At Bright Research Group we challenge our clients to advance social change by learning from their consumers.


About Bright Research Group

Our services are built on the simple belief that clients, communities, and the organizations that serve them are resourceful and hold the solutions to many of our most pressing challenges in health, education, and community development.

We are a cutting-edge women- and minority-owned consulting firm based in Oakland, California.

Our mission is to help public systems and social impact efforts become more responsive to the needs, preferences, behaviors, strengths and voice of consumers and communities.

Our clients are public systems, foundations, non-profit organizations and private companies who are looking to:

What We Do


Consumer_and_Stakeholder ResearchConsumer and Stakeholder Research

We help our clients access, understand, or transform their relationships with target communities, consumers, and the organizations that serve them. Through consumer research, we focus on the demand-side factors of social innovation. We help organizations ask the right questions of their end users to generate insights about how programs and initiatives can become more consumer-centered. These data-driven insights upend many assumptions that underlie current programming, leading to changes in overall strategy.

  • Design of community-outreach initiatives
  • Community engagement
  • Organizational assessments
  • Field research (observations, focus groups, interviews, pop-ups, community summits, town halls, videography)
  • Consumer and stakeholder surveys
  • Webinars
  • Participatory action research
  • Facilitation of design workshops with consumers
  • Market research / segmentation analysis
  • Quantitative analysis of program data
  • Health-equity analysis
  • Community health needs assessments
  • Journey mapping
  • Data visualizations and infographics
  • Consumer-system fishbowls/workshops

Strategic_Advising_DesignStrategic Advising, Design, and Evaluation

Using our Strategic Thought Partnership approach, we offer a different kind of research and evaluation consulting that’s focused on using data for learning. We engage in rigorous conversations with our clients about their theory of change and what they hope to achieve through their investments and efforts. We help our clients design and test innovations in community health and strategically deploy their resources to promote equity. Through developmental evaluation, we help our clients to cultivate an innovation mind-set and tell their story.

  • Strategic Guidance and Advising on Health Equity and Access
  • Strategic Planning
  • Strategic Investment Planning
  • Organizational Assessment
  • Data System Infrastructure Consulting
  • Developmental Evaluation
  • Evaluation Planning
  • Outcome Evaluation
  • Cost/Benefit Analysis
  • Data Visualization and Infographics
  • Strategic Communications
  • Policy Brief /White Paper Development
  • Strategic Communications and Storytelling
  • Program Design and Planning


Capacity_BuildingCapacity Building

Our services build community capacity to achieve sustainable and long-lasting change. The social sector benefits from a rich network of public and private partners committed to social justice and equity. Through our services, we challenge the notion that greater accountability alone yields greater impact. We believe that strengthening the capacity of this network to use data, ask questions, and approach their work with curiosity will produce better outcomes for consumers and communities. Through technical assistance, training, and coaching, our clients become more adept at collecting, analyzing, and using consumer data to inform their work.  We challenge the public sector and other social innovators to integrate consumer research as a central part of how they do business.

  • Technical Assistance and Coaching
  • Training Planning and Coordination
  • Organizational Assessments
  • Participatory-Action-Research Trainings
  • Strategic Communications
  • Data Visualization and Infographics
  • Facilitation of Consumer-System Collaborations
  • Best-Practices Research


Our Team

We are a boutique consultancy. Our team is multi-lingual, culturally diverse, and seasoned in delivering consultant services. Our team has core competencies in community health, family-/consumer-driven care, health-care reform, cultural and linguistic access, co-production of public services, family strengthening, youth development, community schools, community policing, and criminal justice.

Brightstar Ohlson
Principal and CEO


Brightstar has led the design and evaluation of innovations to strengthen community health and promote equity for the past 15 years.  A bilingual/bicultural English/Spanish speaker, Brightstar is personally and professionally committed to promoting more equitable relationships between communities of color and public systems, as well as broadening the number of stakeholders that are engaged in solving organizational and community problems. She holds a master’s degree in education from the University of New Haven and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Yale University.

