Chan headshot

Emerson Fellow

Olivia Chan

27th Class, 2020-2021

Born and raised in New York City, Olivia graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in public health and minor in social policy, where she was a Woodrow Wilson Research Fellow, examining barriers to healthy eating and food access through interviews with soup kitchen guests. Her interests center on addressing the social determinants of health—especially in regard to food and housing insecurity, the environment, and educational opportunities—and strengthening our social safety nets to promote health equity. Olivia has worked on healthcare policy with the Century Foundation and served as a human services worker at the Franciscan Center of Baltimore, an emergency outreach center. She has also worked at the Center for a Livable Future on city and state innovations to improve access to healthy foods and supported research on the Philadelphia beverage tax, housing safety in Baltimore, and behavior change interventions for family planning.

Field placement: Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Olivia works with the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative (IFAI), a practical legal research action center dedicated to advancing healthy food systems, diversified economic development, and cultural food traditions in Indian Country. She works closely with IFAI’s research director on efforts to promote Tribal food sovereignty and food security and on the implementation of the “638” authority for the Federal Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). In her role, Olivia researches food procurement policies and procedures, follows USDA developments and Tribal consultations, and develops educational materials to assist Tribes in responding to the USDA’s request for proposals and support effective implementation for this provision.

Policy placement: The Brookings Institution

Washington, D.C.

Olivia Chan worked with the Brookings Institute to provide rapid response research to inform stakeholders in public, private, and social sectors. In her role, she highlighted labor market and economic trends (particularly among low-wage workers, the unemployed, and those without college degrees) and identified policies and programs that can build a labor market offering economic opportunity for everyone.