Center Staff

Sarah Hunter

Sarah B. Hunter

Director, Center on Housing and Homelessness

Sarah B. Hunter (she/her) is a senior behavioral scientist, professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and director of the RAND Center on Housing and Homelessness (CHH).

Sarah B. Hunter (she/her) is a senior behavioral scientist, professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and director of the RAND Center on Housing and Homelessness (CHH). Over a decade ago, Hunter started working in the field of supportive housing. Since that time, she has led numerous studies documenting the impact of supportive housing on service use and associated costs, including initiatives in Los Angeles County (i.e., Housing for Health and Just in Reach Pay for Success) and beyond (e.g., in the Inland Empire and Pima County, AZ). She has also studied programs that provide rapid-re-housing and employment supports for people involved in the justice system. She recently co-led a longitudinal study of veterans experiencing homelessness in West Los Angeles to better understand service utilization and barriers to housing stability.

Hunter currently helps direct several of the center projects, including research to better understand the needs and preferences of transitional aged youth and unsheltered adults experiencing homelessness. Hunter is active in the Homelessness Policy Research Institute, a joint effort by University of Southern California, United Way Greater LA, and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. She received her B.A. from New York University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

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Jason Ward

Jason M. Ward

Co-Director, RAND Center on Housing and Homelessness

Jason Ward is an economist at RAND, co-director of the RAND Center on Housing and Homelessness, and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

Jason Ward is an economist at RAND, co-director of the RAND Center on Housing and Homelessness, and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His work uses the tools of applied microeconomics to study housing and homelessness policy, labor markets, education, health, and links between these domains. His research in the areas of housing and homelessness includes an analysis of housing policy reforms aimed and increasing affordability in New York City through increased housing production, a study assessing the potential for the adaptive reuse of commercial real estate to address the housing crisis in Los Angeles, a study estimating the causal effects of restrictive labor agreements on the production of affordable housing, and an ongoing longitudinal study generating estimates of the size of populations of unsheltered Angelenos in Los Angeles and collecting evidence on the housing needs of this population. Current projects include a study of the adequacy of the Basic Allowance for Housing for Army servicemembers and their families, a study of variation in the effective utilization of housing vouchers around the U.S., and a study comparing cost differences in the production of multifamily housing in California and Texas.

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Tiffany Hruby

Administrative Assistant, RAND Center on Housing and Homelessness

Tiffany Hruby is an administrative assistant supporting multiple researchers whose work focuses on treating substance abuse in primary care, examining the quality of care for veterans, and addressing homelessness.

Lisa Abraham

Lisa Abraham

Associate Economist

Lisa Abraham is an associate economist at RAND. Her research examines mechanisms for gaps in labor market outcomes, with a particular focus on underrepresented groups.

Lisa Abraham is an associate economist at RAND. Her research examines mechanisms for gaps in labor market outcomes, with a particular focus on underrepresented groups. Abraham has examined barriers to the recruitment, retention, and earnings equality of women in high-skill jobs, and has experience partnering with technology companies to acquire novel datasets and operate large-scale field experiments. Abraham completed her Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University in May 2020. Prior to her Ph.D., Abraham obtained an MSc in Economics and Management from the London School of Economics and a B.A. in mathematics and economics from Wellesley College. She was previously the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department and an investment banking analyst at J.P. Morgan.

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Jay Balagna

Jay Balagna

Jay Balagna Assistant Policy Researcher, RAND; Ph.D. Student, Pardee RAND Graduate School

Jay Balagna (he/him) is a Ph.D. student in the Community-Partnered Policy and Action stream at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an assistant policy researcher at RAND.

Jay Balagna (he/him) is a Ph.D. student in the Community-Partnered Policy and Action stream at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an assistant policy researcher at RAND. His research interests include disaster studies, disaster risk reduction and creation, the influence of climate change on disasters, climate-related and post-disaster migration, and the social determinants of health.

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Stephanie Brooks Holliday

Stephanie Brooks Holliday

Behavioral Scientist

Stephanie Brooks Holliday (she/her) is a behavioral scientist and clinical psychologist at RAND.

Stephanie Brooks Holliday (she/her) is a behavioral scientist and clinical psychologist at RAND. Much of her work at RAND has focused on the criminal and juvenile justice system, especially diversion, reentry, and services to prevent future justice-system involvement. She has led and contributed to the evaluation of programs to improve community reintegration in this population, including a focus on employment, behavioral health, and housing needs. Her work has also focused on military and veteran health, mental health, and well-being. Brooks Holliday completed her graduate training at Drexel University and her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the Washington, D.C. VA Medical Center.

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Maya Buenaventura

Maya Buenaventura

Policy Researcher

Maya Buenaventura is a policy researcher at RAND. She employs quantitative and qualitative methods on a variety of projects, including program evaluation and empirical legal studies.