Kristina Bedrossian
Managing Director


Kristina is a researcher and policy analyst specializing in data-driven program design, strategy, and evaluation in community health. Her strategic insights allow clients to understand, improve, and communicate the value of programs and policies that empower low-income communities and communities of color. Her work experience includes applied research, development, and public relations in nonprofit, public agency, and research settings. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social welfare from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree in public policy from UCLA.

Vanetta M. Thomas
Research Associate


Vanetta is responsible for evaluation and capacity-building projects in Bright Research Group’s public health prevention portfolio. Her work experience includes applied research methods, community and civic engagement as well as project management in both academic and nonprofit settings in the public health field. Most recently, Vanetta was a Research Associate at CAMI Health— an initiative of the Public Health Institute. She holds a master’s degree in Public Health from Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University.

Alejandro Jimenez Jaramillo
User Researcher


Alejandro is a multi-disciplinary problem-solver with skills in qualitative interviewing, quantitative data management, and information infrastructure development. He is committed to reducing barriers to self-determination for marginalized communities by supporting the design and implementation of responsive and equitable public systems. His work experience includes teaching, action research, and data collection, analysis, and visualization. Most recently, he was a New Sector Rise Fellow working on the evaluation team at First Place for Youth in Oakland, CA. He holds a bachelor’s degree in neurobiology from Harvard.

Cara Carrillo
Training Coordinator


Cara brings over 15 years of non-profit administration and management experience to her work with Bright Research Group supporting training and technical assistance for Oakland Unite grantees. Her non-profit experience has ranged from education to social justice and policy advocacy to mindfulness and leadership development, having worked at PolicyLink and Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute. She has since transitioned to a career as an Integrated Wellness and Life Coach and is excited to blend her love of coaching, program management, and community building to support the great work of the Oakland Unite network. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Anthropology from Mills College.

Timaj Siraj


Timaj is responsible for contract administration, research assistance and coordination, and client communications. Her work experience includes operational and strategic support for business operations and budgeting in various industries, including healthcare, finance, and technology. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from UC Berkeley.

Pearl Mar


Pearl is responsible for business and office management, executive administrative duties and coordination, finance and project support, and client communications. Her work experience includes administrative assistance, customer service, and social media and event coordination at non-profit organizations in the youth empowerment and health care fields. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Psychology from Soka University of America.

Our Network

We are anthropologists, researchers, policy analysts, family members, consumers, designers, software developers, and advocates for equity. We rely on a network of seasoned senior-level researchers with expertise in evaluation design, graphic design and visualization, and community health and development.

Moira DeNike, PhD – Senior Consultant

Erika Van Buren, PhD – Senior Consultant

Jesus Verduzco, MCP – Senior Consultant

Ed Dorrington – Software Developer

Daniel Saenz – Design Consultant

Work at Bright Research Group

Bright Research Group is always looking for smart, critical thinkers to join our team. If you think you are interested in a job with Bright Research Group, please send your resume and a cover letter describing your skill set and why you’d like to work with us to


Our Impact

Our clients share a common commitment to improving access and equity, a recognition that social problems require new solutions, and a desire to use data on an ongoing basis to inform their work.

Here are a few samples of our impact with our clients.

OFCY Strategic Plan

Oakland has received an influx of private, state, and federal investments to reduce inequity and support positive child and youth development. OFCY engaged Bright Research Group to facilitate a community-informed strategic planning process for its 2016–2019 investment of $40 million.

Read More »

Covered California Program Design

BRG developed the program design and strategy for Covered California’s grassroots enrollment effort. We brought the State a “trusted messenger” model that engaged 2,000+ community-based partners to enroll market segments. BRG served as the primary author for this plan.

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Data Visualization of Tobacco Retail Survey

BRG conducted a health-equity analysis of the retail environment in San Mateo County based on the 2013 Retail Survey. This analysis found differences in access to tobacco in low-income jurisdictions and is being used by advocates to create healthier retail environments.

