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Susan K. Urahn


Susan K. Urahn is executive vice president and chief program officer for The Pew Charitable Trusts. She oversees all of Pew's programmatic work, including research, technical assistance and advocacy campaigns in the United States and abroad, and manages a diverse mix of projects including health, state, consumer and environmental policy initiatives; efforts to advance biomedical and environmental research; and support for Pew's hometown of Philadelphia.

Urahn joined Pew in 1994 as a key member of Pew's planning and evaluation division and directed the department from 1997 to 2000. She subsequently managed a growing portfolio of projects designed to help policymakers at all levels of government identify and implement pragmatic, data-driven solutions to policy challenges.

Urahn has testified before the U.S. Congress and in multiple statehouses, and has presented to groups such as the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Business Roundtable. During her tenure at Pew, she has led important pieces of Pew's research and public-policy portfolio, including projects on pre-K education, fiscal and economic policy, and biomedical health research. She helped launch the Pew Center on the States in 1998 and served as its director from 2007 to 2012.

Before joining Pew, Urahn worked in policy research and evaluation with the Minnesota House of Representatives and at the University of Minnesota. She holds a bachelor's degree in sociology and a doctorate in education policy and administration from the University of Minnesota.

Making medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder more readily available is a cost-effective, life-saving strategy. Some states are showing the way.
Some states are finding ways to make rules easier to navigate and less costly for business while continuing to protect the public's interests.
Technology can help people who don't have lawyers and make courts more efficient.
It can help policymakers prepare their retirement systems for the next downturn while building long-term sustainability.
Many of them are implementing or seriously considering savings plans for private-sector workers. At stake are both the states' and their residents' fiscal well-being.
Debt-affordability studies are a powerful tool for prudent borrowing. Some states are making good use of them.
They can effectively smooth economic bumps. But it's important to have clear rules for how and when to use the money.
There's much that governments can do to lessen the impact of the natural disasters that are becoming increasingly common.
State and local decision-makers are learning to harness it as a strategic asset.
They don't have to produce fiscal uncertainty. States are finding ways to bring these important economic development tools under prudent controls.