News and Announcements

Harvard RWJF Alum Reanne Frank Comments on Hispanic Population Growth in Ohio Newspaper

Harvard RWJF Alum Reanne Frank is quoted in an article in The Columbus Dispatch on the growth of the Hispanic population. Frank, currently an associate professor of sociology at Ohio State University, explains that nationally Hispanic population is growing faster than non-Hispanic because more US-born Hispanics are reaching adulthood and having families, as opposed to the growth being driven by immigration.

Older American workers more likely to be depressed after job loss than their European counterparts

In support of a recent study on job loss and depression in the USA and Europe published in the International Journal of Epidemiology and reported by CBS News, Harvard Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman has written a commentary. The HSPH researchers and their colleagues found that older American workers (aged 50-64) are more likely to experience depression after job loss than their European counterparts. In Berkman’s commentary, The hidden and not so hidden benefits of work: identity, income and interaction, she discusses three kinds of loss that may be central to affecting health and well-being.

Can friends help friends quit smoking?

According to a new study published in  Journal of Health and Social Behavior and co-authored by RWJF alum Steven Haas, adolescents tend to be more powerful in influencing their friends to start smoking than in helping them to quit. “In order to become a smoker, kids need to know how to smoke, they need to know where to buy cigarettes and how to smoke without being caught, which are all things they can learn from their friends who smoke,” said Haas. “But, friends are unlikely to be able to provide the type resources needed to help them quit smoking.” The good news? If we can develop those kind of resources, aim them specifically at teens, and then leverage the power of peer influence, we could make great progress in helping teens quit smoking. 

Debt hurts more than just your credit rating

A recent study led by former RWJF scholar Elizabeth Sweet found that high student debt leads to a greater incidence of high blood pressure and depression in people ages 24-32. The study was featured in both Time and Forbes. With regard to cultural messages regarding an individual’s responsibility for debt, Sweet pointed out that debt, while often impossible to avoid, is stigmatized by our society. “[Debt] is going to be a way of life,” she saidwhich means that prevention and treatment of the associated adverse health effects is all the more important.

Harvard Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman is appointed president of APC

berkman.resizedHarvard Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman has recently been appointed president of The Association of Population Centers (APC). The organization, an independent group of universities and research groups whose mission is to foster collaborative demographic research and data sharing, translate basic population research for public policy decision-makers, and provide educational and training opportunities in population studies, was founded in 1991, and is open to any organization with a primary interest in population research and training.

Harvard Pop Center Bell Fellow Ian Salas Receives Prestigious Award

Salas_headshotJ.M. Ian Salas, PhD, one of our current Bell Fellows, was recently presented with the prestigious Dorothy S. Thomas Award by the Population Association of America (PAA) at their annual meeting in Boston. This award, which recognizes research focused on the interrelationships among social, economic and demographic variables, was given to Salas for a paper that was published while he was a doctoral student at the University of California Irvine on the consequences of funding disruptions on family planning programs in the Philippines. Currently, at the Harvard Pop Center, his research continues as he investigates the behavioral mechanisms behind the persistence of fertility differentials by socioeconomic status, and the effects of recurring natural disasters on fertility and health at birth and early childhood, including its ramifications for later life outcomes.

Self-confidence of Fukushima mothers lower after nuclear power plant disaster

A first look at maternal self-confidence after experiencing a nuclear power accident co-authored by former Harvard Pop Center director and current affiliated faculty member Michael R. Reich suggests that such disasters do lower maternal self-confidence, which can lead to an increase in interpersonal problems and depression.