Borrowing against your retirement savings can be tempting but counterproductive in a recession, says Nick Strain at MarketWatch, citing “Borrowing from the Future: 401(k) Plan Loans and Loan Defaults,” the Pension Research Council study by Timothy Jun Lu, Olivia S. Mitchell, Stephen P. Utkus and Jean A. Young.
The aim of the initiative is to redesign hospital workplaces to improve the mental health and well-being of nurses and physicians and to improve patient safety. The grant will support the international partnership of some of the world’s leading Universities led by KU Leuven and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing’s Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research.
Mark V. Pauly authored an article for the Health Policy$ense blog entitled, "Your Health Insurance is Making You Ignore Your Doctor."
Olivia S. Mitchell was quoted in an article entitled, "The Annuity Puzzle: What It Is & Why Should You Care?"
Hans-Peter Kohler is quoted in a Popular Science article entitled, "Why a Decline in U.S. Birth Rates Could Actually Help Our Economy."
New Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC): Castro Torres, Andrés, Luca Maria Pesando, Hans-Peter Kohler, and Frank Furstenberg. 2019. "Family Change and Variation Through the Lens of Family Configurations in Low- and Middle-Income Countries." University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC), 2019-31.
New Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC): Kulkarni, Veena, Vani Kulkarni, and Raghav Gaiha. 2019. "Persistence of Non-Communicable Diseases, Affluence and Inequality in India." University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC), 2019-30.
This past Monday a small group of researchers participated in a workshop about the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). This purpose of this workshop was to introduce researchers to the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Emily Blecker, Liz Taggert, and Melissa Oney presented on how to access the HRS data, types of datasets available, data security measures, and the types of statistical analyses that can be conducted using this data.
Photo above from left to right: Irma Elo, Audrey Cheon, Emily Blecker, Liz Taggert, Melissa Oney, Shana Stites, Morgan Peele
Congratulations to Atheendar Venkataramani, PSC & PARC Associate, who has been recognized by the American Journal of Public Health for co-writing one of the best papers of the year, "Economic Vulnerability Among US Female Health Care Workers: Potential Impact of a $15-per-Hour Minimum Wage,” with Kathryn E. W. Himmelstein.
By identifying similar themes acrorss tweets, a team of researchers at Penn Medicine came together to determine what topics and themes could be associated with loneliness. By applying linguistic analytic models to tweets, the researchers found users who tweeted about loneliness post significantly more often about mental well-being concerns and things like struggles with relationships, substance use, and insomnia. The study was published in BMJ Open.
Harsha Thirumurthy, PhD, an associate director of Penn’s Center for Health Incentives & Behavioral Economics (CHIBE), and Alison Buttenheim, PhD, MBA, interim director of CHIBE, have received a three-year, $3.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to establish a first-of-its-kind HIV-focused nudge unit in South Africa. The nudge unit will form partnerships with government and HIV services providers and test behavioral interventions to increase population-level coverage of HIV prevention services. The project will be led by CHIBE with a strong local partner, HE2RO (Health Economics and Epidemiology Research Office at Wits University in Johannesburg).
Millennials should save 40% of paychecks to retire at 65, says Olivia S. Mitchell of Wharton, but only 1 in 5 save more than 15%. Read more here.
To retire at age 65, Millennials must save nearly half their paychecks. Even if that’s impossible, there are still steps you can take to improve your retirement security, Wharton’s Olivia S. Mitchell explains to Megan Leonhardt of CNBC Make It. Read it here.
Irma Elo received grant funding as part of the 2019 Making a Difference in Diverse Communities. Read more on the Penn Arts & Sciences website.
Congratulations to Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey has received the Steven E. Weinberger Award for Physician Executives/Leaders from the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the University of Iowa School of Public Health’s Richard and Barbara Hansen Leadership Award. Read more here.
