USC California Policy Institute to Link Policymakers and Researchers

February 11, 2005

Contacts: Darren Schenck, USC School of Policy, Planning and Development; 213-740-1859

Elaine Lapriore, USC News Service; 213-740-7895

The USC California Policy Institute, a bridge between California’s research and policy communities, will open Feb. 15 in Sacramento.

The nonpartisan institute will disseminate high-quality research about health, education and governance from both USC and non-USC sources. By making the most relevant research available in concise and easily accessible formats, the institute will assist Sacramento policymakers in making better-informed decisions. The institute will also inform the research community of policymaker needs.

The institute will focus initial efforts on the policy areas of health, education and governance. Other issue areas are expected to be added in the future.

“Researchers and policymakers often have different goals, language, time-frames and incentives,” said Walter Zelman, director of the institute and a senior scholar in the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development. “Our mission is to serve as a broker and facilitator for both communities, to bridge the differences between them and to promote the use of relevant research in the policymaking process.”

The institute also will establish direct ties to policymakers and distribute research findings to them; host seminars, conferences and briefings; host graduate students and research fellows engaged in policy-related research; and provide research-based, policy-relevant information to the media.

In keeping with these goals, the institute’s opening will feature a panel discussion on the nation’s obesity-diabetes epidemic featuring Francine Kaufman, professor of pediatrics in the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Kaufman’s new book, “Diabesity,” will be published March 1. Also participating in the panel discussion will be Antronette Yancey of the UCLA School of Public Health and George Flores of the California Endowment.

As most of today’s major public-policy challenges are complex and require multidisciplinary approaches and solutions, the USC California Policy Institute was created as an interdisciplinary partnership between multiple professional schools and research centers, Zelman said.

These schools and research centers include the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development; the USC School of Social Work; the USC Rossier School of Education; the USC School of Pharmacy; the USC School of Dentistry; the Keck School of Medicine of USC; the USC Davis School of Gerontology; the USC Annenberg School for Communication; and the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute.

The institute is housed in the USC State Capital Center at 1800 I St.