Melissa Finucane

  • Senior Social and Behavioral Scientist • RAND Corporation

Melissa Finucane is a senior social and behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation. Also a senior fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawai'i, her interdisciplinary and policy-oriented research focuses on understanding the human dimensions of environmental health risks. 

She is director of the Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities, funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. This integrated program of research and outreach aims to assess and address community impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. 

Finucane is co-investigator with the NOAA-funded Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (MARISA) program, which aims to support decisionmakers in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic states to adapt to the impacts of climate variability and change. MARISA addresses climate-sensitive issues such as flooding, fresh water management, coastal infrastructure, transport, and agriculture.

Finucane is also co-investigator with the Pacific RISA program, which aims to support Pacific Island communities to adapt to the impacts of climate variability and change (related to fresh water resources, coastal erosion, and military infrastructure).

Finucane's NSF-funded research examines relationships among large-scale changes (e.g., impacts of the changing climate or modernization), perceptions of and decisions about environmental and health risks, and community resilience. 

She received her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Western Australia and has more than 20 years of experience working with many different communities around the world.