resource management, health care, and housing. For more information about RAND's research on community resilience, visit www.rand.org/topics/community-resilience.html.

Recent RAND Research


Hiring Police Officers May Give Cities a Sizable Return on Their Investments

State and local governments in the Gulf region and nationwide face significant fiscal challenges that force policymakers to confront difficult trade-offs as they consider how to allocate scarce resources among numerous worthy initiatives. A new RAND report, Hidden in Plain Sight: What Cost-of-Crime Research Can Tell Us About Investing in Police points to worthwhile payoffs from staffing up the police force.

Read moreFull Document | Commentary

military family

A New Approach for Assessing the Needs of Service Members and Their Families

The authors developed a new methodological framework for assessing military personnel and military family needs. This monograph describes the development and testing of a survey based on that framework that the Department of Defense and local military commanders can use to gauge the problems and needs of service members and their families, how well those needs are being met, and the barriers and bridges to accessing services.

Read moreFull Document | Research Brief

Maptitude GIS map, courtesy of caliper.com

Geographic Information Systems Can Help Health Departments Set Priorities

Despite their efforts, the services provided by local health departments do not always meet the needs of the populations they serve. Geographic information system mapping software provides a promising tool to enhance priority-setting and resource allocation by displaying complex geospatial information in an integrated and visual way, enabling staff to compare where services are needed with where services are provided.

Read moreFull Document


Jordan Fischbach

Jordan Fischbach

Jordan Fischbach is an associate policy researcher at RAND and a Ph.D. graduate of the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Since 2001, the focus of his work as a policy researcher and consultant has been on water resources and infrastructure planning, climate change adaptation, and environmental policy. He has worked extensively to consider the effects of climate change on the Louisiana coast and provide planning support to the State of Louisiana. He was an analyst at The Cadmus Group, Inc. and earned a B.A. degree in history from Columbia University.

Read more about Jordan Fischbach »


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


Sally Sleeper, Director, RAND Gulf States Policy Institute



We invite your suggestions for researchers, projects, centers, and funding or collaboration opportunities to highlight in future issues. Write to us at RAND_Gulf_States_News@rand.org.

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