Ray Marshall Center’s Social Science Research Associate Thomas Boswell was part of a trio presenting findings from Nuru International‘s 2022 Nuru Nigeria Resilience Report at the American Evaluation Association‘s Evaluation 2023 conference in Indianapolis October 9-14, 2023. Boswell joined Nuru’s Ian Schwenke and Dena Bunnel of Kansas State University in the October 14th presentation. The report marks the end of a five-year evaluation conducted in partnership with the Center. The randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluated communities in northeast Nigeria and seeks to understand how Nuru interventions impact community resilience. You can read Nuru’s October 5th press release here and view the presentation here. You can also read more about our partnership here.
|Greg Cumpton, PhD
|Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO)
|March 2023 – December 2027
|In coordination with ECHO, the Ray Marshall Center (RMC) will execute the planning and preparation needed to conduct the evaluation of the AT Home Initiative.
The Ray Marshall Center’s work in Nicaragua (Protection, Resilience, Efficiency, and Prevention for workers in industrial agriculture in a changing climate [PREP]) has focused on measuring the differences in socioeconomic and resilience outcomes between households suffering from chronic kidney disease and those that are not, sampled from four communities that provide agricultural labor for a large local sugar mill. This work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, under the auspices of the Belmont Forum, an international partnership that mobilizes funding of environmental change research and accelerates its delivery to remove critical barriers to sustainability. PREP was one of several projects supported by a recent round of Belmont Forum grantmaking.
The brief published by ENBEL (Enhancing Belmont Research Action to support EU policy making on climate change and health) provides an overview of each of this round’s grantees, summarizing collaborative activities and lessons learned from Climate, Environment, and Health (CEH) projects. The featured projects focus on worker’s health, infectious disease control and early warning, nutrition, maternal health, and local community collaborations. Activities for co-design encompass a range of activities and should begin with the mapping of local stakeholders.
|Greg Cumpton, PhD
|Goodwill Industries of Central Texas
|April 2021 – November 2021
|The Ray Marshall Center will provide assistance to Goodwill Industries of Central Texas to develop, plan, and deploy a revised strategic plan for future years.
|Heath J. Prince, PhD
|Coleridge Initiative, Inc.
|April 2021 – January 2022
|The Ray Marshall Center (RMC) will provide data management, research, and governance assistance to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). As a part of an initiative at the Coleridge Initiative, Inc. to expand access to state data to policymakers and state agency employees, the RMC will provide staffing and support to facilitate the Applied Data Analytics training program created by the Coleridge Initiative, Inc. The RMC will provide support and staffing to implement the training developed by the Coleridge Initiative for state agencies in Texas and surrounding states. The curriculum is designed to expand access and use of administrative data to inform policy. This training model is designed to be repeated in support of data initiatives within Texas after this engagement.
The Coleridge Initiative is a not-for-profit start-up, originally established at New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress. The Coleridge Initiative became fully independent in August 2020. The Coleridge Initiative works with government agencies to break down the barriers to accessing confidential data. They set up and manage a secure computational research platform, the Administrative Data Research Facility (ADRF), to promote access to sensitive and confidential microdata (fully secure and de-identified of course). They then train analysts and researchers how to access and use this data. The Initiative has already worked with over 100 federal, state, and local agencies and trained over 500 agency staff.
The Dutch Research Council has published a project summary for Examining Reproductive Health Services of Women, Female Youth, and Female Refugees in Northern Jordan with a Behavioral Economics Lens titled “Behavioural economics-inspired counselling helped to reduce pregnancies in Jordan” dated June 7, 2021. RMC’s Research Scientist Dr. Heath Prince led the project team in the United States which ran from 2017 to 2020. You can read more about the project here.
A behavioural economics experiment demonstrated that women in Jordan tended to make more use of modern family planning methods after the introduction of an innovative contraceptive counselling approach. Insights from behavioural economics were used to design text-based messaging reminders and to revise training and counselling guides used by midwives, resulting in women continuing to use modern family planning methods for longer.
|Heath J. Prince, PhD
|National Science Foundation, Belmont Forum
|University of Gothenburg, Sweden
|January 2020 – December 2022
|Chronic kidney disease of undetermined cause (CKDu), affects millions of workers in Latin America and Asia. Treatment is expensive, resulting in early death for those affected. Strenuous work in extreme heat without sufficient rest and hydration is considered a main driver. Industrial agriculture is the most affected, especially the sugarcane sector. Without prevention, this epidemic is likely to accelerate due to climate change. Increasing temperatures, coupled with decreasing precipitation in drier agricultural regions, is also causing pesticides and other toxins to concentrate at higher levels.