Olivia S. Mitchell is the 2019 recipient of The Ketchum Prize. The Ketchum Prize—honoring Richard G. Ketchum, the former chairman and CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and a distinguished leader in the field of securities regulation—recognizes outstanding service and research to advance investor protection and financial capability in the U.S. The prize is awarded annually by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. The prize includes a $10,000 honorarium and national recognition.
Jere R. Behrman was recently awarded funding from NIH for his project "Foundational Cognitive Skills in Developing Countries: Early-Life Nutritional, Climatic and Policy Determinants and Impacts on Adolescent Education, Socio-emotional Competencies and Risky Behaviors.”
Abstract: Early undernutrition and climate variation are widespread in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and claimed to have long-lasting consequences. However, there is little population-based evidence about mechanisms through which early-life undernutrition and climatic variations lead to poorer adolescent and adult outcomes and whether early-life deficits may be mitigated. This project investigates impacts of undernutrition and climatic variations on foundational cognitive skills (FCS), importantly including executive function (EF). The project uses unique data on FCS collected in Ethiopia and Peru as part of the Young Lives Study (YLS), the largest multi-country cohort dataset on childhood poverty and wellbeing in LMICs. The analysis promises significant contributions for (1) deeper understanding of how early-life nutrition, climatic variations and other events affect FCS, (2) how policy interventions can help mitigate the effects of early childhood poverty through affecting EF in contexts of two very different countries, (3) what are the impacts of late childhood FCS on adolescent outcomes.
Molly Candon and co-author Melissa Ostroff recently wrote two posts on the LDI Policy$ense blog. Read the first blog post Fast-tracking Behavioral Health Care and second one Beyond Physicians: Interdisciplinary Teams in Integrated Care.
Rebecca A. Hubbard, PhD, an associate professor of Biostatistics, and Jason Karlawish, MD, a professor of Geriatrics and co-director of the Penn Memory Center, were reappointed to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Committee on Care Interventions for Individuals with Dementia and Their Caregivers. For more information, visit https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2019/october/awards-accolades-september-2019
New Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC): Kulkarni, Veena, Vani S Kulkarni, and Raghav Gaiha. 2019. "Employment, Aging and Disease in India." University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC), 2019-29.
Recently published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers from Penn Medicine tested new tactics, including text messaging and remote monitoring via an electronic pill bottle, to see if they might affect blood pressure levels. They found that while each method did appear to keep medication adherence high, neither method appeared to drive down blood pressure levels.
Mark D. Neumann, PARC Research Associate, was recently quoted in a Penn Medicine News article about post surgery prescription of opioids. The article discusses the findings of paper written by Neumann and co-authors that was published in JAMA Network Open, "Opioid Prescribing After Surgery in the United States, Canada, and Sweden."
A new article co-authored by Harsha Thirumurthy, PARC Research Associate, was recently published in JAMA Network Open. Read more about "Effect of Prices, Distribution Strategies, and Marketing on Demand for HIV Self-testing in Zimbabwe: A Randomized Clinical Trial" on the LDI website.
Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, PARC Research Associate and Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine, was recently quoted in a Knowledge@Wharton article, "Why Addressing Social Factors Could Improve U.S. HealthCare."
Collin Payne, GGD alumn, and Michel Guillot, PSC & PARC Research Associate, recently introduced a new way of measuring life expectancy accounting for the historical mortality conditions that today's older generations lived through. Read more about the study in Science Daily and check out the full article published in Population Studies.
New Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC): Greenwood, Jeremy, Nezih Guner, and Karen Kopecky. 2019. "The Wife's Protector: A Quantitative Theory Linking Contraceptive Technology with the Decline in Marriage" University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC), 2019-28.
New Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC): Kulkarni, Vani, Veena Kulkarni, and Raghav Gaiha. 2019. "Trust in Hospitals-Evidence from India." University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC), 2019-27.
New Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC): Huang, Zhiyong, and Fabrice Kämpfen. 2019. "Assessing (and Addressing) Reporting Heterogeneity in Visual Analogue Scales (VAS) with an Application to Gender Difference in Quality of Life." University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC), 2019-26.
