Jess Downey is the manager for the Center for Wildfire Smoke Research and Practice and also a faculty researcher for the Ecosystem Workforce Program, both of which are located within the Institute for Resilient Organizations, Communities, and Environments. With their background in healthcare, Jess is interested in the intersections between smoke and public health. Jess received a master's in community and regional planning at the University of Oregon, where they supported local government planning for natural hazard mitigation and wildfire resilience.
Prior to joining UO, Jess worked in applied social science research at Oregon State University's College of Forestry, working on governance issues at a variety of scales, from local practitioners to state and federal agencies. Much of this research focused on improving capacity grant program monitoring for watershed councils and soil and water conservation districts as well as identifying gaps in US Forest Service contracting structures and processes to center workforce equity for H-2B Latinx workers while pursuing wildfire risk reduction goals. Prior to doing research, Jess worked as a registered nurse for seven years at a teaching hospital in North Carolina and a local clinic in Oregon.
Master in Community and Regional Planning, University of Oregon (2021)
Bachelor of Science in Nursing, James Madison University (2011)