As a response to this heat stress related disease, we have collectively implemented the Adelante Initiative, a workplace intervention with focus on adequate water, and rest in shade together with improved ergonomics, designed to prevent CKDu among workers at a sugarcane mill in Nicaragua. Due to the high prevalence of CKDu among sugarcane workers, we are concentrating our efforts in this sector; from there we will adapt the program to other geographies and industries.
Our proposed project builds on current efforts and investigates the following: 1) the immediate and long-term impact the intervention has on workforce health (kidney health and heat related injuries) and productivity; 2) the economic and social impacts on those affected by the disease and whether our intervention aids in resilience, including mitigating migration pressures; 3) the economic burden on health systems treating CKDu; and 4) an analysis of public health policies to understand what policies, or absence of policy, have contributed to the disease while investigating what policies are required to effectively address it.
The knowledge gained will create the groundwork to expand to other sugarcane mills and eventually other industries at-risk for heat stress and CKDu. As climate change means more extreme temperatures in already impacted regions, and the likelihood that regions further north and south of the equator will also be impacted by CKDu, it is essential a model to protect worker health and productivity is developed.
|Prevention, Resilience, Efficiency, and Protection for workers in industrial agriculture in a changing climate (PREP): Baseline results from a household panel survey of the socioeconomic conditions experienced by agricultural workers in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua
Authors: Heath J. Prince, PhD, Thomas Boswell, MGPS, Jason Glaser, MSc, Catharina Wesseling, MD, PhD, Ashweeta Patnaik, MPH, William José Martinez-Cuadra, BS
Date: July 2023
Publication Type: Working Paper, 18pp.
A Measure of the Return on Ingenio San Antonio’s Investment in the Adelante Initiative: An Initial Estimate of Costs and Benefits of a Water, Rest, and Shade Intervention
The Economic Impact of CKDnt on Households: Survey Findings from a Pilot Study of a Workers’ Association, Asochivida, and of the Communities of La Isla, Manhattan, and Candalaria, Nicaragua
The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program recently launched the Job Quality Tools Library, a platform to support leaders to strengthen job quality in their own organizations, in the businesses they partner with, and across labor markets. The library offers tools, resources, and guidance to help a variety of organizations – including workforce development, worker advocacy, policy, investing and lending, economic development, and employers – engage in practical action to improve jobs.
In the library, you will find tools to support workers and businesses during and after the current crisis, including a special section of resources focused on urgent responses to COVID-19. You will also find our contribution “Partnering for Equity: How Sector Partnerships are Tackling Workforce Disparities” in the Equity and Inclusion tool featured in Section 4: Strengthening Practices to Improve Job Quality. As we come together to focus on relief in the short-term and building a more inclusive economy in the long-term, tools and approaches to foster high-quality, economy-boosting jobs are more critical than ever.
You can learn more and visit the library here.
|Christopher T. King, PhD
|Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation
|December 2019 – December 2021
|The Ray Marshall Center will evaluate the variation in program characteristics – including program components, implementation features, local context, and participant traits – to explore which characteristics are associated with Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program participant’s healthcare profession career pathway outcomes. This research will address the following questions:
Similar to the previous research on the impact of HPOG program characteristics on educational achievement (Peck et al., 2018 and Walton et al., 2019), this research expects to identify supports such as childcare and transportation assistance, tuition, and other financial assistance, as well as employment supports and emergency assistance associated with CNA participant achievements along a career pathway.
Practitioners, policymakers, funders, and researchers may be interested in which combination of program components, implementation strategies, participant characteristics, and local context may impact a CNA participant to pursue the next step along a healthcare profession career pathway. Insights from this research can inform future program design and implementation within the broader field of entry level healthcare provider workforce development.
RMC researchers Daniel Schroeder and Ashweeta Patnaik are co-authors of a chapter entitled “SNAP and UI as Components of a Joint Safety Net in Texas” in the book, Strengths of the Social Safety Net in the Great Recession : Supplemental Nutrition Assistance and Unemployment Insurance, published in August 2019 by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
The book is the culmination of the multi-state Administrative Data Research and Evaluation (ADARE) Alliance’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Study, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDA ERS). The book is the first to use administrative data to look at how the SNAP and Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs worked together during a period of crisis in the economy and the labor market. The contributors in this book use administrative data from around the time of the Great Recession in six states – Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, and Texas. In chapter 10, authors Daniel Schroeder and Ashweeta Patnaik examine SNAP and UI interactions in Texas during the years of the Great Recession, as well as the Great Recession–era experience of SNAP beneficiaries who are able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs). The book contributors also recommend ways that the program policies could be altered to better serve those suffering hardship as a result of future economic downturns. An open access copy of the book is available for download from Upjohn Press.