About


Why BetaGov

Most policies and practices—such as how we educate our children, deliver healthcare, rehabilitate incarcerated individuals, or house those without homes—have never been methodically tested. Conducting rigorous evaluation research has traditionally involved academic researchers, government funders, and bureaucratic red tape that can delay implementation and inhibit dissemination of findings. As a result, many policies intended to make us smarter, safer, or healthier are not tested and are not based on empirical data.

By promoting a more scientific approach, BetaGov's goal is to significantly increase the pace of learning within health services, social services, criminal justice, education, and other domains to identify what works and what doesn't.

The private sector has long relied on simple, pragmatic randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to improve efficiency and performance. BetaGov supports the use of these same techniques to inform policy solutions for today’s most challenging health and social problems.

Who We Are

BetaGov helps policymakers and government agencies promote innovation in the public sector. Our team includes psychologists, economists, policy experts, clinical researchers, statisticians, and consultants with decades of experience planning and conducting RCTs and collaborating with stakeholders in the field. Supported initially by funding from Give Well and Good Ventures, and by subsequent funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and the Smith Richardson Foundation, our services are provided at no cost to users.

What We Do

BetaGov engages the experience, expertise, and initiative of our practitioner partners and their clients to help them identify local problems and develop local solutions. Our team helps practitioners:

  • Determine whether an idea is feasible for an RCT.
  • Determine that the trial meets ethical guidelines and level of supervisory oversight requirements.
  • Clearly articulate study aims and hypotheses.
  • Identify essential trial components (e.g., design, sample, measures, procedures).
  • Determine what data will be used for analysis.
  • Identify data-collection tools.
  • Prepare a trial protocol to outline what will be done and how.
  • Train the field team to support in-house trial implementation.
  • Determine appropriate statistical and data-analysis approaches.
  • Clean data, prepare frequency tables, and conduct analyses of trial data.
  • Educate practitioners about RCTs through “Pracademia” training.
  • Prepare regulatory applications and trial registration.
  • Prepare written and oral presentations of trial results.

Randomized
Controlled Trials

States

States with BetaGov-Appointed
Agency Employees

Our Team


Angela Hawken, Ph.D.
Angela Hawken, Ph.D.
Director

Angela Hawken, Ph.D., is a Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management and director of the Litmus program. As founder and director of BetaGov, she works closely with practitioners to identify areas for policy and practice improvement.

Maureen Hillhouse, Ph.D.
Maureen Hillhouse, Ph.D.
Associate Director

Maureen Hillhouse, Ph.D., is associate director of BetaGov. Her expertise is in the development and implementation of clinical trials. Dr. Hillhouse also provides expertise on regulatory issues, data collection, instrument development, and statistical analyses.

David Farabee, Ph.D.
David Farabee, Ph.D.
Co-Director

David Farabee, Ph.D., co-directs BetaGov. He is also professor-in-residence in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA and a principal investigator at the Integrated Substance Abuse Programs. Dr. Farabee's expertise ranges from conducting criminal justice randomized controlled trials to data analysis and publication.

Ariana Anderson, Ph.D.
Ariana Anderson, Ph.D.
Statistician

Ariana Anderson, Ph.D., is a statistician and provides assistance with data analyses, including identifying patterns of behavior and associated interventions. An assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA, Dr. Anderson's research focus is creating algorithms to improve screening and treatment for mental-health disorders.

Sara Arango Franco, M.S.
Sara Arango Franco, M.S.
Statistician

Sara works as a Data Scientist for the Litmus team and BetaGov. She provides assistance with data management, processing and analysis. She holds a masters in Urban Informatics from NYU's Center for Urban Science and Progress, and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Engineering. She has been a researcher in structural engineering at Purdue University; in optimization and microeconomics at the Center for Mathematical Modeling at Universidad de Chile; in urban models at the Research Group in Spatial Economics from Universidad EAFIT, and in energy demand modeling at New York University's Urban Observatory.

Jonathan Kulick, Ph.D.
Jonathan Kulick, Ph.D.
Senior Project Director

Jonathan Kulick, Ph.D., co-directs the Swift Certain Fair Resource Center and manages a portfolio of research and technical-assistance projects in crime, drugs, and governance. He provides his expertise on BetaGov trials in the criminal justice arena.

Walter Ling, M.D.
Walter Ling, M.D.
Senior Advisor

Walter Ling, M.D., is a board-certified addiction psychiatrist and neurologist. He is one of the founders and first Director of the Integrated Substance Abuse Programs at UCLA. He has conducted clinical research focusing on medication development of pharmacotherapies for substance use disorders involving opioids, cocaine, and methamphetamine, and has authored more than 220 books, chapters, and journal articles. Dr. Ling will provide guidance in support of research pertaining to substance use disorders, with an emphasis on innovative treatment approaches for opioid use disorder.

