International Advisory Council
Elana Needle is the Anchor Collaboration Coordinator at Race Forward and an adjunct professor at New York University. As the Anchor Coordinator, Elana brings 12 nationally preeminent racial justice organizations together to work on short and long term collaborative projects to move the needle on racial equity in the US. The two courses she teaches have an emphasis on racial justice, social movements, and social welfare policy. Previously, Elana worked in the nonprofit leadership development field, at a childhood obesity intervention, in public health, on various women's issues, and on a grant from the EPA. She volunteers with Planned Parenthood and as an alumni interviewer for applicants to Tufts University. Elana received her BA from Tufts University in Women’s Studies, her MA, also from Tufts University, in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, and her PhD from Stony Brook University in Social Welfare.
Throughout her career, Elana researched racial, economic, and gender inequality in the United States. Topics included an intersectional analysis of domestic violence survivors, an assessment of part of TANF legislation, middle school non-academic factors leading to high school drop-out, and the extent to which desegregation in four cities with strong ties to the Civil Rights Movement has resulted in improved socioeconomic status or in greater access to services and amenities for African Americans. Elana’s dissertation applied a Social Determinants of Health theoretical model to childhood obesity, with a special concentration on the school food environment, race, and socioeconomic status.
Depending on the season, Elana can be found training for a marathon, reading a good book, trying to pickle something new, snowboarding, going to see live music, binge watching television, or on a travel adventure.