The Research-to-Policy Collaboration relies on the coordinating power of a handful of staff who are supported by a range of voluntary researchers at various career stages. Working most closely on both brokering researcher-policymaker interactions as well as evaluating processes that optimize their impact are the RPC Co-Directors, Policy Associate, fellows, and interns. Read below to learn more about our exceptional team.
Max Crowley, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Human Development, Family Studies, and Public Policy, and directs the Prevention Economics Planning and Research Program. He is an expert in economic evaluation and the financing of early childhood programs and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine’s Committee on the Use of Economic Estimates to Invest in Children, Youth and Families. This work sits at the intersection of human development, economics and public policy. Max leads multiple efforts to increase the use of evidence in the early childhood and health space in a thoughtful manner that will protect children and the public while mobilizing new resources to support evidence-based programming. Max is a frequent consultant and invited speaker on the economics of prevention for initiatives around the country. This includes ongoing consultation to many Federal and State agencies. Additionally, Max’s work involves utilizing advanced analytic designs, administrative data and technological solutions to optimize preventive strategies.
Dr. Taylor Scott is the Co-Director of the Research-to-Policy Collaboration, one of the various research translation strategies that she oversees as the Director of Research Translation in the Evidence-to-Impact Collaborative. In 2015, she and Dr. Max Crowley launched the Research-to-Policy Collaboration via a pilot supported by the National Prevention Science Coalition. Since then, she has helped to develop it as a replicable, theory-based model as well as demonstrate its effectiveness with rigorous study. She also directs the RPC fellowship training program and oversees scholarly research activities that shed light on the best practices for research translation, science communication, and facilitating productive interactions between researchers and policymakers. In this capacity, she has consulted on myriad activities that bridge research and policy, supported congressional briefings and policy papers, and authored numerous peer-reviewed papers.
Associate director of implementation Science
Brittany Gay earned her Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Her research, which intersects developmental and community psychology, centers on the contextual factors that contribute to the well-being of children and their families. Aligned with her interests in evaluation, poverty, and education, Brittany has worked with organization and programmatic decision makers on issues such as juvenile workforce training, food insecurity, and early literacy engagement, consulting on feasible program goals and evaluation capacity development. She currently supports the implementation of the RPC through outreach to congressional staff and researchers and brokering collaborations between them. She also provides technical assistance for process evaluation.
Jessica Pugel earned her M.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University. Throughout undergraduate and graduate training, she studied how structural factors of our immediate communities affect individuals, groups, and intergroup relations. These findings repeatedly pointed to the need to change the system to effectively improve relations, which contributed to her interest in policy. Her undergraduate honors thesis and graduate thesis both emphasized the importance of intergroup contact (political parties and ethnic groups, respectively). She was able to study yet another type of intergroup contact when she joined the RPC as an intern in January 2020: contact between researchers and policymakers. Now as a research associate, Jessica’s role includes (1) supporting analytic capacity, (2) enhancing researcher engagement, and (3) maintaining partnerships with related organizations.
Research Project Manager
Rachel provides support for the RPC by scheduling meetings with congressional offices, supporting researcher network enrollment and communication, and coordinating Rapid Response events and collaborations. She assists in the RPC’s evaluation by ensuring that implementation efforts are effectively documented and organized for reporting purposes. Rachel manages the RPC’s administrative needs and uses her role to develop and streamline procedures to ensure the group’s efficiency and organization. While earning her B.A. in Psychology, Rachel was involved in the Community Research and Evaluation Team and participated in the Research Scholars program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Associate Director of Policy Operations
Emily Warthman earned her J.D. from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. She also earned master’s degrees in Human Resources Management (Franklin University) and Public Health (Walden University). In previous legal and HR roles, Emily helped create positive work environments in public and nonprofit sectors, including in positions at a large municipality, a leading pediatric hospital, and a state supreme court. She has also worked closely with researchers and public officials on a variety of policy and personnel matters. Her current professional interests include interdisciplinary collaboration, optimizing operations, personnel management, equity in policymaking, and identifying and implementing best practices to support researcher and policymaker interactions. Emily oversees a variety of RPC implementation activities, in addition to fostering trusted relationships between the research and policy communities.
Director of Research and Evaluation
Elizabeth (Beth) Long earned her Ph.D. in Clinical and Translational Science from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her current research interests include investigating ways to improve the use of research in policymaking to improve lives and prevent problem behaviors, especially substance use disorders (SUDs). These interests grew out of her undergraduate and graduate research examining social, neuropsychological, and genetic risk factors related to SUDs, where she came to recognize the significant influence of environmental risk factors for SUDs and related problems, leading to her interest in informing large-scale impact through policy. She joined the RPC in 2018 to lead the quantitative evaluation of the RPC’s impact. More specifically, this work involves (1) survey development and programming; (2) data collection; and (3) data management and analysis. In addition to the quantitative evaluation of the RPC, Beth pioneered the evaluation methodology for examining strategies to optimize electronic research dissemination approaches to improve the reach of research syntheses among policymakers.
Donna provides administrative support for the Research-to-Policy Collaboration by organizing meetings, coordinating projects, managing employee travel, and streamlining procedures to assure the group’s efficiency. Her background as a copywriter, workshop presenter, and a multi-award-winning author has refined her research and writing skills as well as her ability to be an effective communicator. Donna is pursuing a B.A. in Applied Business from Brigham Young University-Idaho.
Laura’s background in crisis management and legal services drew her to the RPC and their mission. She has assisted in practice areas of employment, Title IX, domestic violence, and sexual harassment. She has extensive experience with complex scheduling and building relationships through case management, collaboration, and community outreach. She utilizes this experience to support the implementation and administration of the RPC. Laura is currently pursuing a B.S. in Pre-Law and Justice and Equity studies at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and she intends to gain her J.D. specializing in constitutional law, as well as women, family, and LGBTQ+ issues.
Fellowship and Internship Program
Many research training programs do not offer much training with regard to how researchers can engage and support the policymaking process. Moreover, there is substantial demand among junior scholars for hands-on experiences outside of academic settings. Our fellowship and internship program offers applied training experiences for junior scholars who desire experience with research translation and/or policy research. Applications are taken on a rotating basis.
Selected Interns become involved in at least one project that contributes to their professional development goals. Fellows contribute to the broadest array of activities, and earn this status after contributing 150 hours or more (i.e., approximately one full-time practicum or internship).
Not only does this opportunity provide a valuable training experience, the talented fellows and interns who work with us have expanded our capacity to:
Respond to policymakers’ requests for research evidence and identify experts in the field
Engage research experts from across the country in federal policy efforts
Support events and congressional meetings at the Capitol
Investigate how research evidence can be leveraged in legislation
Evaluate our efforts to disseminate research to policymakers
Present or publish, including peer-reviewed research papers as well as policy and practice briefs