Research Analyst Rachel Bower carries out health policy research and support, quantitative and qualitative analysis, and stakeholder engagement with a focus on health equity.
As a Fellow in the Colorado Science and Engineering Policy Fellowship Program, Rachel worked with Senators Chris Hansen (D) and Bob Rankin (R) on an evidence-based policy proposal for behavioral health needs in criminal justice reform designed to increase funding for alternative-to-police responses, such as co-responders and community response teams. This work involved conducting key informant interviews with stakeholders from local and state government agencies, advocacy nonprofits, and behavioral health providers.
Her background in astrophysics has honed her skills in quantitative and statistical analysis. During her postgraduate work, Rachel researched the causes and scope of the teen nicotine vaping epidemic in Colorado by conducting a literature review of reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment and investigating existing policies to reduce vaping by teenagers. Deliverables for the project included a presentation of the results of her analysis and an assessment matrix of policy options based on health effects, equity, and economic impact.
Rachel was previously Lead Teaching Assistant at the Center for Teaching and Learning at University of Colorado Boulder and Director of the university's Multiculturalism at the Observatory Outreach Program, where she won a grant to establish bilingual English and Spanish outreach programs for the Sommers-Bausch Observatory. In this role, she led a team that developed and promoted public outreach events to teach astronomy and raise awareness of the achievements of Latin American astronomers. As a graduate student, she also led a team of professors and accessibility experts across the university to redesign astronomy laboratory curriculum to be more inclusive for students with disabilities.
Rachel continues to work toward a graduate certificate in public policy analysis at CU Denver. She holds a master's in astrophysical and planetary sciences from CU Boulder and a bachelor's in astrophysics from Rice University.
When not studying, Rachel is a volunteer literacy tutor with the Boulder Public Library. She enjoys whitewater rafting, hiking, cross-stitch, and taking her dog, Fawn, to the dog park.
Skills: quantitative and statistical analysis, data visualization, project design, programming, statistical software, technical/scientific writing, grant writing, presenting/public speaking
- Behavioral Health
- Health Policy
- Criminal Justice Reform
- Health Equity
- Partnering for Success Stakeholder Recommendations for Promoting Behavioral Health Across Colorado’s Criminal Justice Continuum
- Colorado Is Facing a Child Care Crisis
- A Dose of Reality: Prescription Drugs in Colorado
- New County Health Data Spotlight Gaps in Child Care and Economic Security
I Do This Work Because...
I believe there is a great need for evidence-based health policy work. The investment in behavioral health from the recent federal stimulus bills, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the push for evidence-based decision making at the state level (such as SB21-284 Evidence-based Evaluations for Budget) offer an opportunity to establish a strong precedent for data-driven practices that will impact the health of Coloradans for generations to come.