Advisory Groups Help Guide Tech, Community-Partnered Streams

Advisory group illustration, image by Stock Stock

November 26, 2019

Pardee RAND has created external advisory groups to work with the school's two new policy engagement streams. The Tech & Narrative Lab (TNL) Advisory Group launched in June with five inaugural members, and the Community-Partnered Policy and Action Advisory Group launched last month with ten members.

The members of the Community-Partnered Advisory Group are:

  • Ricardo Basurto-Davila, Ph.D. (Cohort '03), principal analyst for the Los Angeles County Chief Information Office, Analytics Center of Excellence (ACE)
  • Elizabeth Benson Forer, M.S.W., M.P.H., CEO of the Venice Family Clinic
  • Ricky Bluthenthal, Ph.D., professor and associate dean for Social Justice, Department of Preventive Medicine, USC
  • Mike Bonin, member of the Los Angeles City Council
  • Cheryl Branch, M.S., executive director of Los Angeles Metropolitan Churches
  • Elise Buik, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles
  • Elaina Houser, legislative director of the Los Angeles City Council
  • Michael Mata, M.Div., M.A., community transformation specialist for Compassion Creates Change, Inc.
  • Bill Pitkin, Ph.D., social equity consultant
  • Raphael J. Sonenshein, Ph.D., executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles

The TNL Advisory Group will work with TNL director Todd Richmond to help guide the lab's development. Inaugural members are:

  • Max Kelly, founder of [redacted], a cybersecurity company
  • Preston McAfee, former chief economist of Microsoft
  • Harper Reed, chief technology officer for the Obama 2012 campaign
  • Peter Rojas, partner at betaworks
  • Leslie Saxon, M.D., executive director of the USC Center for Body Computing

Dean Marquis commented, "The Tech and Narrative Lab is breaking new ground at RAND and in public policy schools with the hands-on cutting-edge application of technology to policy problems. We’ll be using the TNL for experimentation, rapid prototyping, development with a focus on the applications and implications of new technologies to the public interest."

She added, "Our students have a deep interest in effecting real and sustainable change by working with communities. Our new advisors will help us bring Community-Partnered Policy and Action to life as we learn from them LA’s challenges, priorities, and possibilities."

Richmond said his advisory group has offered similar support: "It provides strategic guidance for the structure and function of the lab, with a mix of academic and private sector viewpoints and expertise."

The TNL Advisory Group first met in June and Richmond plans to have them get together in person once a year, with virtual meetings each quarter. The Community-Partnered Advisory Group met in September and will also hold meetings quarterly.