Jonathan Stewart
Jonathan Stewart
Chief of Staff

Jonathan Stewart is the chief of staff of Litmus, which includes BetaGov. In this role, Jon is responsible for Litmus strategy and developing new initiatives. At BetaGov, Jon is leading trials in policing. Previously, Jon worked as a Financial and Economic Analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He holds an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business with concentrations in Finance, Economics and Social Innovation and Impact.

Dan Pacholke
Dan Pacholke
Senior Advisor

Dan Pacholke worked in the Washington Department of Corrections for over 33 years, holding multiple positions including correctional officer, prison superintendent, and State Department of Corrections Secretary. His responsibilities included overseeing prisons, community corrections, health services, offender change, and reentry. Known for implementing innovative practices, he has recently led reforms in restrictive housing, including congregate programming. He will provide his expertise as Senior Advisor to BetaGov on corrections issues.

Sandy Felkey Mullins, J.D.
Sandy Felkey Mullins, J.D.
Senior Advisor

Sandy Felkey Mullins, J.D., is a Senior Research Scholar in the Litmus program at NYU's Marron Institute. Ms. Mullins served as Washington State Governor Jay Inslee's senior policy advisor on public safety and government operations. Previously, she served as director of the WA Department of Corrections Office of Executive Policy, executive director of the WA Sentencing Guidelines Commission and Sex Offender Policy Board, and executive director of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar. She will serve as Senior Advisor in BetaGov to provide her expertise in policy issues for trials in public safety, education, and social service.

Eraka Bath, M.D.
Eraka Bath, M.D.
Medical Director

Eraka Bath, M.D., is a medical director working with BetaGov. An assistant professor at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute in the David Geffen School of Medicine, Dr. Bath's expertise is in diagnostic assessment and forensic consultation with adolescents.

Yiwen Zhang, M.P.P.
Yiwen Zhang
Assistant Project Director

Yiwen Zhang assists in the development and implementation of randomized controlled trials. Ms. Zhang's expertise includes project management, monitoring trial fidelity, and supporting partner agencies.

Ellyn Schwaiger, M.P.P.
Ellyn Schwaiger
Assistant Project Director

Ellyn Schwaiger assists in the development and implementation of randomized controlled trials. Ms. Schwaiger's expertise includes project research, implementation, and coordination, as well as marketing and graphic design.

Kelly Smith
Kelly Smith
Assistant Project Director

Kelly Smith assists in the development and implementation of randomized controlled trials. Ms. Smith's expertise includes data and quality assurance, project implementation, fidelity monitoring, and data management.

Michelle Zaragoza, M.P.P.
Michelle Zaragoza
Assistant Project Director

Michelle Zaragoza assists in the development and implementation of randomized controlled trials. Ms. Zaragoza's expertise includes project management, process coordination, and support of partner agencies.

Lauren Rilling
Lauren Rilling
Assistant Project Director

Lauren Rilling assists in the development and implementation of randomized controlled trials. Ms. Rilling's expertise includes project research, implementation, and coordination.

Michelle Straubel
Michelle Straubel
Assistant Project Director

Michelle Straubel assists in the development and implementation of randomized controlled trials. Ms. Straubel's expertise includes marketing and social media.

Brian Perrochet
Communications Analyst

Brian Perrochet is an Associate Research Scholar in the Litmus program. Brian collaborates with Litmus principals to pursue funding for research assistance activities supported by the BetaGov component of Litmus.

Ken Booker
Ken Booker
Webmaster

Ken Booker provides his expertise in web development and database administration.

Anna Chen
Anna Chen
Research Assistant

Anna Chen is a research assistant with the Litmus program and a senior at the NYU Stern School of Business. She studies finance and economics at school and has work experience in investment research and digital media.

Dena McAllister
Associate Research Scholar

Dena McAllister, A.B.D., assists in providing randomized controlled trial support between BetaGov and partner agencies. Her expertise is in the field of education with an emphasis on literacy remedial programs and on students with disabilities, particularly students with autism.

Lukas McAllister
Project Assistant

Lukas McAllister is a project assistant at the NYU Marron Institute. He conducts research in support of the Litmus studies related to autism and anxiety. As an individual on the autism spectrum, he brings first-hand knowledge to the conversation. Luke is currently navigating the demands of getting a college education.