The Oklahoma Policy Institute has hired four new staff members to expand its work in child well-being, health care and revenue, and data analysis, as well as elevated two staff members to take new organizational roles, including helping manage policy initiatives for a new criminal justice collaborative.
Joining the staff are:
- Andrew Bell as Justice Data Analyst,
- Brancen Gregory as Justice Data Analyst,
- Gabrielle Jacobi as Child Well-Being Policy Analyst / KIDS COUNT Coordinator, and
- Emma Morris, who previously served as OK Policy’s Health Care Policy Fellow, as Health Care and Revenue Policy Analyst.
Assuming new positions within the organization are:
- Ashley Harvey, who has moved from data analyst with the research team and now serves as the Youth Justice Policy Analyst, and
- Damion Shade, who moves from criminal justice policy analyst to become a project manager focusing on advancing legislation that increases economic opportunity for justice-involved Oklahomans as part of a new multi-organization collaborative project.
In late summer, OK Policy expects to announce the hiring of three additional policy positions in the areas of criminal justice, housing and infrastructure, and immigration. A Tribal Policy Fellow, a two-year position supported through the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and a one-year Policy Fellow are slated to start in August. Later this year, the organization intends to search for new hires on the outreach team for its Together Oklahoma grassroots advocacy program
The staffing changes are part of OK Policy’s on-going efforts to address Oklahoma’s shifting landscape of policy needs to help ensure a more equitable state where everyone has the opportunity to thrive no matter the size of their bank account, color of their skin, or circumstances of their birth, said OK Policy Executive Director Ahniwake Rose.
“OK Policy has long worked on issues impacting everyday Oklahomans, especially our friends and neighbors who have been historically underrepresented in state policy decision making,” Rose said. “Thanks to support from major local and national funders, we’re able to nimbly restructure and expand our staff to better address needs for Oklahomans statewide.”
OK Policy will continue leveraging its core issues areas of health care, budget and tax, and criminal justice, while the new positions will focus on the areas that were especially laid bare by the pandemic or highlighted by recent state and national events. Additionally, through collaborative work, the team will analyze issues and develop policy recommendations that demonstrate the interconnectedness of policy decisions to support thriving families, healthy Oklahomans, and safe communities for everyone.
Long known for its expertise in data analysis, the expansion of OK Policy’s research team will help support the organization’s policy work and outreach work, as well as provide support for partners, organizations, and agencies working in OK Policy’s various issue areas.
OK Policy is a non-partisan, non-profit organization focused on advancing equitable and fiscally responsible policies that expand opportunity for all Oklahomans through non-partisan research, analysis, and advocacy. Based in Tulsa, the organization was founded in 2008 as a think tank to provide independent, data-driven policy analysis for use in shaping policies that improved the lives for all Oklahomans.
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Andrew Bell, Justice Data Analyst: Andrew joined OK Policy in March 2021. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and is currently working towards a Master of Public Administration. Before joining the organization, he worked in many roles within the field of social science and public policy.
Brancen Gregory, Justice Data Analyst: Brancen joined OK Policy in March 2021. They earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tulsa. After graduation, they worked as a Clinical Data Analyst for the Muskogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health before joining OK Policy.
Ashley Harvey, Youth Justice Policy Analyst: Ashley joined OK Policy as the justice data analyst for Open Justice Oklahoma in September 2018. She previously worked as a research assistant for OSU’s Center for Family Resilience, evaluating various community and grant-funded projects. As an Albert Schweitzer Fellow, she developed and implemented a family strengthening initiative within Tulsa County Juvenile Detention Center. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Human Development and Family Science from Oklahoma State University-Tulsa, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. She is an alumna of OK Policy’s 2017 Summer Policy Institute.
Gabrielle Jacobi, Child Well-Being Policy Analyst / KIDS COUNT Coordinator: Gabrielle joined OK Policy in March 2021 after more than two years as a Program Coordinator at the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas. She is working on her Master of Public Administration and Graduate Certificate in Disaster Management from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Emma Morris, Health Care and Revenue Policy Analyst: Emma joined OK Policy in August 2020, and she previously worked as an OK Policy intern and as the Health Care Policy Fellow. She previously worked within correctional facilities, assisting with employment development and building stronger communities. She earned bachelor’s degrees from the University of Oklahoma and will start the Master of Public Administration program at OU-Tulsa this fall. She is an alumna of OK Policy’s 2019 Summer Policy Institute.
Damion Shade, Justice and Economic Mobility (JEM) Project Manager: Damion has served as OK Policy’s Criminal Justice Policy Analyst since 2018. Before joining OK Policy, he served as an educator at Jenks Public Schools and the Oklahoma School for the Performing Arts. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Oral Roberts University and started several voter registration and political advocacy initiatives during his time on campus.