View Data Map »

Connecting Kids to Coverage Brief

BRG partnered with Alameda County to gather consumer data and test program strategies for a school-based initiative that enrolled over 3,000 uninsured children and their families in affordable health insurance. This policy brief reflects on lessons learned in the Initiative’s first year.

Read More »

Elev8ing Family Voice in West Oakland

While a social determinants of health perspective provides a useful framework for targeting resources, it can inadvertently portray impacted consumers in a disempowering light. Funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies, we partnered with Storytellers for Good to capture how African American parents are strengthening schools and communities in West Oakland.

Watch the Video »

Co-Learning for Family-Driven Care

Funders are increasingly interested in supporting equitable and respectful relationships between communities of color and public systems. BRG facilitated joint-governance meetings with family members and mental health service providers and developmental evaluation to capture best practices for co-producing family-driven care.

Read More »

Videos About Our Clients

Our Clients

Our clients are state or county agencies, city departments, school districts, foundations, nonprofits, and private companies.

African American Wellness Project

Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services

Alameda County Health Care Services Agency

Center for Healthy Schools and Communities

Health Insurance Technician Unit

Alameda Health System

Alliance for Girls

California Health Care Foundation

City of Berkeley Public Health Division

City of East Palo Alto

City of Oakland

Department of Human Services (Oakland Unite)

Neighborhood Services Division

Oakland Fund for Children and Youth

Workforce Investment Board

First 5 Alameda County

Leadwell Partners

Oakland Unified School District

Public Interest Projects

Qeyno Labs

Rane Community Development

Resource Development Associates (Oakland Police Dept., Measure Y)

Richard Heath & Associates (Covered California)

Safe Passages

San Francisco Department of Public Health

San Mateo County Health Department

Behavioral Health and Recovery

Health Policy and Planning

Tobacco Prevention Program

The Atlantic Philanthropies

The San Francisco Foundation

Urban Habitat

Youth Impact Hub


Our Publications

View Our Publications

Valuing Girls’ Voices: Lived Experiences of Girls of Color in Oakland Unified School District

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CKC Thriving Students, Healthy Outcomes, The Role of School Districts in Health Care Reform

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Alameda County Early Connections System of Care: The Co-Learning Project

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Assisters Program Design Options: Work Plan for the California Health Benefits Marketplace

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2009-10 Evaluation of Elev8 Academic Support Program

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Elev8 Youth and Family Perspectives on Community Schools

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Oakland Elev8 Community School Costs and Benefits: Making Dollars and Cents of the Research

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Preparing Youth for Successful Transition to High School: Annual Brief

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Elev8 and Sustain: Lessons on Full Service Community School Sustainability from Elev8 Oakland

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Measure Y to Measure Z Transition: Summary of Key Changes and Prior Evaluation Recommendations August 2015

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Oakland Fund for Children and Youth Strategic Investment Plan

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Health Inequities in Berkeley: Summary of Findings and Recommendations from Community Engagement

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OUSD Wellness Program Evaluation Report

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“It was such a pleasure working with you. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with the quality, thoroughness, thoughtfulness, and timeliness of your work.”

— Janet Berreman

Public Health Division, Berkeley

“Just a quick note of appreciation, and thanks for the good, hard work you’ve been doing to develop and implement an ‘evidence based’ grant-making process. You’ve created a good review and analytic process that will serve us well on many fronts:

  • Selecting the best possible partners
  • Ongoing oversight
  • Modeling and sharing “best practices”
— Peter Lee

Executive Director, Covered California

“We’re so grateful that you are our evaluators for TFP and look forward to partnering with you all in providing TA to our partners! Thank you for also valuing community strengths and capacity building in your approach to community research. We’re lucky to have you all!”

— Allie Hu

TFP, San Francisco

“This report is excellent—the best documentation of the work I have had thus far—so I thank you.”

— Michelle Oppen

Program Manager, Oakland Unified School District Wellness Program

Contact Us

To learn more about how Bright Research Group can help your organization maximize its impact, please call or write to us and we will be in touch with you shortly.

You can reach us by phone at:

(510) 238-9948

To write to us, please fill out this form:

Bright Research Group