What is the “What We Know” Project?

The “What We Know” Project is an online research portal based at the Center for the Study of Inequality at Cornell University that marks a path-breaking convergence of scholarship, public policy and new media technology. Focusing on several pressing public policy debates, What We Know brings together in one place the preponderance of scholarly evidence that informs these debates so that policymakers, journalists, researchers and the public can make truly informed decisions about what policies and positions best serve the public interest.

How are the studies for the literature reviews chosen?

The studies are selected using multiple methodologies ranging from snowball sampling to systematic reviews, and are buttressed by input from scholarly subject matter experts. Different reviews use different methodologies that are specific to the discipline and topic. All studies must be peer-reviewed, published in a scholarly journal, and directly relevant to the policy question at hand. For more information on our methodologies, click on the methodology link in the summary of each literature review.

Who Operates the “What We Know” Project?

What We Know is a project of Cornell University. Its Director is Dr. Nathaniel Frank, an historian of American social and public policy. Its Principal Investigator is Kim A. Weeden, the Director of the Center for the Study of Inequality, Jan Rock Zubrow ’77 Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor and Chair of Sociology at Cornell University. What We Know is governed by a distinguished Board of Advisors. Our information appears below.

Faculty and Staff

Nathaniel Frank, Ph.D., Project Director

Nathaniel Frank, director of the What We Know Project, is an historian of social policy, and author, most recently, of Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America (Harvard University Press, 2017). Nathaniel is an internationally recognized authority on LGBT equality and public policy, having served as an expert witness in two successful Constitutional challenges to the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in federal courts. Best known for his research work on that policy, he wrote the critically acclaimed Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America (2009), which won the American Library Association’s Stonewall Book Award for non-fiction. A frequent contributor to Slate, Nathaniel has also published in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Washington Post, Huffington Post, The Atlantic, The New Republic, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer, his hometown newspaper. Click here to visit his personal site.

Kim A. Weeden, Ph.D., Principal Investigator

Kim A. Weeden is the Director of the Center for the Study of Inequality, Jan Rock Zubrow ’77 Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor and Chair of Sociology at Cornell University. She studies the institutional bases of rising income inequality; the measurement of inequality; social class position and its effects on political behaviors, social attitudes, and life chances; race, class, and gender inequalities in educational decision-making and outcomes; and gender inequality in earnings and other labor market outcomes. Click here to visit her personal site.

Kellan Baker, Senior Researcher

Kellan Baker is a health policy researcher focusing on issues affecting sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations. He is currently the Centennial Scholar in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he is pursuing a doctorate in health services research with a focus on transgender health and economic evaluation. He was previously a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he worked on SGM health and data collection policy, conducting research and analysis on nondiscrimination, cultural competency, insurance reform, and health system transformation. Kellan is also a Health Policy Research Scholar with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and has consulted on SGM health and health equity issues with the Joint Commission, the Open Society Foundations, and the National Institutes of Health, among other organizations. He holds a BA with high honors in astrophysics and Russian literature from Swarthmore College and an MPH and MA from George Washington University.

Board of Advisors

Philip Cohen

Philip Cohen is professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. He has conducted extensive research on families, gender, work, and inequality. He has consulted with the U.S. Census Bureau on household measurement issues, as well as publishing in demography and sociology journals on these questions. His book, The Family: Diversity, Inequality, and Social Change, was published in 2014. In addition to scholarly articles, his work has appeared in the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Atlantic, Boston Review, and elsewhere. He is the co-editor of Contexts magazine, and has served on the boards of the Population and Family sections of the American Sociological Association.

Naomi Goldberg

Naomi Goldberg is a policy specialist at the LGBT Movement Advancement Project (MAP), where she leads the organization’s LGBT movement research analyses and also conducts research in support of MAP’s public policy work. Prior to joining MAP, Ms. Goldberg was the 2008-2010 Peter J. Cooper Public Policy Fellow at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, where her research focused on adoption  and foster care, domestic partner benefits, and the issues affecting older LGBT Americans. She received a Master of Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and graduated magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College. Her work has been published in the Journal of Health Psychology, Archives of Sexual Behavior, Journal of Family Theory & Review, PolicyMatters, Michigan Journal of Public Affairs, and TaxNotes.

Daniel LoPreto

Daniel LoPreto is an acquisitions editor at Stanford University Press, and a writer based in Minneapolis. Prior to joining Stanford, he worked at Bold Type Books (formerly Nation Books), Oxford University Press, Columbia University Press, and several bookstores in and around New York City. He holds a Master’s degree in political science from Fordham University.

Diane Mazur

Diane Mazur is Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Florida and former Bigelow Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. She serves as adviser to the National Institute of Military Justice, Senior Editor for the Journal of National Security Law and Policy and Legal Co-Director of the Palm Center. In 2010, she published A More Perfect Military: How the Constitution Can Make Our Military Stronger with Oxford University Press. Previously, Professor Mazur served as an aircraft and munitions maintenance officer in the US Air Force.

Kimberly Mutcherson

Kimberly Mutcherson is Vice-Dean and Professor of Law at Rutgers School of Law-Camden. Her scholarly work focuses on issues at the intersection of health law, bioethics, and family law with a particular interest in assisted reproduction and the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. Her writing has appeared in the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, Nevada Law Journal, Minnesota Law Review Headnotes, and Yale Journal of Law and Feminism. Prior to joining the Rutgers faculty in 2002, she served as a Kirkland & Ellis Fellow at the HIV Law Project (HLP), where she focused on impact litigation and policy work for underrepresented populations. Professor Mutcherson is an associate with the Center for Children and Childhood Studies at Rutgers–Camden and, in 2006-07, was a fellow with the Rutgers Institute for Research on Women/Institute for Women’s Leadership Interdisciplinary Seminar on Health and Bodies. She has also served as a board member for the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia. She is a faculty advisor for OutLaws, Rutgers’ association for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender law students and the Black Law Students Association. She received the Center for Reproductive Rights Innovation in Scholarship Award in 2013, the Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2011, and the Women’s Law Caucus Faculty Appreciation Award in 2011 & 2014.

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