Honing in on small geographic areas within districts in India yields large differences

Indian mother holding baby

Estimating health indicators, such as birth weight and size, is typically calculated at the district level in India, a practice that fails to capture the inequalities that may exist between smaller geographic areas, such as villages. A team of researchers affiliated with the India Policy Insights project have published a study that takes a novel look at low birth weight (LBW) and low birth size (LBS) across these smaller geographical…

Better than average… study applies complex variance modelling to more accurately assess treatment effects of the Head Start program

Road sign that says "average"

When assessing the effectiveness of a large-scale, federally funded program such as Head Start—a program designed to better prepare children ages 3-5 from low-income families for school—it is limited to only look at the Average Treatment Effect given the “considerable systematic heterogeneity within population between individuals.” This study applies complex variance modelling, an extension of multilevel modelling, to capture the variance, as well as the mean, in order to shed…

First-ever dashboard displaying life expectancies on the U.S. Congressional District level

Dashboard showing life expectancy by U. S. Congressional District

Despite persistent health disparities in the United States, health data on the Congressional District level continues to be meager. “As our nation transitions towards recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and reducing health disparities, it is imperative for politically relevant public health data to be available in a clear and direct manner,” said Dr. S.V. Subramanian, Harvard Pop Center faculty member and one of the leading researchers at the Geographic Insights…

India Policy Insights designated a “Key Initiative” for the Government of India

Screen shot of Policy Tracker dashboard

India Policy Insights (IPI), the flagship project of the Geographic Insights Lab at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, has been designated as a Key Initiative of NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), the official policy design and innovation think tank for the Government for India. This partnership will allow NITI to strengthen its monitoring capacity by leveraging IPI’s online geo-visual data platform that synthesizes and visually…

Researchers call into question the accuracy of using stunting as a metric for measuring undernutrition among children in India

Child in a field in India

S V Subramanian and Rockli Kim, along with their colleague Omar Karlsson, have authored a timely commentary published in The Lancet Global Health in which they caution policy makers in India — who are currently reformulating India’s flagship nutrition program, POSHAN Abhiyaan — about utilizing the stunting metric to determine the effectiveness of interventions targeting child undernutrition. Since the height of a child is partially genetically determined by the height…

When estimating global child undernutrition, are the standard measures enough?

Child in a field in India

An investigation published in JAMA Network Open Global Health reports that currently relied-upon anthropometric measures (i.e., stunting, underweight, wasting) may not be comprehensive enough to accurately assess global child undernutrition. Harvard Pop Center researchers Rockli Kim and S V Subramanian, along with their colleagues Markus Heemann and Sebastian Vollmer, suggest that dietary and food-based measures should be factored in as well. Photo: EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid on Flickr

Geo-mapping risk of COVID-19 in India

Map of India with PC districts in background with headline Geo-mapping of COVID-19 Risk Correlates Across Districts and Parliamentary Constituencies

A paper published in a special edition of the Harvard Data Science Review utilizes geo-mapping to identify high-risk areas for the spread of COVID-19 across the Districts and Parliamentary Constituencies of India. The researchers focus on four risk correlates including: population density percentage of population that is exposed to crowding in a household, percentage of population without access to handwashing facilities percentage of population over 65 years of age These…

Weighing the value of crowdsourced versus official COVID-19 data in India

Face of stopwatch

A piece on natureindia.com written by researchers affiliated with the Harvard Pop Center — Weixing Zhang, Rockli Kim and S.V. Subramanian— highlights the importance of timely data on COVID-19 infection rates in order to slow the spread of the virus. Crowdsourced data, although not verified by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has the advantage when it comes to speed, as it may be available up to two days…

Narrowing in on disparities in life expectancy across the U.S. with help of census-tract level data

Neighborhood

A study published in PNAS is the first to look at life-expectancy data at the local, state, and county levels across the U.S. Findings reveal significant disparities at the micro level (census-tract) suggesting that analyzing life expectancy data at the typical state and county levels may not be local enough to get an accurate picture of life expectancy inequalities. “There is a need for greater precision and targeting of local…

Mothers in India who experienced neonatal death of child found to be at increased risk of additional neonatal deaths

Harvard Pop Center faculty member S (Subu) V Subramanian, PhD, and visiting scientist Rockli Kim, ScD, are among the authors of a study published in the JAMA Open Network that could help to identify high-risk pregnancies and potentially reduce the neonatal mortality rate in India. Read the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health website.