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:
Professor Jacqueline Angel and a team of students conducted a policy research project addressing how to care for elderly, vulnerable residents in Austin and Travis counties. Requests for abortion in Latin America related to concern about Zika virus exposure
Published in The New England Journal of Medicine
Requests for abortion in Latin America related to concern about Zika virus exposure, by Abigail Aiken
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: January 2017
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.”
Social policy and health scholars wait nervously at the end of each summer for the Census Bureau to release its annual report on Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States. This report is one of the most important national scorecards on our collective health and wellbeing.
Most of us breathed a sigh of relief when we saw the impressive gains in median income and declines in the proportion of us living in poverty and lacking health insurance in this newest release (2015). After years of stagnation, especially for those at the bottom end of the income distribution, incomes grew considerably. This growth occurred for all income levels and race and ethnic groups; in fact, the most vulnerable and disadvantaged among us saw the greatest gains – a fact to truly celebrate.
Despite these important gains, scholars here in the South continue to lament that our region trails the rest of the country. Whereas median household income grew 5.2% for the average household in the U.S., it grew only 2.9% for those of us living in the South. Our poverty rate is 15.3% compared to the national average of 13.5%, and in Texas, we have nearly double the rate of uninsured households (17.1%) than the rest of the country (9.1%).
State-level data will be released tomorrow, so we will have more detailed information on how Texas is doing compared to other Southern states and compared to the U.S. as a whole. But if history is a guide, the numbers will show we have a lot of work to do to live up to the goals we all have for our great state. More than 1 out of every 10 children in the U.S. is born in Texas; therefore, the wellbeing of our Texas children and families fuels the wellbeing of the whole nation. Our growth is not only important for a robust economy and society here in Texas, but it is vital for the health and wellbeing of the country as a whole.
Cynthia Osborne, Ph.D.
LBJ professor and CHASP faculty associate, Dr. Jacqueline Angel, is the co-organizer of the annual International Conference on Aging of the Americas being held on September 14-16, 2016 and Principal Investigator of the NIH/NIA conference related grant.
Angel is a leading expert in policies impacting the aging population. Her research addresses the relationships linking family structures, inequality, and health across the life course, including a special focus on minority aging, the Hispanic population, and older Mexican-Americans.
The International Conference on Aging in the Americas (ICAA) brings together top researchers, speakers, and emerging scholars addressing key issues in aging, health, and policy in the Americas. ICAA is aimed at utilizing research to augment knowledge about dimensions of healthful aging for people of Hispanic and Latin American descent and fostering emerging scholars in the field as this topic rapidly develops as a major policy and national budget issue.
The 2016 conference is focusing on the influences of social and economic contexts on healthful aging in Latino communities across the U.S./Mexico border in cities and towns such as Harlingen, Texas, Las Cruces, New Mexico, San Diego, California, and Chicago, Illinois.
Dr. Peter Ward, LBJ professor and C.B. Smith Sr. Centennial Chair in U.S.-Mexico Relations, is the keynote speaker at the conference dinner on September 14th speaking on “How Place and Space Matter: Intersections between Housing, Health and the Life Course Among Aging Latinos.”
The 2016 ICAA is being held at the UT San Antonio College downtown campus and simulcast at The University of Texas at Austin at the College of Liberal Arts facilities. Details below.
- International Conference on Aging in the Americas website
- 2016 ICAA Website and Agenda – UPDATE: photos from the event are now posted
- Live Stream simulcast at UT Austin – Wednesday, 9/14 – 7:30pm-10:00pm -CLA 1.302E, followed by an all day set of panels on Thursday, 9/15 – 8:00am-5:00pm in CLA 2.606, and ends on Friday, 9/16 8:00am-1:30 pm- CLA 1.302S
- Simulcast online
- more about Dr. Jacqueline Angel
- San Antonio Express News – Latinos enjoy longevity despite socioeconomic woes
“Evidence-based” policymaking is the practice of using rigorous research to make policy decisions. Often, however, the research these policy decisions are based is not actually rigorous and/or can be misused. Though the practice is increasing in popularity, there is little evidence on whether these evidence-based policies actually lead to the intended outcomes once implemented.
LBJ School Associate Professor and CHASP faculty associate Dr. Paul von Hippel was recently awarded a grant from the William T. Grant Foundation to increase understanding of how research evidence is “acquired, understood, and used” in making policy decisions, specifically to benefit youth.
von Hippel will study if a successful randomized controlled trial (RCT) leads to successful policy. He is focusing his research on Project Challenge, Tennessee’s application of evidence-based policy between 1985 and 1993 to increase student achievement by reducing school class-size.
About Project Challenge
Over the 4 school years between 1985-86 and 1988-89 the Tennessee legislature authorized $12 million for an RCT—known as Project STAR—to estimate the relative effects of small vs. large classes, with and without teachers’ aides, in grades K-3. The STAR results showed that small classes increased reading and math scores by nearly 0.2 standard deviations (while teachers’ aides had no effect). In 1989, the state launched Project Challenge, which reduced K-3 class sizes in 17 of Tennessee’s poorest school districts, primarily in Appalachian east Tennessee, map below. After the evaluation of Project Challenge, the state reduced K-3 classes statewide as part of the 1993 Basic Education Plan.
Although Project STAR is one of the most famous RCTs in policy history, its implication that class size reduction can increase student achievement by nearly 0.2 standard deviations is not widely accepted, in part because later class-size reduction policies in California and Florida caused little or no rise in achievement. We cannot expect a small RCT in a small state to predict the consequences of a major policy change in a large state a decade later. Yet we do this frequently. About the only thing reasonably expected is for an RCT to predict the results of a similar policy implemented in approximately the same time and place. That is why it is important to evaluate the effects of Project Challenge.
About Dr. Paul von Hippel
Paul von Hippel studies educational inequality and the relationship between schooling, health, and obesity. He is an expert on research design and missing data, and a three-time winner of best article awards from the education and methodology sections of the American Sociological Association. Before his academic career, he was a data scientist who developed fraud-detection scores for banks including JP Morgan Chase and the Bank of America. More about Dr. von Hippel.