Race and ethnicity are notoriously difficult to measure in the U.S., and health scholars have shown over the last two decades that the common, large racial/ethnic categories of “Black,” “Asian,” and “Hispanic” mask considerable heterogeneity within groups, often based on country of origin. Recent work by Jen’nan Read (with Scott M. Lynch and Jessie S. West) found that the “White” racial category masks just as much or more heterogeneity in health as these other common categories, in part because recent “white” immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa differ substantially from white immigrants from Europe and native (i.e., 3+ generation) whites in the U.S. As a consequence of this and other studies in recent years by Dr. Read, Dr. Read has been consulting with the Census Bureau in redesigning questions measuring race/ethnicity in upcoming censuses.
DUPRI’s Charlie Nunn went to Madagascar to study its unparalleled natural environment. But it’s the questions about human health that keep him returning.

A recently-published paper in Children and Youth Services Review by a team of authors, including DUPRI's

Three DUPRI Scholars are represented in the 2023 edition of Clarivate's Highly Cited Researchers list: Avshalom Caspi, Jane Costello, Terrie Moffitt. William Copeland, a DUPRI external affiliate who has a secondary appointment at Duke and is an investigator on the Great Smoky Mountains Study, was also named in the list. The scholars are among the over 7,000 authors on the global list. According to Clarivate, highly cited researchers have demonstrated significant and broad influence reflected in their publication of multiple highly cited papers over the last decade. These highly cited papers rank in the top 1% by citations for a field or fields and publication year in the Web of Science.
DUPRI's Lisa Gennetian has published two opinion pieces that explore different aspects of families who struggle with poverty.
On September 22nd, Lisa Gennetian organized a one-day workshop, "Cash Transfers in the U.S.: The Science of Impact," which brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars specializing in U.S.-based randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to evaluate evidence and scalability of the impact of unconditional cash transfer programs. The discussions touched on topics such as the interaction of cash transfers with hardship and stress, the design and implementation of these programs, considerations of external validity and selection into studies, and the future of direct cash support for poverty alleviation in the U.S. The workshop featured early career scholars from the Triangle area, including from Duke University, North Carolina Central University and UNC-Chapel Hill, who presented on healthcare consumption, food insecurity and nutritional intake, housing quality, and family structure. The workshop was funded by a P2C development grant and advances DPRC’s goals by aiming to understand how early life policy interventions influence lifelong health.
Under the co-leadership of Sanford faculty member Lisa Gennetian, the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families (Center) has received a $7.75 million grant from the Office of Planning Research and Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which extends the Center’s research through 2028. The Center is a collaboration between Drs. Guzman and Ramos-Olazagasti at Child Trends, Dr. Gennetian at Duke University, Drs. Crosby and Mendez-Smith at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Dr. Cabrera at the University of Maryland, College Park. The Center's aims include generating data-driven insights into service delivery, and program administration, supporting a pipeline of early career scholars, and amplifying the diverse strengths and needs of Latino families.
A newly-published paper in PNAS titled "Exposure to the Indian Ocean Tsunami shapes the HPA-axis resulting in HPA “burnout” 14 years later" by a team led by DUPRI's Duncan Thomas examines the long-term effects of the Indian Ocean Tsunami on health. The authors provide causal evidence on the long-term effects of traumatic exposures on HPA-axis function, using longitudinal data from survivors of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in Indonesia. Fourteen years after the disaster, women who were exposed to the tsunami’s direct impacts present with levels of hair cortisol 30% lower than counterparts not similarly exposed. The authors distinguish short-term from longer-term levels of elevated post-traumatic stress symptoms and show that effects are larger among individuals for whom post-traumatic symptoms remain elevated for 2 y after the tsunami which likely reflects “burnout” since low cortisol is also associated with contemporaneous indicators of poor general and psychosocial health. The impacts of large-scale traumatic events on women’s physiology through the HPA-axis endure for many years.
After a 3-year hiatus, Demography Daze returned on September 15, 2023 at DUPRI, for its 9th edition. An event originally developed by emeritus director Angie O’Rand and Carolina Population Center (CPC) emeritus director Phil Morgan, Demography Daze brings together population scientists from CPC and DUPRI to share their research, foster collaborations and discuss ongoing work in a collegial atmosphere. The event is hosted by DUPRI or CPC alternating years.
A new publication by an international group of scholars (including DUPRI's Susan Alberts and Jenny Tung) and partially funded by a DPRC pilot grant examines how early adversity affects adult body size in wild female baboons.