Responding to the reflections on A Portrait of Los Angeles County, Measure of America codirectors Kristen Lewis and Sarah Burd-Sharps first provide an overview of how they applied the Human Development Index to Los Angeles, including the categorizing of different neighborhoods from Glittering to Precarious. They then engage with key issues of ethnicity, incarceration, and the ways different parts of LA County are interrelated and affect each other—all issues that emerge from the reflections by Jennifer Lee, Pedro Noguera, and Kelly Lytle Hernandez and Terry Allen.
Sarah Burd-Sharps is codirector of Measure of America and coauthor of two volumes in the Measure of America series (Columbia University Press, 2008, and New York University Press, 2010), and seven state- and local-level human development reports. She is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and has contributed chapters and articles to a wide range of publications on child poverty, bank lending in low-income communities, social determinants of health, and more. Burd-Sharps’ research on the racial wealth gap was cited in an amicus brief for the Supreme Court in 2016. She received an MA in international affairs from Columbia University. Prior to joining the SSRC, she worked for the United Nations for two decades. Her last position was as deputy director of the UNDP’s Human Development Report Office where she worked on global human development reports on globalization, human rights, and environmental issues and national human development reports on every continent. In the year leading up to the 1995 Beijing UN Women’s Conference, Burd-Sharps headed UNIFEM’s office in China, where she supported the nascent NGO movement there. She worked for the UN in China for four years and has worked in sixteen African countries.
Colleagues from the SSRC’s Measure of America program discuss how research on human well-being can shape policies to enhance it. Using the program’s in-depth research in Sonoma County, California, as a case study, the authors show how their findings of surprising disparities can effect change through local partnerships and strategies to communicate results in ways that resonate with a wide range of community members.