About Us


RAND is a nonprofit institution that works to improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. Approximately 1,700 people from more than 50 countries work at RAND, representing diversity in work experience; academic training; political and ideological outlook; and race, gender, and ethnicity. Staff working on health-related issues work to provide the scientific basis for improving understanding of factors that drive health and health behaviors, and for enhancing service delivery, system performance, and organizational effectiveness.

Project ALERT was developed and empirically tested by researchers at RAND back in the early 1980s. Phyllis Ellickson and a team of RAND researchers developed Project ALERT as a drug prevention program delivered by teachers in 7th and 8th grade classrooms. Two randomized field trials in the Western and Midwestern United States established Project ALERT as an effective drug prevention program for youth. Initial support for Project ALERT was funded by the Hilton Foundation, who in 1990 established the BEST Foundation for a Drug-Free Tomorrow, which supported and maintained Project ALERT for over 20 years. The BEST Foundation worked diligently to disseminate Project ALERT, update project materials regularly, and transition the training and materials into its current Internet-based format. As of 2014, Project ALERT is managed by researchers and support staff at RAND. Funding to ensure that Project ALERT materials remain free of charge currently comes from grant funding and foundation support, including the continued generous support from the BEST Foundation.

The team supporting Project ALERT at RAND is well-established and capable of continuing to meet the needs of educators and students. Our team is comprised of professionals in the fields of education, clinical psychology, and political science, with expertise in areas of substance abuse prevention, adolescent health, program evaluation, research methods, and implementation science.