A new pair of studies from a Duke research team’s long-term work in New Zealand make the case that mental health struggles in early life can lead to poorer physical health and advanced aging in adulthood. But because mental health problems peak early in life and can be identified, the researchers say that more investment in prompt mental health care could be used to prevent later diseases and lower societal healthcare costs.
Low- and middle-income countries contain the majority of confirmed cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). India has the second-highest number of reported cases, but most seroprevalence estimates come from cities. Cities, with denser population, are more vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2. However, millions of city workers have fled to rural India where lockdown is less stringent. The study team, under the leadership of Manoj Mohanan, Assoicate Professor in Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, working in partnership with national and local government authorities, assessed SARS-CoV-2 prevalence among volunteers from population-representative households in urban and rural areas of the state of Karnataka (population, 67.5 million).
Harsher immigration law enforcement by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement leads to decreased use of prenatal care for immigrant mothers and declines in birth weight, according to new Duke University research. In the study, published in PLoS ONE, researchers examine the effects of the federal 287(g) immigration program after it was introduced in North Carolina in 2006. Under 287(g) programs, which are still in effect, local law officers are deputized to act as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, with authority to question individuals about immigration status, detain them, and if necessary, begin deportation proceedings.
The NIA supported Research Network on Animal Models to Understand Social Dimensions of Aging , under the leadership of Jenny Tung, Duke University, Alessandro Bartolomucci, University of Minnesota, and Kathleen Mullan Harris, UNC, recently awarded its inaugural round of 2020-2021 pilot projects. The goal of the Pilot Program is to support projects focused on animal models or comparative studies relevant for understanding the social determinants of health and aging, and to generate key preliminary data future NIH grant applications, publications, and other scientific products.
Before the pandemic, one-third of U.S. households with children were already “net worth poor,” lacking enough financial resources to sustain their families for three months at a poverty level, finds new research from Duke University. In 2019, 57 percent of Black families and 50 percent of Latino families with children were poor in terms of net worth. By comparison, the rate for white families was 24 percent. “These ‘net worth poor’ households have no assets to withstand a sudden economic loss, like we have seen with COVID-19,” said Christina Gibson-Davis, co-author of the study and professor of public policy and sociology at Duke University’s Center for Child and Family Policy. “Their savings are virtually nil, and they have no financial cushion to provide the basics for their children.” The study is among the first to consider family poverty in terms of assets, not income. Using 1989-2019 data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, researchers analyzed net worth and income data from more than 19,000 U.S. households with children under age 18. Among households with children, net worth poverty has been steadily rising over the past 30 years, the authors found. In 2019, a two-parent, two-child household was deemed to be net-worth poor if they had less than $6,500 in assets – or less than one-fourth of the federal poverty line. “Uncovering this aspect of poverty, which hinges on wealth, is game-changing,” said Lisa Gennetian, co-author of the study and associate professor of early learning policy studies at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy.
Kenneth Dodge, William McDougall Distinguished Professor of Public Policy Studies at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and DUPRI Scholar, selected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee Exploring the Opportunity Gap for Young Children from Birth to Age Eight. The Committee will conduct a consensus study on the causes and consequences of the opportunity gap for these children. The group will produce a consensus report that synthesizes the information gathered on the relationship between the opportunity and achievement gaps young children from birth to eight, and will make recommendations on how to improve conditions and promote success for children--at home, in communities, and in schools.
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Avshalom Caspi, Edward M. Arnett Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience, Terrie Moffitt, Nannerl O. Keohane University Professor of Psychology, and Elizabeth Jane Costello, Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, are among the 37 Duke faculty included in the Most Highly Cited list based on the number of highly cited papers they produced over an 11-year period from January 2009 to December 2019. The citation n rate, as tracked by Clarivate’s Web of Science, is an approximate measure of a study’s influence and importance.
NSF funded COVID-19 research, “Developing Social Differentiation-respecting Disease Transmission Models” under the leadership of James Moody, Robert O. Keohane Professor of Sociology at Duke University and DUPRI scholar, Lisa Keister, Professor of Sociology at Duke, and Dana Pasquale, Postdoctoral Associate, Duke Department of Sociology, was recently featured in the New York Times. “The perceived threat of the virus may also depend on how close someone is to a person who has died or suffered a long-term disability as a result of the virus. While about a third of Americans know someone who has died of Covid-19, only a small percentage can count a virus victim among their 20 closest contacts, according to a calculation by James Moody, director of the Network Analysis Center at Duke University.”
Amidst ongoing protests again racial injustice and a pandemic that disproportionately impacts Black people, a June 2020 study from Christina Gibson-Davis, Sanford Professor of Public Policy and DUPRI scholar, and her co-author Christine Percheski of Northwestern University documented that, at the median, Black families have just one cent of wealth for every dollar of wealth of White families. The study, which garnered national media attention in the New York Times, TIME, and Forbes, was the first to describe the extreme racial wealth inequality that exists among families with children in the United States. Racial disparities in wealth – which are a household’s assets minus its debts – far exceed racial disparities in income. “Wealth helps children to flourish in ways that income might not," said Gibson-Davis. “It is hard to help your children flourish if you only have $808 in total wealth." A forthcoming study with Duke collaborators Lisa Keister and Lisa Gennetian suggests that many Black families have such low levels of wealth that they may be "net worth poor." "All of our data are taken before COVID," said Gibson-Davis. "It is likely that these disparities will only grow in the coming years.