Medical abortion using online telemedicine and self-administered medication can be highly effective with low rates of adverse events according to new research from Abigail Aiken, an assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.
LBJ School of Public Affairs masters students have opportunities to develop their research and policymaking skills in the real world through a cornerstone class called the Policy Research Project (PRP).
Over the past year, students of CHASP director Dr. Cynthia Osborne worked on a PRP project on evaluating the impact of pre-Kindergarten for 3 year olds (Pre-K3) with the Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP), the Austin Independent School District (AISD), and United Way for Greater Austin. The class was part of CFRP’s larger Pre-K3 project, the first evaluation in the nation that will determine whether children who experience two years of public pre-K (at ages 3 and 4) are better prepared for Kindergarten than their counterparts who experience pre-K only at age 4.
AISD, located in the LBJ School of Public Affairs’ hometown, is one of the first large school districts in the nation to offer public pre-K to 3-year-olds. The AISD Pre-K3 program is a voluntary, half-day program that instructs eligible students in English and in Spanish and currently serves 27 district schools. The district’s hope is that starting children one year earlier will chip away at the disparity in performance among students of different socioeconomic statuses, closing the achievement gap and allowing students to start Kindergarten on an even playing field.
The Child and Family Research Partnership is leading the evaluation to help the district assess the impact and successes of the program. For the class, PRP students were trained and then met individually with participating Pre-K3 students and administered two sets of tests, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) for English-speaking children and the Test de Vocabulario en Imágenes Peabody (TVIP) for Spanish-speaking children. During the year-long project, the PRP students learned invaluable lessons including the ins and outs of program evaluation, data collection and security, and data analysis.
For more about the Child and Family Research Partnership Pre-K3 evaluation and work on pre-Kindergarten, go to http://childandfamilyresearch.org/research/eci-prek.
Members of the 2016-2017 Pre-K3 PRP with Dr. Cynthia Osborne: Erick Alvarez Gil, Emily Bresnahan, Juan Cardozo-Oquendo, Carlo Castillo (Teaching Assistant), Bailey Gray, Margaret Hennessy, Dana Johnson, Paige Menking, Sonia Pace, Erika Parks, Elizabeth Petruy, Ann-Charlotte Proffitt, and Nawal Traish. (Photo: Paige Menking)
According to the U.S. Census, 19.7 percent of American children, or 14.5 million, lived in poverty in 2015. Children represented 23.1 percent of the total population in 2015 and 33.6 percent of the people in poverty.
To address these staggering statistics, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) has convened a committee of experts to provide recommendations for federal investment aimed at reducing the number of children living in poverty in the United States by half within 10 years. Dr. Cynthia Osborne, child and family policy scholar with The University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs, has been appointed to the NAS 12-member multidisciplinary committee.
Dr. Osborne is founder and director of the Child and Family Research Partnership, a rigorous academic research center, and also director of the Center for Health and Social Policy, the home of social policy for students, faculty, and alumni of the LBJ School.
The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is a highly respected organization comprised of the country’s leading researchers that provides objective, science-based advice to federal legislators and policymakers on critical issues. Since its founding in 1863, the NAS taps “the energy and intellect of the nation’s critical thinkers” to provide nonpartisan, evidence-based guidance to decision makers in addressing policy challenges.
“I’m honored to be a part of this critical effort to aggressively reduce child poverty in our country,” said Dr. Cynthia Osborne. “Children are our greatest resource, but too many are mired in poverty and do not have the opportunities they deserve to reach their full potential. This committee is charged with identifying what we know works to move today’s children out of poverty, so that policymakers can determine how best to invest in our future.”
The five charges given to the Committee on Building an Agenda to Reduce the Number of Children in Poverty by Half in 10 Years are highlighted below: (Click for the full descriptions)
- Briefly review and synthesize the available research on the macro- and micro-economic, health, and social costs of child poverty, with attention to linkages between child poverty and health, education, employment, crime, and child well-being.
- Briefly assess current international, federal, state, and local efforts to reduce child poverty.
- Identify policies and programs with the potential to help reduce child poverty and deep poverty (measured using the Supplemental Poverty Measure) by 50 percent within 10 years of the implementation of the policy approach.
