Policy Experts

Meet our team of experienced policy analysts.

  • Naomi Smith

    Naomi Smith is the research policy analyst in the Center for Policy Analysis and Research (CPAR) at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF). She assists with research, data collection, and analysis across critical policy issues related to African Americans and people of African descent. Naomi has published issue briefs focusing on minority access to capital and the state of black-owned businesses. In particular, she analyzed two case studies of post-disaster recovery in Houston, Texas and the landscape of black-owned businesses in Detroit, Michigan.

    Naomi has been instrumental in the planning and execution of national policy forums on voting rights, juvenile justice, STEAM education, and the National Town Hall at CBCF’s Annual Legislative Conference. She has also co-produced the minority access to capital summits that have traveled to six cities across the nation. Most recently, Naomi spearheaded a partnership with the Sojourner Truth Legacy Project to build a database of organizations focused on the interests of black women and girls to help facilitate mobilization around key policy priorities and advance comprehensive policy strategies of engagement with policymakers.

    Ms. Smith is a graduate of the University of Michigan where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science with a minor in Afro-American and African Studies. While at the University of Michigan, Naomi worked in the Office of Academic and Multicultural Initiatives, where she mentored students as an Academic Success Partner and served as a secretary for the Black Student Union. She was also very involved in organizations created to advocate for students of color in an effort to facilitate effective change in her community while educating her peers and neighbors on local, national, and global issues that affect Black people. She currently serves as the co-chair of the Community Service Committee through the University of Michigan Alumni Association.

  • Dr. Regan F. Patterson

    Dr. Regan F. Patterson is the Transportation Equity Research Fellow for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated (CBCF). Prior to joining the CBCF, Dr. Patterson was a postdoctoral research fellow at The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, where she examined the linkages between racial residential segregation and air pollution. She earned her PhD in Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. While at UC Berkeley, she was a recipient of the US EPA STAR Fellowship, the Switzer Environmental Fellowship, and the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Fellowship. Dr. Patterson’s dissertation research focused on the impact of diesel truck emission control regulations and freeway routing policies on air pollution and environmental equity. Parts of her dissertation are published in the peer-reviewed journals Atmospheric Environment and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Additionally, she has conducted air quality research in Kenya and China. Dr. Patterson has taught courses on the environment, environmental justice, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In the past, she interned with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in their Community Engagement Office. She also interned with the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Dr. Patterson is passionate about volunteering with environmental justice organizations. She has volunteered with Communities for a Better Environment on their Just Transition climate justice initiative. She has also volunteered with Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, where she served as a member of the Bayview Hunters Point Environmental Justice Response Task Force. Dr. Patterson is also passionate about her engagement with underserved youth by critically engaging environmental issues and STEM topics. She was awarded the inaugural Kapor Center Impact Award for increasing access to STEM education. Dr. Patterson holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UCLA and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley.