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.

DUPRI’s Angela O’Rand and co-author Jenifer Hamil-Luker, Duke Sociology, analyze  of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) between 1992 and 2

V. Joseph Hotz, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Economics, Duke University, together with co-authors, Arnaud Maurel, Associate Professor of Economics, Duke University, Tyson Ransom, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Oklahoma, and Jared Ashworth, Assistant Professor of Economics, Pepperdine University, investigate  the wage returns to schooling and actual early work experiences, and how these returns have changed over the past twenty years, in a forthcoming Journal of Labor Economics article.
Under the leadership of Jenny Tung  and co-directors, Kathleen Mullan Harris, James E. Haar Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,  and Alessandro Bartolomucci , Associate Professor, Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of Minnesota, the “Animal Models for the Social Dimensions of Health and Aging Research Network” (, an NIH-supported High Priority Research Network) is pleased to announce the 2020 call for Pilots and Feasibility Projects! These projects support research on animal models or comparative studies relevant for understanding the social determinants of health and aging. They are appropriate for the generation of key preliminary data important for demonstrating the potential of new research in this area, especially directions with strong potential for future independent funding. 
Close bonds with the opposite sex can have non-romantic benefits. And not just for people, but for our primate cousins, too. Drawing on 35 years of data, a new study of more than 540 baboons in Amboseli National Park in Kenya finds that male baboons that have close female friends have higher rates of survival than those who don’t. Researchers have often assumed that when a male is friendlier to certain females, it’s for the reproductive perks: to better protect his offspring, or to boost his chances of mating with her. But the new study points to an additional potential benefit: female friends may help him live a longer life.
n just a few months, the COVID-19 pandemic swiftly and substantially worsened mental health among U.S. hourly service workers and their children – especially those experiencing multiple hardships, according to new research from the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University and Barnard College. The study leverages real-time, daily survey data collected from Feb. 20, before the pandemic hit the U.S., to April 27, when it was well underway, to examine how the crisis affected parents’ and children’s mental well-being. The 645 survey respondents were parents of young children working in hourly service-industry positions in retail, food service or hotel industries in a large U.S. city. Nearly half (49.5%) of the participants were Black Americans, 23% were Hispanic Americans, and 83% were women.
Under the leadership of Dana Pasquale, Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Sociology, the Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention (CDC)  have awarded the innovative  two-year  “Respondent-Driven Sampling, Respiratory Disease Surveillance Study  (the SNOWBALL Study)” to a large consortium of Duke researchers, to better understand  SARS-CoV-2 Transmission  in Durham County, NC. The SNOWBALL Study brings together researchers from Duke Forge, Duke Crucible, the Covidentify Study , the Duke Population Research Institute (DUPRI) and the MESSI Study to investigate the potential of the Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) methodology. The RDS approach relies on respondents’ active engagement of their own close-contact networks to build a self-generating contact trace from persons who test positive for infection with SARS-CoV-2.
The NIA supported Animal Models Research Network  under the leadership of Jenny Tung, Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology and Biology at Duke University, Alessandro Bartolomucci, Associate Professor of Integrative Biology and Physiology at University of Minnesota, and Kathleen Mullan Harris,  James E. Haar Distinguished Professor of Sociology at UNC, has recently selected its inaugural cohort of Bruce McEwen Career Development Fellows. These awards support outstanding junior scientists with high potential to advance the use of animal models or comparative approaches to understand the social determinants of health and aging.
Two Duke Predoctoral students, Ruth M Wygle, Department of Sociology and Sarah Petry, Sanford School of Public Policy, have been selected to participate in the International Max Planck Research School for Population, Health and Data Science (IMPRS-PHDS). This new and unique three-year doctoral program aims at training the next generation of population scientists by providing training in the materials and methods of demography and population health combined with advanced skills in  statistics, mathematical modeling, and data science. The School is hosted by two core partners, the MPIDR and the University of Rostock, in partnership with ten affiliated institutions worldwide that have complementary strengths. In addition to Duke, other partner universities include the University of Greifswald, the University of Groningen/NIDI, Erasmus Medical Center  Rotterdam, the University of Helsinki, Oxford University, the University of St. Andrews, Stockholm University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Washington.