- For the programs the committee identifies as having strong potential to reduce child poverty, the committee will provide analysis in a format that will allow federal policy makers to identify and assess potential combinations of policy investments that can best meet their policy objectives.
- Identify key, high-priority research gaps the filling of which would significantly advance the knowledge base for developing policies to reduce child poverty in the United States and assessing their impacts.
- The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS)
- NAS Board on Children, Youth, and Families (BCYF)
- Charges of the Committee on Building an Agenda to Reduce the Number of Children in Poverty by Half in 10 Years
Please contact Wendy Gonzales at email@example.com or 512-471-8921 if you would like additional information or to arrange an interview with Dr. Cynthia Osborne.
Transforming Healthcare through Research Collaboration
In the fall of 2014, Seton Healthcare Family and the Center for Health and Social Policy (CHASP) at The University of Texas (UT-Austin) at Austin LBJ School of Public affairs established a research partnership to provide $500,000 in funding support to conduct non-clinical health and social policy research studies that would seed innovative, cross-disciplinary research collaborations and help to improve health policy, health care services delivery, and health outcomes for patients.
AUSTIN, Texas, March 7, 2017 – Angela M. Evans, Dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, recently announced the selection of Associate Professor Todd Olmstead as Associate Dean for Academic Strategies and Associate Professor Varun Rai as Associate Dean for Research.
Each year, the LBJ School of Public Affairs recognizes its distinguished scholars and the contributions to their fields through their published works at Innovation Bound.
CHASP is honored to have several affiliated faculty whose work is being celebrated at this year’s event on February 8, 2017:
Requests for abortion in Latin America related to concern about Zika virus exposure, by Abigail Aiken
Published in The New England Journal of Medicine
LBJ Professor Abigail Aiken examined abortion requests in 19 Latin American countries, finding requests for abortions increased significantly in countries that issued warnings to pregnant women about complications associated with Zika virus infection. View the press release.
Lookin’ for beds in all the wrong places: Outpatient competency restoration as a promising approach to modern challenges, byLynda E. Frost
Published in Psychology, Public Policy and Law
In response to consistently increasing numbers of individuals found incompetent to stand trial, many states have identified alternatives to inpatient restoration. LBJ Professor Lynda Frost captures national data on community-based or “outpatient” competency restoration programs, finding these programs to be promising in terms of high restoration rates, low program failure rates and substantial cost savings.
Home visiting programs: Four evidence-based lessons for policymakers, by Cynthia Osborne
Published in Behavioral Science & Policy
Home visiting programs aim to help low-income parents enhance their parenting skills and improve a host of early health and developmental outcomes for young children. Dr. Cynthia Osborne, LBJ School Professor and Director of the Center for Health and Social Policy, is conducting an ongoing program implementation evaluation to provide policymakers with a greater understanding of how home visiting programs are associated with better outcomes for families, and will provide valuable information to other states that are interested in implementing a similar program.
Updated: April 2017
NEW AWARDEES: Congratulations on the new awardees of the second round of the grant competition funded by the Seton-CHASP Research Collaborative. More information about the winning projects will be shared at the Transforming Healthcare through Research Collaboration Symposium 2017 on Wednesday, April 26th. The 2017 Awardees:
- James Baker, M.D., M.B.A., Dell Medical School – Moving the Needle: Toward Value-Based Integrated Mental Health Services for Patients with Chronic Medical Conditions
- Sarah Kate Bearman, Ph.D., College of Education; Michael Mackert, Ph.D., Moody School of Communication; Abby Bailin, Ph.D., College of Education – Promoting Positive Parenting for High-Risk Families in Primary Care Settings
- Elisa Borah, Ph.D., School of Social Work; Valerie Rosen, MD, Dell Medical School – Veteran Patient Care at Seton: How does Military Cultural Competence Impact Patient Perceptions of Care?
