News and Announcements

Study shows using machine learning algorithms can reliably predict air quality during major wildfire

Reid_ColleenHarvard Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar Colleen Reid, PhD, is lead author on a study published Environmental Science & Technology that applied machine learning algorithms that combine data from satellites and chemical transport models (CMTs) – a type of computer numerical model – to predict fine particulate matter during the 2008 northern California wildfires.

How can you statistically correct for missing data and selection bias in HIV prevalence estimates?

Mark McGovernMissing data is a common problem in HIV research due to non-participation in testing, and selection bias can occur if non-participation in testing is associated with HIV status. For example, longitudinal data suggests that individuals who know or suspect that they are HIV positive are less likely to participate in HIV surveys. Four researchers from Harvard Pop Center, including Mark McGovern, PhD, Till Bärnighausen, MD, Joshua Salomon, PhD,  and David Canning, PhD, have published a study in BMC Medical Research Methodology that explores a practical and easy-to-implement method to correct for selection bias in HIV prevalence estimates.

Chicago police use Papachristos’ theories to target those at highest risk & curb violence

papachristos.resizedThe research of Harvard Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar program alum Andrew Papachristos, PhD, on social-network violence is featured in this article in the Chicago Sun Times. Papachristos and colleagues published a study in Social Science & Medicine that revealed that 70 percent of nonfatal injuries occur within networks containing 6 percent of the city’s population. Based on Papachristos’ social-network theories, the Chicago Police Department is generating lists of at-risk people, beat officers are paying closer attention to those individuals to try and prevent violence, and some social service intervention is being offered.

Applying regression discontinuity in epidemiology; a study on when to start HIV treatment

Till BärnighausenHarvard Pop Center faculty member Till Bärnighausen, MD, has co-authored an article published in Epidemiology in response to a commentary on thier previous study that explores applying regression discontinuity designs in epidemiology published in the September issue of the journal.

New approach for estimating HIV prevalence

Mark McGovern Harvard Pop Center PGDA Fellow Mark McGovern, PhD, and faculty member Till Bärnighausen, MD, have co-authored a study published in Epidemiology that explores the usefulness of applying copula functions to the more standard selection model in order to more accurately evaluate HIV prevalence estimates.

Latest Bow Street Bulletin, Harvard Pop Center’s newsletter, available now

University 02.aiThe Winter 2015 edition of the Bow Street Bulletin is available on our website now. The study by Pop Center Research Associate Clemens Noelke and Pop Center faculty member Jason Beckfield on recession, job loss and health in older US adults is the cover story. Plus, learn more about the recent achievements of Pop Center faculty, fellows, affiliates and staff, as well as about  upcoming seminars and events.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Dean Julio Frenk elected to Robert Wood Johnson Foundation board of trustees

deanfrenk_portrait_dec2010_11The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the health and health care of all Americans, has announced the appointment of Julio Frenk, MD, MPH, PhD to their board of trustees. Frenk, formerly health minister of Mexico, has been dean of the faculty of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health since 2009 and is a leading international figure in the field of public health.

Are socioeconomic & demographic factors driving inequalities in BMI at the population level? Maybe not.

Fahad-Razak_310_x_440Harvard Bell Fellow Fahad Razak, MD, Pop Center faculty member S V Subramanian (Subu), PhD, and Pop Center doctoral student Aditi Krishna are authors of a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that explores population-level changes in the BMI distribution over time, looking carefully at inequalities in weight gain between groups vs. within groups (interindividual). The findings suggest that future research should focus on understanding factors driving inequalities in weight gain between individuals.

Does awareness of disability assistance influence how we evaluate health symptoms of others?

O'Brien-RourkeHarvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar Rourke O’Brien, PhD, has authored a Short Report in Social Science & Medicine based on evidence from a nationally representative survey. The researcher found that respondents in the experimental group (primed to consider the existence of disability assistance) were less likely to rate the symptoms of a hypothetical individual as severe relative to the control group. In addition, these respondents were more likely to blame the individual for his/her health condition.

Obesity experts weigh in on influences & nuances of framing on obesity-prevention discourse

selena_310_x_440Harvard RWJF HSS Selena Ortiz, PhD, is lead author on a study published in the American Journal of Public Health that examines the influence of framing on the obesity prevention discourse. She and her colleagues conducted interviews with experts to learn more about two dominant frames: personal responsibility and environmental, looking closely at the environmental subframe of taste-engineering – food industry strategies designed to influence the overconsumption of certain foods and beverages.