Irma T. Elo and Jere R. Behrman recently met with Chilean government officials who fund the Chilean Social Protection Survey to discuss the implementation of the Harmonized Cognitive Assessment Protocol.
Pictured from left to right: David Bravo (Director of the Centro de los Encuestas y Estudios Longitudinales, Catholic University Of Chile), Jere R. Behrman, María José Zaldívar (Subsecretaria de Previsión Social), Irma T. Elo, and Úrsula Schwarzhaupt (Head of the Research Department, Subsecretaría de Previsión Social).
Research by PSC & PARC Associates Linda H. Aiken and Matthew D. McHugh shows that when nurses lack support and resources, the most vulnerable patients are at risk. Researchers found that one in five registered nurses reported frequently being unable to complete necessary patient care, leaving patients without comfort, conversation, and surveillance, and leaving nurses with high rates of burnout. Read more in Penn Today, Penn Nursing News, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
PSC Associate Olivia S. Mitchell discusses what longer lifespans may mean for aging workers. Between ageism in hiring, a shaky Social Security system, and changes to rules regarding annuities, the future of retirement looks uncertain on Knowledge@Wharton podcast. “Since retirement planning is so nuanced and complicated, it would behoove many to work longer, save more, and expect less,” she says.
On Knowledge@Wharton and in a Penn Today article, PSC Associate Mark V. Pauly discusses the future of the Affordable Care Act, which is being reviewed by the courts. “I will be heartsick if it’s declared unconstitutional,” says Pauly. “My view is that you should be required to have health insurance just like you’re required to wear clothes in cold weather.”
New Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC): Pandey, Manoj, Vani Kulkarni, and Raghav Gaiha. 2019. "Non-communicable Diseases and Depression: Evidence from South Africa." University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC), 2019-25.
PSC Associate Daniel Aldana Cohen and PSC Affiliate Kevin Ummel published Follow the Carbon: The Case for Neighborhood-Level Carbon Footprints, a policy digest with Penn's Kleinman Center for Energy Policy.
Irma T. Elo and Samuel H. Preston's research on life expectancy and non-Hispanic whites in the U.S. featured in Penn Today.
A new study published in PLOS Medicine by Atheendar Venkataramani, PSC & PARC Associate, focuses on how affirmative action bans reduce the chances of underrepresented students’ admission to college and may increase their likelihood of smoking or drinking to excess. “What this study shows us is that reducing their chances to attend a top college and potentially undermining their expectations of upward mobility, more generally, may also increase their risk of engaging in unhealthy behaviors,” says lead author Atheendar Venkataramani. Read more about this article in Penn Medicine News and Penn Today.
Michel Guillot, PSC & PARC Associate, was recently interviewed in Penn Today about a new paper published in Demographic Research. His work examines second-generation immigrants and mortality in France. "This work touches on whether the migrant advantage is transmitted. Here we give an example where it is not transmitted, and not only is it lost, but it's reversed," Guillot stated.
A University of Pennsylvania study led by Scott D. Halpern was mentioned in a blogpost by Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) about helping undeserved populations fight tobacco use.
New Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC): Amin, Vikesh, Jere Behrman, Jason Fletcher, Carlos Flores, Alfonso Flores-Lagunes, and Hans-Peter Kohler. 2019. "Mental Health, Schooling Attainment and Polygenic Scores: Are There Significant Gene-Environment Associations?." University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC), 2019-24.
PSC Associate, Jason Schnittker, was quoted in a Pittsburg Post-Gazette about older adults being generally positive about their health as they age. “Older people expect some deterioration in health and aren’t thrown off course in the same way when it occurs,” says sociologist Jason Schnittker of the School of Arts and Sciences.
PARC Associate Sarah Tishkoff counters a controversial theory which claims that race-based genetic variants correlate to advances in human culture in a Wired article. “That doesn’t mean somebody won’t find something some day. Maybe it’s possible, but I don’t think there’s any evidence right now that supports those claims,” says Tishkoff.