OVERVIEW OF GRANT COMPETITION
The Seton Healthcare Family Research-UT Center for Health and Social Policy Research Collaborative on healthcare transformation seeks proposals from UT faculty and trainees and their collaborators for research projects that address how we can transform health care to more efficiently and effectively meet the physical, mental and social needs of individuals and advance the broader Central Texas capacity to assess the impact of health interventions and improve health outcomes. In this second research competition of the program, we are specifically interested in funding research that promotes novel cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional and/or community collaborations in the area of value-based care: new models of care delivery that are not based on the standard fee-for-service but focus more on delivering value to all involved (patient, provider, payer) with the ultimate goal of improving health. Preference will be given to proposals with activities that address one or more of the following research priorities:
- Methods: Development of innovative methods, or novel application of existing methods, to evaluate the implementation of value-based-care delivery models. Evaluation measures can include, but not be limited to, traditional health services measures (i.e., improved health outcomes per dollar spent), patient preferences, patient experiences, or personal beliefs around their health outcomes. Applicants may consider new methods that will enable “real-time” feedback, or even “predictive” analytics, that can be used to improve care delivery approaches frequently, vs. passive collection of data for months or years before analysis. Applicants may also consider new ways of evaluating care delivery that do not rely on fixed, pre-determined measures but take advantage of data already collected or new data collected over the course of the evaluation.
- Outcomes assessment: Increased understanding of the preferences, biases, expectations, and/or beliefs of patients around new types of value-based care programs. Focus should be on actual programs, such as those that are being deployed with Seton and Dell Medical School, not on general views of value-based care (click for descriptions of programs in women’s health and musculoskeletal care). Applicants may consider projects that will inform the deployment of new care delivery approaches that take into account the patients view, rather than a traditional provider-centric view, and could include shared decision-making between the patient and provider. Applicants may also consider how to assess the cost of incorporating these preferences or new approaches.
ELIGIBILITY FOR THE RESEARCH COMPETITION
- At least one research team member should be on the UT faculty or be a postdoctoral fellow (with support of a faculty member).
- Up to $50,000 in funding (total) may be requested for a period of 1-2 years. No-cost extensions will be allowed.
- Funds can be used for personnel and other research costs as allowed in standard UT budget categories. Indirect costs do not have to be included in project budget; these are charged under the master UT-CHASP-Seton agreement.
- Anticipated funding start date: On or after April 1, 2017.
FULL PROPOSAL REQUIREMENTS
Full proposals are due to the Center for Health and Social Policy by Friday, January 20, 2017. Click for PDF for the Call for Proposals. If you are submitting a proposal, please contact Wendy Gonzales at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information and proposal template. Please also mark your calendars for the second one-day “Transforming Healthcare through Research Collaboration Symposium” on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
The LOIs/proposals should address one or more topical areas of interest to UT CHASP-Seton (described above), have strong methods and rationale, and facilitate collaboration across disciplines or organizations as appropriate. Detailed proposal review criteria will be distributed to all who submit an LOI and will be discussed at the November 10 meeting in Austin.
TIMELINE FOR RESEARCH COMPETITION
- October 17, 2016: 1-page Letters of Intent due
- November 10, 2016, 3-5 pm, LBJ School of Public Affairs (Room 3.124, 2315 Red River St.): Meeting of research program partners and applicants interested in preparing full proposals for the research competition
- January 20, 2017: Full proposals are due
- March 6, 2017: Notification of grant awards
- Anticipated project start date: On or after April 1, 2017
Please contact Wendy Gonzales at the Center for Health and Social Policy at email@example.com with questions about the grant competition.
As always, our CHASP faculty affiliates have been busy this semester. Have a look at what they’ve been working on in addition to teaching:
- Dr. Jacqueline Angel – Angel co-organized the annual International Conference on Aging in the Americas bringing together top researchers, speakers, and emerging scholars addressing key issues in aging, health, and policy in the Americas. The Dallas Morning News recently featured her op-ed “The risks of meddling with Obamacare while the nation’s health is on the line.” Angel was also appointed the new Graduate Advisor for the LBJ School’s Masters in Public Affairs program, replacing another CHASP faculty affiliate, Dr. Pat Wong.
- Dr. Erin Lentz – Top political news outlet, The Hill, featured Lentz’s op-ed “In the fight against hunger, why don’t we prioritize women?” that references her new research project on women’s nutritional outcomes in Bangladesh. Lentz also guested on the popular podcast The Secret Ingredient – The Future of Food on “Feeding Austin’s Hungry.”
