Announcements

April 2020: MPC Funding for COVID-19 Rapid Response Projects

As part of the University of Minnesota Rapid Response to COVID-19, MPC is matching funding for members who are taking on COVID-19 research. We wish we had the capacity to fund every request – but we are excited to announce the first grants approved.

MPC Member: Ryan Demmer

Asymptomatic COVID-19 surveillance and transmission among the healthcare workforce

The goal of this proposal is to set up a pilot and feasibility study necessary to establish surveillance of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) carriage among healthcare workers in Minnesota. Early evidence suggests that ~50% of transmission occurs from asymptomatic individuals.1-4 Understanding this dynamic among healthcare workers is extremely important for informing infection models to support decision making in response to the pandemic. However, to date, most states have limited testing capacity and are focusing only on high risk symptomatic individuals and therefore ignores asymptomatic carriers. Importantly, our healthcare workforce will become essential to an effective pandemic response but asymptomatic carriage among individuals who will be in contact with many uninfected patients and family members creates a significant vulnerability for propagation of COVID-19 even in the face of significant social distancing. To address this issue, in collaboration with the Knight Lab at the University of California San Diego, we propose to conduct sentinel surveillance to inform asymptomatic infection prevalence over time among healthcare workers and subsequent transmission dynamics. Specifically, we will establish an infrastructure to test 500 healthcare workers over the course of one month; scale up will follow pending additional funding.

MPC Member: Ruby Nguyen

Optimal Procedures for Providing Effective Domestic and Sexual Violence Services in Minnesota During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The overall aim of this study is to determine the optimal procedures for providing effective domestic violence services in Minnesota during the COVID-19 pandemic. This goal will be achieved with 3 sub-aims: 1) Conduct a needs assessment of the domestic violence service agencies to address issues identified in the previous Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) needs assessment of only agencies servicing sexual exploitation/trafficking (conducted among 27 grantees of the MDH Safe Harbor program); 2) Collect statewide data on the temporal changes in the number and types of requests for assistance, including the incidence of gender-violence; and 3) Develop recommendations on optimal procedures to provide effective services for the remainder of the pandemic, and immediately afterward with the depletion of current resources. This study will inform agencies throughout the state, and provide legislators data and recommendations for future funding of these essential services.

MPC Member: Susan Marshall Mason

Rapid Deployment of School-based Mental Health Providers During the COVID-19 Crisis

School-based mental health providers (SBMHPs), including social workers, psychologists, and counselors, are an untapped resource for supporting families during this time of school closures and distance learning.

Led by Susan M. Mason, PhD, MPH, assistant professor, Department of Epidemiology and Community Health, this study aims to establish the acceptability and preliminary efficacy of two brief SBMHP-provided interventions that could be widely disseminated and quickly deployed by schools to improve family wellbeing.

December 2019: MPC Diversity Fellowship: Call for Research Project Proposals

We are seeking faculty and research staff to lead projects as part of the MPC Summer Diversity Fellowship Program. You provide the research direction and mentorship, we provide the RAs and logistical support. The program runs for 10 weeks, from June 8-August 14, 2020. Proposals are due by 8:00 a.m. on January 27, 2020. For more information, visit pop.umn.edu/diversity-fellowship, or contact Gina Rumore or Mia Riza

November 2019: Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award

MPC Member Rachel Hardeman was honored with the Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award at the University of Minnesota's twelfth annual Equity and Diversity Breakfast, which took place on Monday, November 4. The Josie R. Johnson Award was established to recognize Dr. Josie R. Johnson’s lifelong contributions to human rights and social justice both within and beyond her tenure at the University of Minnesota. The purpose of this award is to honor University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and students who exemplify Dr. Johnson’s commitment to creating respectful and inclusive living, learning, and working environments. 

Dr. Hardeman earned this award thanks in part to her inspiring commitment to social justice and the fight for making health a human right. Her overarching goal is to contribute to a body of knowledge that links structural racism to health, identifies opportunities for intervention, and dismantles the systems that allow inequalities to persist. Congratulations to Dr. Hardeman on receiving this fantastic honor. 

Read coverage of Dr. Hardeman’s work in the U.S. News and World Report and this UMN Research Brief.

October 2019: New Research on Migration Using the Consumer Credit Panel

In a recently published Demographic Research article, MPC Members Jack DeWaard, associate professor of sociology, and Janna Johnson, assistant professor of social policy and policy analysis, along with Stephan Whitaker, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, provide a comprehensive assessment of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York/Equifax Consumer Credit Panel (CCP) for research on migration within the United States. To demonstrate the unique advantages of the CCP for such research, they compare several estimates of internal migration from the CCP to similar estimates derived from other major sources of internal migration data, including the American Community Survey, the Current Population Survey, Internal Revenue Service data, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and the Survey of Income and Program Participation.

To learn more about the CCP, read their open access article “Internal migration in the United States: A comprehensive comparative assessment of the Consumer Credit Panel.”
 

September 2019: IPUMS International Receives New Grants

The IPUMS International project—run by MPC Members Steve Ruggles, Matthew Sobek, and Lara Cleveland—has received two new grants to expand and enhance the world’s largest population database, which currently contains over one billion person records from 365 censuses and surveys taken in 94 countries. A $5 million grant from NSF (SES 1852842, PI Steven Ruggles, Co-PIs Ragui Assaad, Elizabeth Boyle, Kathryn Grace, and Deborah Levison) will fund essential activities to expand, enrich, and freely disseminate IPUMS International data. A $3.1 million grant from the National Institute of Aging (1R01AG062601-01, MPIs Lara Cleveland, Steven Ruggles, and Matthew Sobek) will allow the project to add 40 censuses and approximately 100 cases for countries in the Global South to the IPUMS International database.

To learn more about IPUMS International data, please check out the webinars (in English and Spanish) and tutorials (in eight languages), found here.

June 2019: New Funding Announcement — MPC Training Program in Population Health Science

The Minnesota Population Center (MPC) is pleased to announce the launch of a new five-year training program in Population Health Science, funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). This program, housed at the MPC, will train pre- and post-doctoral fellows in social and health science fields to build skills in interdisciplinary population health research. The focus and unique identity of this T32 training program is to train the next generation of population health scientists to consider the interactive effects of biological/genetic, social, economic, spatial, and policy factors on population health over multiple time scales. The program is co-led by Dr. John Robert Warren (Department of Sociology) and Dr. Theresa Osypuk (Division of Epidemiology and Community Health). Together with an outstanding team of 44 faculty mentors from four colleges and seven disciplinary departments, they will prepare five pre and two postdoctoral trainees to engage in a range of scholarship, coursework, professional development and intellectual activities to solve complex seemingly intractable population health problems. This program is funded by NIH grant T32HD095134: Interdisciplinary Population Health Science Training: Linking Multilevel Forces Across Time.

For more information about the predoc program, please visit z.umn.edu/PreDoc-PopHealth
For more information about the postdoc program, please visit z.umn.edu/PostDoc-PopHealth
For all other questions, contact Lindsey Fabian (fabian@umn.edu)

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