Maya Buenaventura is a policy researcher at RAND. She employs quantitative and qualitative methods on a variety of projects, including program evaluation and empirical legal studies. Prior to RAND, she was a senior research manager at the California Policy Lab at UCLA where she led a portfolio of homelessness prevention projects. She has served as a Los Angeles County Management Fellow for the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs where she designed and implemented programs to address complex policy issues such as high-cost loans and legalization of street vending.

Prior to her career in public policy, she spent seven years as litigator handling defense of consumer finance and product liability matters. She represented asylum seekers, victims of trafficking, and victims of domestic abuse in immigration court on a pro bono basis. She is currently a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate. She is also a member of Homelessness Policy Research Institute (HPRI). She received her J.D. from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. in public policy from the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

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Sophia Charan

Sophia Charan

Associate Engineer

Sophia Charan is an associate engineer at RAND. Her work focuses on understanding the impacts of climate change and the challenges of a clean energy transition.

Sophia Charan is an associate engineer at RAND. Her work focuses on understanding the impacts of climate change and the challenges of a clean energy transition, particularly on vulnerable communities. She has long been interested in housing policy and homelessness. At RAND, she has investigated the effects of housing costs on military personnel and is currently studying how extreme weather from climate change will affect unsheltered Californians. Charan received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Caltech, where she studied air quality.

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Rick Garvey

Rick Garvey

Survey Coordinator

Rick Garvey is a senior survey coordinator in the RAND Survey Research Group.

Rick Garvey is a senior survey coordinator in the RAND Survey Research Group. Garvey has been involved in planning and coordinating both small and large-scale data collection projects in areas of homelessness, HIV and hepatitis, Veterans’ health, criminal justice, adolescent drug use, drug treatment, welfare reform, and survivors of trauma. Since joining RAND in 2000, Garvey has worked closely with homeless, mental health, criminal justice, and social service agencies to establish cooperation and negotiate data collection in underserved areas, jails, shelters, and homeless encampments. He currently manages the UNITY project, a longitudinal study of unhoused Transitional Aged Youth in Los Angeles county with eleven follow-up waves of data collection; two projects working with patients suffering from Opioid Use Disorder; and the LA LEADS project conducting surveys and enumeration of encampments in Skid-Row, Hollywood, and Venice.

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Max Griswold

Max Griswold

Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School

Max Griswold is a policy researcher at RAND and a Ph.D. candidate at the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

Max Griswold is a policy researcher at RAND and a Ph.D. candidate at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His research is focused on behavioral risk factors in epidemiology and policy, with a particular emphasis on alcohol use, substance use, gun violence, and high body-mass index.

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Eli Kohlenberg

Eli Kohlenberg

Research Software Engineer

Eli Kohlenberg is a Research Software Engineer in the RAND Research Programming Group (RPG), focusing on modeling and simulations.

Eli Kohlenberg is a Research Software Engineer in the RAND Research Programming Group (RPG), focusing on modeling and simulations. Prior to joining RAND he worked in the automated quality assurance of shipboard and other mission critical systems. He holds a BS in Engineering Physics and Computer Science from the Tufts University School of Engineering.

Jonah Kushner

Jonah Kushner

Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. Student, Pardee RAND Graduate School

Jonah Kushner is a Ph.D. student at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an assistant policy researcher at RAND.

Jonah Kushner is a Ph.D. student at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an assistant policy researcher at RAND. His research interests include policies to improve health care delivery and address the social determinants of health, increase access to high-quality affordable housing, and promote workforce development and economic security in response to automation and artificial intelligence.

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Samantha Matthews

Samantha Matthews

Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. Student, Pardee RAND Graduate School

Samantha Matthews (she/her) is a Ph.D. student in the Community-Partnered Policy and Action stream at Pardee RAND Graduate School and an assistant policy analyst at RAND.

Samantha Matthews (she/her) is a Ph.D. student in the Community-Partnered Policy and Action stream at Pardee RAND Graduate School and an assistant policy analyst at RAND. She has an M.P.A. and a B.A. in political science and communication from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include criminal justice reform, mental health, homelessness, and housing.

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Ryan McBain

Ryan K. McBain

Policy Researcher

Ryan K. McBain is a policy researcher at RAND. He focuses on the design and evaluation of health policies and programs meant to reach vulnerable populations.

Ryan K. McBain is a policy researcher at RAND. He focuses on the design and evaluation of health policies and programs meant to reach vulnerable populations—including those coping with mental health conditions, HIV/AIDS, homelessness, and poverty. McBain has utilized a wide range of methodologies, including econometric approaches for quasi-experimental analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, and decision analytic models, as well as key informant interviews and focus group discussions. Internationally, McBain has worked with the World Bank, World Health Organization, Harvard University and Partners In Health, where he has focused on evaluating mental health, HIV, and primary care service delivery systems, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and Haiti.

