Health Disparities

(See Related Projects)

State Medicaid Expansions and Health Care Coverage of Immigrant Adults

image of Daphne Hernandez

Dr. Daphne Hernandez, assistant professor of human development and family studies, has received a $75,000, twenty-five-month grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through the New Connections program to study immigrants' health insurance.

Hernandez is analyzing data that should provide a sense of how effective expanded state coverage is in providing increased health care coverage. She is working with data from two major surveys, the New Immigrant Survey (NIS) and the 2004 Current Population Survey (CPS). NIS, administered through Princeton University, targeted 12,500 immigrants and reported on individual and demographic data, such as education level, difficulty of visa process, family structure, English language proficiency, household income, and region of origin. CPS, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, provides state-by-state data on health insurance coverage. Read More

Study to Identify Early Risk Factors for Cognitive Delay in Children

A new project is investigating early risk factors for cognitive delays in preschool-aged children. The project, which is funded by a two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is seeking to better understand the role played by socio-demographic and gestational or birth factors, such as poverty and low birth weight, respectively, in contributing to the early and repeated incidence of cognitive delay.

Dr. Paul Morgan, assistant professor of special education at Penn State, Dr. Marianne Hillemeier, associate professor of health policy and administration and affiliate of the Center for Health Care and Policy Research (CHCPR) at Penn State, and George Farkas, professor of education at the University of California, Irvine, are using the $400,000 NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award to analyze the dataset known as the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort. It is a longitudinal dataset in which the cognitive, behavioral, and physical functioning of 14,000 children born in the United States in 2001 is evaluated at the ages of 9, 24, 48 and 60 months. No study to date has investigated children's development in such a multi-faceted manner using a nationally representative sample over its first few years. Read More

State Medicaid Expansions and Health Care Coverage of Immigrant Adults

Dr. Daphne Hernandez, assistant professor of human development and family studies, has received a $75,000, twenty-five-month grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through the New Connections program to study immigrants' health insurance.

Hernandez is analyzing data that should provide a sense of how effective expanded state coverage is in providing increased health care coverage. She is working with data from two major surveys, the New Immigrant Survey (NIS) and the 2004 Current Population Survey (CPS). NIS, administered through Princeton University, targeted 12,500 immigrants and reported on individual and demographic data, such as education level, difficulty of visa process, family structure, English language proficiency, household income, and region of origin. CPS, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, provides state-by-state data on health insurance coverage. Read More

The Community Preparedness Research Project

The Community Preparedness Research Project is headed by Dr. David McBride. It is an outgrowth of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Investigator Award Program. The project focus has been investigating the ethnography and policy outcomes of disasters that have occurred in disadvantaged city communities throughout the nation. These disasters include severe weather events such as floods and hurricanes, disease epidemics, industrial accidents, terrorist attacks, and other emergencies that can strike our schools, hospitals, and other neighborhood institutions. The project is developing case-studies of disaster events and community preparedness in cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Camden, and Chester (PA). It is also conducting a survey of residents and professionals in these and other cities relating to disaster apprehension, preparedness, and community capacity building. Read More

Women Receiving Optimal Medical Help Prior to Pregnancy

Preterm and low weight births are increasing in the US, despite increasing use of prenatal care services. CHCPR researcher Marianne Hillemeier and her colleagues believe that women's health before pregnancy may be an important factor influencing this trend. The first three months of pregnancy are often the most important for fetal development. However, many risk factors involve the woman's health and behaviors before the pregnancy, and others cannot be optimally treated after the woman has conceived. Unfortunately, few women receive the counseling and care they need in the months just prior to and very early in pregnancy. Read More

Race May Play a Role in Children's Asthma Care

Children in the U.S. suffer from asthma more than any other chronic illness, and new research finds African-American children with the condition have a greater risk than others of experiencing severe symptoms that escalate into an emergency. Read More

Dental Care in Rural Communities

image of Pennsylvania mapPoor dental health is a serious health issue in rural communities. "People living in rural areas face a multitude of structural barriers when seeking dental care. These barriers, which include dentist availability, ability to pay, and transportation issues, contribute to minimal expectations for receiving dental care and cause people to undervalue dental care," states Lisa Davis, director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health. Read More

Asthma in Rural School Children

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that can involve sudden attacks that have been described as gasping, painful and frightening struggles to get air in to and out of the lungs. Immediate treatment with appropriate medication is needed during these episodes to prevent worsening and potentially life-threatening respiratory difficulty. With over 45,000 rural Pennsylvania school children with asthma, understanding the capacity of rural schools to meet their needs is an important health and policy issue. Read More