Courtney Boen was quoted in a Penn Today article about the United States having the worst maternal mortality rate of any developed country and that rate steadily rising, increasing by 26% between 2000 and 2014. Experts across the University are addressing the crisis head-on, creating programs and conducting research to understand and address the role that social determinants, socioeconomics, and racism play.
French Institute for Demographic Studies Director (INED) Magda Tomasini, and Population Studies Center of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn PSC) Director Herbert L. Smith, have signed a 3-year partnership agreement.
On the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Science Friction” podcast, PSC associate Sarah Tishkoff discusses the limits of genetic-testing databases. Tishkoff says that to provide accurate results, DNA-testing companies need to improve both their databases’ representation of ethnically diverse populations and their ability to distinguish between ethnic groups.
PSC & PARC Associate, Irma T. Elo has been awarded the 2019 Making a Difference in Diverse Communities Grant for her "Cognitive Decline with Aging in Diverse Chilean Communities and in Comparison with Mexico and the U.S" project with fellow PSC & PARC Associate Jere R. Behrman.
PSC Associates, Kevin G. Volpp and Atheendar Venkataramani, are being honoured at the 2019 Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) Annual Meeting. Volpp is receiving The John M. Eisenberg National Award for Career Achievement in Research and Venkataramani, the Best Published Research Paper of the Year. Read more on LDI's website.
Jason Karlawish said a recent study on aging and scam awareness doesn’t prove a link between susceptibility and cognitive decline in seniors in the Associated Press. However, Karlawish says, the results “should be a call to action to health care systems, the financial services industry and their regulators.”
With the President’s Engagement Prize, seniors José Maciel of Yakima, Washington, and Antonio Renteria of Laredo, Texas, mentored by PARC associate Adriana Perez, hope to bring information about subjects like nutrition and sleep to the mushroom farmworkers of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The project reinforces preventive screenings already offered by a local clinic and primary care providers. Read more on Penn Today.
A new article in Nature mentions the need for racial and ethnic diversity in the groups of people studied in genomics research. “It would be very nice if there was one set of guidelines that fit every population, but not all groups are the same,” says Sarah Tishkoff, a human geneticist who pioneered efforts to work with African populations in genomics.
In a Penn Today article and on Knowledge@Wharton, Olivia S. Mitchell discusses the Treasury Department’s decision to allow private companies to pay retirees lump-sum pension payments. The move may benefit companies, but Mitchell believes the federal government should assess the long-term implications. “If we look at the retirement picture, we have to understand the incentives we are putting in people’s way—or the disincentives to save,” she explains.
Akudo Ejelonu was awarded the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center’s Russell Ackoff Doctoral Student Fellowship Award for 2019-2020 for her research on environmentally-induced migration and health outcome of climate migrants. She also got an honourable mention from the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship in March.
“There’s a lot of lower-level head trauma out there that no one knows the consequence of,” says John Q. Trojanowski of PARC in a New York Times article. Trojanowski plans to submit a research paper in the coming months on people who have suffered traumatic brain injury. “We are looking at people with traumatic brain injury, football players, rugby players, some people who fell off bikes.”
On Knowledge@Wharton, Olivia S. Mitchell discusses an American Economic Association survey that reveals high levels of gender and racial bias in the field of economics. “It’s very depressing, actually,” says Mitchell. “I’ve been teaching for 40 years now, and, sure, 40 years ago there were very few women in the profession. You stood out. You were sometimes made to feel uncomfortable or awkward. But I had hoped that today things would be much better.” Penn Today.
PSC & PARC associate Heather Schofield led a group of Wharton students on a four-day trip to Ethiopia during spring break for a close-up look at the African nation’s health, agricultural, business, and political sectors. Students said the Global Modular Course experience gave them perspectives they never could have found in a book. Read more in Penn Today.
New Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC): Joung, Andrew, Benjamin Lockwood, and Alex Rees-Jones. 2018. "A Pilot Study of Uncertainty in Income Tax Forecasts." University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC), 2018-23.
