Our mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable individuals, children, and families by building knowledge and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of public policy and programs. MEF Associates was founded by Mike Fishman and Mary Farrell in 2009. Our staff members are experts in a wide array of social policy areas and have performed work for federal, state, and private clients.

Current projects include work for the Administration for Children and Families, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Urban Families, and the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. In all of our work, we take pride in our ability to deliver policy relevant solutions based on rigorous research and analysis.


Several MEF staff participated in the 2017 National TANF State Directors’ Meeting.

  • Mary Farrell organized and moderated a session titled “Promising Approaches for Assisting Families with Substance/Opioid Abuse.”
  • Angela Gaffney, Mary Farrell, and Mike Fishman presented a session on “Strategies to Incorporate Behavioral Science into Program Delivery.”
  • Asaph Glosser presented findings from the PACE study on engaging TANF clients in healthcare career pathways program.

Mary Farrell co-authored a report describing early impact and implementation findings from a test of a health care career pathways program in San Diego as part of the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education study.

Several MEF staff participated in research panels at the workshop of the National Association for Welfare Research and Statistics.

  • Sam Elkin presented findings on how state and local systems provide financial support and employment services to newly arrived refugees through the TANF and Refugee Cash Assistance programs.
  • Bright Sarfo presented findings on an RCT of the DAD MAP fatherhood curriculum tested with a sample of low income fathers living in Baltimore, MD.
  • Asaph Glosser presented research on a multi-arm RCT in Los Angeles County as part of the NAWRS Research Academy and qualitative research on child support distribution policy.

Angela Gaffney co-facilitated a workshop for TANF Directors at the Office of Family Assistance Roundtable, Improving Work Outcomes in TANF Programs, in Washington D.C. on June 26th and 27th. The workshop provided participants with a framework to integrate lessons from behavioral economics and human-centered design into program design. Ms. Gaffney facilitated hands-on activities to practice developing and prototyping behaviorally informed strategies to improve program engagement.

Sam Elkin presented at the 2017 American Public Human Services Association’s National Health and Human Services Summit on findings from the brief, “Status of State Efforts to Integrate Health and Human Services Systems and Data.” The panel focused on recent state efforts to increase data interoperability and systems integration.

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