Associate Professor Kristin Seefeldt was featured in an NPR article that analyzes the decrease of Michigan residents living in poverty as a result of financial aid assistance. Seefeldt discusses how pandemic stimulus checks and expanded unemployment benefits are helping families.
Professor Robert Joseph Taylor’s study on the inner workings of Black extended family networks is featured in the Brooking Institute’s “Class Notes.” Taylor’s research shows how younger Black women serve as crucial pillars in their families due to their high levels of involvement both within their family networks.
Professor Brad Zebrack has been awarded a 5-year R01 from the National Cancer Institute for the project "Social genomic mechanisms of health disparities among adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors." The grant will allow study of molecular pathways that represent potential targets for interventions to protect AYA survivors against the adverse biological effects of social isolation, socioeconomic disadvantage, and other psychological and social determinants of health in the highly stressful context of cancer. The study’s intent is to identify functional genomic pathways through which social and psychological factors influence gene regulation and alter health outcomes in AYAs, and to define the role of such effects in structuring health disparities in post-treatment survivorship.
Professor Trina Shanks is quoted in a Washington Post article about how federal relief programs initiated during the pandemic have been surprisingly effective at lifting people and families out of poverty. President Biden’s “Build Back Better” proposal would continue some of these financial supports, which could potentially cut childhood poverty rates in half. “The whole point of the child tax credit is, if a family is working at all, it pushes the family above the poverty line so their children aren’t suffering,” said Shanks.
Professor Luke Shaefer spoke with the New York Times about how the stimulus checks issued during the pandemic brought an immediate reduction in food insecurity, which, he says, continues to fall. “We could potentially be at the lowest level of food insecurity ever recorded, because of the government transfers,” said Shaefer.
Associate Professor Shawna Lee and Joyce Lee, PhD ‘21, are coauthors of “Longitudinal relations between coparenting and father engagement in low-income residential and nonresidential father families”, published in the Journal of Family Psychology. Their paper was awarded the Diversity and Inclusion in Men in Families Research Article Award from the National Council on Family Relations and was recognized for its contribution to advancing the science on the role of men in families.
Professor Daphne Watkins’ YBMen Project is being launched in Australia. The Freemasons Centre for Male Health & Wellbeing will use Indigenous leadership and co-design processes to adapt and contextualize the program to meet the needs of young Indigenous males across Australia. Originally developed for young Black college men in the U.S., YBMen provides social and educational support and connectedness via social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
“For the past seven years, the YBMen Project has had success with Black men and boys in the United States, and we look forward to seeing what it can do for Aboriginal males in the Northern Territory,” said Watkins. “With such strong support, resources and partnerships in place, we are confident we will see improved mental health, more progressive definitions of manhood and increased social support among Aboriginal males in Australia now, and in the years to come."
Joint PhD student Irene Routté has been awarded a 2021 Rackham Public Scholarship Grant for her project “Grand Rapids Congolese Refugee Youth Council and Leadership Program.” In partnership with Michigan Banyamulenge Community (MBC), a refugee-run organization in Grand Rapids, Routté will help develop and launch a community-driven youth council and leadership development program for Congolese refugee youths. This project will help MBC extend its organizational capacity to serve the roughly 8,000 Congolese refugees in the Grand Rapids area and create a space of support and empowerment for Congolese and other refugee youth.
The Rackham Program in Public Scholarship supports mutually beneficial projects created between Rackham students and community partners.
Professor Mary Ruffolo is co-author of “Digital Portfolio Construction: A Guide for Showcasing Social Work Skills.” The book guides students through the process of compiling a digital portfolio — a collection of artifacts that demonstrates the knowledge, skills and competencies they have mastered throughout their social work program.
Professor Lisa Wexler spoke with the podcast Nature on the importance of research into gun violence. “I think it can save lives. The impact for this sort of research can be nearly immediate,” she said. Wexler studies how communities in Alaska can reduce suicide rates in Indigenous youth by promoting gun safety measures. “If you can make it ten minutes harder to get a lethal means - in this case a loaded gun - you can save lives because a lot of suicides are impulsive, particularly youth suicides.”
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