PSC & PARC researcher, Linda H. Aiken, the Claire M. Fagin Leadership Professor in Nursing, and Director, Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research (CHOPR), was recently awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RSCI) Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery.
New Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC): Furstenberg, Frank 2019. "Family Change in Global Perspective: How and Why Family Systems Change." University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC), 2019-22.
In a commentary in the journal Cell and articles in PBS News Hour and Penn Today, PARC researcher Sarah Tishkoff and co-authors, shine a light on the lack of ethnic diversity represented in genomic studies and on the consequences for health and medicine. “Leaving entire populations out of human genetic studies is both scientifically damaging and unfair,” Tishkoff says.
On the Knowledge@Wharton, Mark V. Pauly, of PSC & PARC, and Genevieve Kanter of the Perelman School of Medicine discuss the impact of changes to the Stark Law, which prevents doctors from self-referral, and the effectiveness of accountable care organizations (ACO).“I would be even more enthusiastic about ACOs if it had been shown that they actually improve the coordination of care,” says Kanter.
Penn Today talks about new research by Rachel M. Werner, of the Population Aging Research Center, found that post-hospital care costs and cuts impact readmission. “We found clear tradeoffs: While home health care may cost less, it doesn’t have the same intensity of care as a skilled nursing facility, which may be sending many [patients] back into the hospital.”
Can closing homeless encampments help Philadelphia’s opioid problem? A report authored by Dennis Culhane and co-authors and an article in Penn Today shows that shuttering two camps led to many new addiction-treatment slots and some successful placements in permanent or temporary housing. Many challenges remain, however, including a shortage of housing options.
U.S. fertility rates are at an all-time low, partially due to delayed parenthood, increased childlessness, fewer unplanned teenage pregnancies, and declines in immigration. As explained by Hans-Peter Kohler, Pilar Gonalons-Pons, and Emilio Alberto Parrado in Penn Today, the drop isn’t cause for alarm but does bring to light questions about work, family, and immigration policies that can affect population growth.
PARC researcher, Sarah Tishkoff's research Limits of long-term selection against Neandertal introgression was reported in a Penn Today article. Tishkoff works with former research associate Laura Scheinfeldt and former grad student Sameer Soi,to offer a new look at African genetic diversity, with data from 50 populations. Among other insights, their analysis suggests that hunter-gatherer groups, a few of whom speak languages involving clicks, share a common ancestry despite being geographically far-flung.
Richard A. Axilrod, WG’85, and Nancy M. Axilrod, parents, have made a $2 million gift to establish the Axilrod Term Fund in Health and Inequality. The fund has enabled Penn Arts and Sciences to recruit three new faculty members, Juan Pablo Atal, Courtney Boen, and Morgan Hoke, who will help establish Penn as a worldwide center for the analysis of inequality and health, with a specific focus on the distribution of health outcomes and how this distribution is shaped by social policies. Read more about the fund in the Penn SAS announcement.
Hans-Peter Kohler, PSC & PARC research associate, discusses the recent decline in U.S. birth rates on a Marketplace podcast. “At the level we are observing it in the U.S., it is not a problem. If the U.S. had South Korean, Japanese, or Italian fertility rates, arguably, the pressure to do something about this might be higher,” says Kohler.
In the largest study of its kind, PARC researcher Sarah Tishkoff and co-authors investigated the gut microbiomes of people from seven ethnically diverse populations in remote Botswana and Tanzania. Their findings illuminate the relative impact of lifestyle, geography, and genetics in shaping the microbiome. Read Penn Today for more.
PARC Associate Sarah Tishkoff offered commentary on a recent study on skin pigmentation in Latin American people in a Science article. Previous research on pigmentation “has been done on Europeans, where ironically we don’t see a lot of variation,” she said. “One of the last frontiers has been, ‘What about East Asians and Native Americans?’”
Check out the New Years message from Richard Hodes, Director, National Institute on Aging.