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Colleen McCullough

Research Programmer

Colleen McCullough is a research programmer/analyst with over a decade of experience with data collection, management, analysis, and visualization.

Colleen McCullough is a research programmer/analyst with over a decade of experience with data collection, management, analysis, and visualization. She has worked on projects spanning a range of policy areas and currently works primarily in the health care space. She leads the production of the RAND Hospital Data, a subscription service that provides easy-to-use and cleaned longitudinal datasets combining information pulled from the Healthcare Cost Reporting Information System (HCRIS) and other publicly available health care data sources. In addition, she is lead programmer on a clinical trial investigating whether the collaborative care model can be implemented in primary care to improve outcomes for patients with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

Prior to joining RAND, she worked for 6 years as a data analyst at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where she worked on research examining the impact of electronic health records, quality improvement initiatives, and patient-centered care models on the delivery and measurement of clinical preventive services in small, independent, primary care practices across New York City. Colleen holds an MPA in Health Policy from New York University and BAs in Biology and Psychology from the University of Chicago.

Michelle Miro

Michelle E. Miro

Information Scientist

Michelle R. Miro is an information scientist at RAND. Miro has methodological expertise in water resources modeling, climate data analysis, remote sensing, geospatial analysis, machine learning and decision making under deep uncertainty (DMDU).

Michelle R. Miro is an information scientist at RAND. With a broad portfolio of work across climate resilience and adaptation and disaster recovery for critical infrastructure, with a focus on the water sector, Miro has methodological expertise in water resources modeling, climate data analysis, remote sensing, geospatial analysis, machine learning and decision making under deep uncertainty (DMDU). Her projects include climate risk analyses of national critical infrastructure, climate vulnerability analyses of water supply and demand plans in Southern California and South America, groundwater management in urban and agricultural regions, transboundary water management under a changing climate in the Great Lakes, and extreme precipitation impacts and planning under a changing climate. She holds an MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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Kelsey O’Hollaren

Kelsey O’Hollaren

Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. Student, Pardee RAND Graduate School

Kelsey O’Hollaren is a second-year student at the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

Kelsey O’Hollaren is a second-year student at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His research interests include drug policy (particularly, drug markets and their peculiarities), housing policy in urban areas, and wealth building initiatives for low-income and minority populations. He is a graduate of Seattle University, where he earned a Bachelor of the Arts in economics.

Alina I. Palimaru

Alina I. Palimaru

Policy Researcher

Alina I. Palimaru is a policy researcher at the RAND. Her journey to date has spanned government, commerce, and the media, but primarily academia, where she has garnered extensive mixed methods research experience under world-class tutelage.

Alina I. Palimaru is a policy researcher at the RAND. Her journey to date has spanned government, commerce, and the media, but primarily academia, where she has garnered extensive mixed methods research experience under world-class tutelage. At UCLA, she expanded her interest and capabilities in mixed methods, including psychometrics, in-depth interview, focus group, and video-based methods. Her research focuses on the junction of poverty and health, including health outcomes measurement, quality of life, disability, housing, and food insecurity. She has been studying the impact of quality of care on quality of life in the context of disabling pathologies (spinal cord injury), but also mental health and aging populations.

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Daniel Schwam

Daniel Schwam

Quantitative Analyst

Daniel Schwam is a quantitative analyst at RAND in the Washington, D.C. office.

Daniel Schwam is a quantitative analyst at RAND in the Washington, D.C. office. He holds an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree from New York University. Schwam works across a broad array of subjects at RAND, a majority of which rely heavily on analyzing microdata from a variety of public and private sources.

Alex Sizemore

Alex Sizemore

Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. Student, Pardee RAND Graduate School

Alex Sizemore (she/they) is a Ph.D. student in the Community-Partnered Policy and Action stream at Pardee RAND Graduate School and an assistant policy analyst at RAND.

Alex Sizemore (she/they) is a Ph.D. student in the Community-Partnered Policy and Action stream at Pardee RAND Graduate School and an assistant policy analyst at RAND. She has an M.A. in urban planning from the University of Southern California, an M.A. in curatorial studies from the University of Southern California, and a B.A. in art history from the University of California, Berkeley. Sizemore is passionate about using community engaged research to address poverty and structural racism. Her research interests include homelessness and housing, criminal justice reform, social welfare programs, education, and workforce development.

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George Zuo

George Zuo

Associate Economist

George Zuo (pronounced "zō") is an applied microeconomist at RAND whose research focuses on improving economic mobility for low-income Americans.

George Zuo (pronounced "zō") is an applied microeconomist at RAND whose research focuses on improving economic mobility for low-income Americans. His research has explored topics including broadband affordability, school discipline, housing, and revitalizing low-income neighborhoods. Zuo received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Maryland, where he studied on a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Prior to his graduate studies, Zuo worked as a senior associate in economic consulting at Deloitte and received his B.A. in economics from Harvard University.

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