Geffner, Executive Director, BSPA
Isabel R. Geffner has been named Executive Director of the Behavioral Science and Policy Association (BSPA), part of a new center formed in partnership with Duke University and UCLA and housed at the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI).
In this new role, Geffner will be responsible for organizational and operational development of this new association, product development, financial oversight and management, membership development, and the deployment of actionable top tier behavioral science research across many areas—health, education, environment, finance, public safety, decision-making, etc.—in order to affect policy that can benefit the public interest. A major activity of the association is to coordinate the publication of a new journal, Behavioral Science and Policy (BSP). BSP includes short articles advancing public and private policy proposals and recommendations from leading behavioral scientists. Geffner will oversee the journal, ensuring all articles are designed to be both scientifically rigorous and accessible to a general audience.
Geffner will work closely with the co-founders of BSPA: Sim Sitkin, Professor of Management and founding Faculty Director of the Center on Leadership and Ethics at the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University and Craig Fox, Professor of Management at the UCLA Anderson School, Professor of Psychology at the UCLA College of Letters and Sciences, and Professor of Medicine in the UCLA Geffen School.
“As a seasoned professional whose skills and experience perfectly matched our needs, Isabel was a great catch for us to serve as the founding executive director for the center. We are a new venture that translates and disseminates social science for use by public and private sector decision makers. Her extensive experience in starting new non-profit organizations, publishing in old and new media, and in cultivating organizational networks will serve us well as we grow. Her ability to deal with technical specialists, Nobel Laureates, and organizational executives makes her a great addition to BSP. She is also an absolute pleasure to work with and we look forward to her serving as a key member of our leadership team,” said Sim Sitkin, co-founder of BSPA.
Geffner brings with her experience and expertise from a broad and varied professional career. She spent more than 20 years in trade book publishing in New York City before moving to Durham in 1995. Her last position was Vice President and Deputy Publisher of Dell Publishing, a division of Bertelsmann. Her work in North Carolina has included positions at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke where she worked on DoubleTake magazine (edited by Dr. Robert Coles), UNC School of Education, and, most recently, at Duke Integrative Medicine where she was Director of Marketing and Communications. She also earned a Masters in Social Work at UNC Chapel Hill and founded a policy and community organizing non-profit, The Community Backyard, which examines the mental health and substance abuse of adolescents in several counties in the state.
"I am thrilled to be joining Sim Sitkin and Craig Fox as we launch this ambitious endeavor. I feel confident that our work will help to inform solutions to the most pressing social issues with the very best, rigorous research in the behavioral sciences," said Geffner.