Debra has extensive experience in leading research, evaluation and monitoring Units in philanthropy. She has been a leader in advancing evidence-based practices in evaluation and building new fields of research. Debra is an expert in designing integrated processes to support evaluation, research and learning across discrete program areas. As the foundation's chief evaluation, learning and monitoring officer, Debra oversees a team of evaluation and monitoring officers and works closely with the grant-making teams to advance the organization's work in its core programs.
Prior to joining Moore, Debra was vice president of Research, Evaluation and Learning (REAL) at the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF). Debra was a member of the senior leadership team where she implemented new approaches for program performance measurement and management that align with program strategy and funding priorities. As the vice president of REAL, she provided leadership and direction for signature efforts in promoting diversity in the evaluation field that included the Expanding the Bench initiative supporting evaluators and researchers of color to acquire skills in equitable evaluation practices. Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity program was launched in the fall of 2015 and included partnerships with major national evaluation firms, multiple funders and universities. Prior to joining AECF, Dr. Perez was the interim vice president for research and evaluation at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where she focused on improving the quality of healthcare, reducing disparities and building the field of Public Health Services and Systems Research. She has connected multiple diverse networks to both the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's work.
Debra earned a bachelor’s in communication from Douglass College; a master’s in social science and women’s studies from the University of Kent in Canterbury, England; a master of public administration from Baruch College, City University of New York; and a Ph.D. in health policy from Harvard University.
Debra is a mentor of emerging and mid-career professionals interested in becoming public leaders. She has received multiple awards including the 2010 Latino Trendsetter Award, the 2011 YWCA Women of Industry Award and the 2015 Hispanics Inspiring Student Achievement (HISPA) Leadership in Mentoring award. She has also received an Honorary Doctorate from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. Most recently as a 2016 Hispanics in Philanthropy HIPGiver, Debra was featured in Latina Style Magazine as one of the Latina leaders in philanthropy.