- Dr. Cynthia Osborne – Osborne’s newest paper “Home Visiting Programs: Four Evidence-Based Lessons for Policymakers” was published in the journal Behavioral Science & Policy Association. Osborne also celebrated the 5th anniversary of her policy research center, the Child and Family Research Partnership, which is now the largest research group at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. She and CFRP are also hosting the second annual Texas Fatherhood Summit in March 2017 for policymakers, researchers, and practitioners from all over the state and country.
- Dr. Paul von Hippel – von Hippel’s new paper, From Kindergarten Through Second Grade, U.S. Children’s Obesity Prevalence Grows Only During Summer Vacations, was recently published in the journal, Obesity. von Hippel also was awarded a grant from the William T. Grant Foundation to improve the use of research evidence.
CHASP faculty associate Dr. Paul von Hippel’s newest paper, From Kindergarten Through Second Grade, U.S. Children’s Obesity Prevalence Grows Only During Summer Vacations, was published in the journal, Obesity, about a study examining if the rates of childhood obesity grow faster during the school year or during summer vacation. This study builds on von Hippel’s previous work on childhood obesity, published in 2007 in the American Journal of Public Health.
The findings, as described by The University of Texas at Austin News outlet:
- Between the start of kindergarten and the end of second grade, the prevalence of obesity increased from 8.9 percent to 11.5 percent, and the prevalence of overweight children increased from 23.3 percent to 28.7 percent.
- All of the increase occurred during summer vacations. During the school years, overweight prevalence did not change, and obesity prevalence slightly declined.
- Because prevalence increases during the summer, it appears that major risk factors lie outside of schools.
The abstract can be found below and with the full paper at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.21613/full
- UT Austin News: Childhood Obesity and Overweight Rates Rise Only During Summer Break, Not During School Year, Research Shows
- NPR: Children Gain Weight Faster Over Summer Break Than In School
- WebMD: Lazy Summer Days Mean Weight Gain for Young Kids
- NY Times: For Schoolchildren, Weights Rise Along With Summer Temperatures
- ACSH: For Little Kids, School’s Healthier than Summers at Home
- Yahoo News: Summer breaks lead to childhood obesity, not school year
- Medscape: Childhood Obesity Rates Rise in Summer Holidays, Not School Year
- Austin360: Will winter break cause your kids to gain weight? Study from University of Texas would say so
- InForum: Parents, summer is when kids are likely to add on pounds
- Reuters: Summer may be the most fattening time of year for kids
To assess the relative importance of school and nonschool risk factors, this study estimated whether overweight and obesity prevalence grows faster during the school year or during summer vacation.
In the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11, a nationally representative complex random sample of 18,170 U.S. children was followed from the fall of kindergarten in 2010 through the spring of second grade in 2013. Children’s weight and heights were measured in schools each fall and spring. A multilevel growth model was used to estimate growth in mean BMI, overweight prevalence, and obesity prevalence during each summer and each school year.
From the fall of kindergarten to the spring of second grade, the prevalence of obesity increased from 8.9% to 11.5%, and the prevalence of overweight increased from 23.3% to 28.7%. All of the increase in prevalence occurred during the two summer vacations; no increase occurred during any of the three school years.
The risk of obesity is higher when children are out of school than when they are in school.
Congratulations to CHASP director Dr. Cynthia Osborne as she celebrates the 5th Anniversary of her in-house research center, the Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP). CFRP specializes in policy research on issues related to young children, teens, and their parents.
Launched in 2011 to be a resource for local, state, and national decision makers aiming to strengthen families and improve child wellbeing, CFRP has succeeded in providing rigorous research and evaluation to inform policy decisions. CFRP is a large team of full-time staff research associates and graduate students. Dr. Osborne has hired over 100 students over the years giving them unique opportunities to apply and hone real world research skills.
The LBJ School of Public Affairs and Dean Angela Evans hosted a reception celebration with partners and colleagues in late October. At the celebration, Dr. Osborne and the School also honored one of CFRP’s founding partners, Charles Smith, the Executive Commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
Dr. Osborne reflected on the first five years in post “5 Questions for 5 Years.”