- CDE - Demography Training Seminar (Dem Sem)
- CDHA - Population, Life Course and Aging Seminar
- Population Health Monday Seminar
- This week's CDE ANNOUNCE List
- CDE-ANNOUNCE is a weekly one-stop announcement list for seminars, lectures, and brownbags. This list showcases events of interest to demography researchers.
Alberto Palloni, Samuel Preston Professor of Sociology, and three other members of the University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty are among 338 individuals recently elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Palloni was recognized "for international distinction in mathematical social demography, particularly for microsimulations of African HIV-AIDS diffusion, and for identifying early childhood precursors of differential adult mortality and health."
The new understanding of the role of microbial communities in human health, and the growing community of researchers studying the microbiome - the totality of microbes and their genomes in a given environment - could soon begin to emerge in the large longitudinal studies that have long been a hallmark of the social sciences at UW-Madison. A September workshop sponsored by the Center for the Demography and Health and Aging and the Center for Demography and Ecology, sought to bring UW-Madison biologists and social scientists together to explore the microbial dimensions of human health.
A panel convened by the National Research Council's Committee on National Statistics has released a report, Nonresponse in Social Science Surveys: A Research Agenda. The study considers evidence about why survey response rates are declining and what this means for the accuracy of survey results. The report, funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, presents an agenda for future research on these issues. Sociology faculty member and Faculty Director of the UW Survey Center Nora Cate Schaeffer was one of the ten panel members who contributed to the workshop, panel presentations, and resulting report.
Each year, the College of Letters & Science welcomes a new batch of talented scholars to its collection of more than 800 faculty members.
They come to UW-Madison from all over the world, bringing unique insights and perspectives on both emerging and established disciplines.
This article features profiles of new CDE affiliates Michal Engelman, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Jason Fletcher, Associate Professor of Public Affairs and Sociology, and Yang Sao Xiong, Assistant Professor of Social Social Work (beginning Fall 2014)
Over the years some educators and news stories have lamented "grade inflation." They argue that grade point averages keep rising even while schools demand less from students than ever before. They conclude that grades no longer provide useful information to or about students because of a growing mismatch between student achievement and grades awarded.
But UW-Madison's Eric Grodsky, who is a researcher with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and an associate professor of sociology and educational policy studies, cautions that this is a misperception.
Microbiota play a significant, yet largely unexplored, role in human physiology, development and growth, and individual and social behavior. Current microbiome research primarily uses animal models and small samples to examine the coevolution of microbiota and hosts, mechanisms through which the microbiota influence host immunity, the interrelation of microbiota and hormonal regulation, interactions between microbiota, gene expression and environment and, importantly, the effects of composition and changes in microbiota early in life on health status and risks across the life course. Despite its potentially large effects on health outcomes and health related behaviors, demographers and epidemiologists engaged in research on population health remain on the sidelines. The workshop "Exploring the Microbiome in Population Health and Social Research" offered an opportunity to a small group of biologists, epidemiologists, and population and social scientists to learn about the status of current microbiome research, to assess the most promising avenues of future research, to explore the potential of current and future population based studies as vehicles to collect information on the microbiome, and to explore research collaborations across disciplines.
Archived video of the workshop will be available on the web soon. Check back later for a link.
Articles include "Explaining the Gender Wealth Gap" by Erin Ruel and Robert M. Hauser; "Remittances in the Republic of Georgia: Correlates, Economic Impact, and Social Capital Formation" by Theodore P. Gerber and Karina Torosyan; "Migration and Father Absence: Shifting Family Structure in Mexico" by Jenna Nobles; and "Examining Antecedents of U.S. Nonmarital Fatherhood" by Marcia J. Carlson, Alicia G. VanOrman, and Natasha Pilkauskas.
The American Statistical Association is pleased to announce that the first Causality in Statistics Education Award will go to Felix Elwert of the department of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for his innovative two-day course, Causal Inference with Directed Acyclic Graphs. Elwert will receive a $5,000 prize and an award plaque at the 2013 Joint Statistical Meetings in Montréal, Québec, Canada.
Those who oppose affirmative action sometimes argue that such policies do far more harm than good to students who are admitted to competitive colleges or universities without the academic preparation of their peers. But a forthcoming article in the journal "Sociology of Education" (by Michal Kurlaender of the University of California-Davis and Eric Grodsky of UW-Madison) indicates this may not be the case. The authors found that although mismatched students were at a slight disadvantage relative to their better prepared peers, that disadvantage is almost entirely accounted for by high school grades and entrance exam scores.
John Karl Scholz, Nellie June Gray Professor of Economic Policy and chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been selected as the next dean of the College of Letters & Science, UW-Madison's largest academic unit.
Scholz will succeed Gary Sandefur, who has led Letters & Science since 2004. Sandefur, a sociologist, will spend the next year on research leave before returning to the faculty.
"When Sons Become Fathers: Examining Patterns of Fathering Across Generations" by graduate student Christina Diaz has been selected as the winner of the Society for the Study of Social Problems Family Section Student Paper Award. The judges found Christina's paper to be the best overall paper in terms of the incorporation of family theory, the methods used, the analysis provided, and its relevance to the mission of SSSP and the family section.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of demography at the Université catholique de Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium), the University will award a Doctorate Honoris Causa to Alberto Palloni. The University notes, "your work has inspired several generations of professors and students in demography at the University of Louvain, and the wide variety of topics, methods and regions you have covered in your work also reflects the way demography is done in Louvain." Congratulations, Alberto!
More than 50 CDE-affiliated students, faculty and researchers participated in PAA 2013 as presenters, session chairs, or discussants.
CDE graduate students Yu Wang and Elizabeth Wrigley-Field each won poster prizes at PAA. Click on the links here for photos of the poster winners. Yu Wang: "An Exploratory Analysis of the Determinants of Hukou Intermarriage in Urban China" and Elizabeth Wrigley-Field: "Unequally Insecure: Racial Disparities in Job Insecurity, 1979-2009"
Dana Garbarski was recently awarded a grant from the Charles Cannell Fund in Survey Methodology from the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. Garbarski's research seeks to learn more about how interviewers and respondents interact when faced with sensitive questions during survey interviews. The link above describes more about Garbarski's work.
Felix Elwert has received a Vilas Associate award from the UW-Madison Graduate School. The Vilas Associates Competition recognizes new and on-going research of the highest quality and significance. Elwert's award honors his work on statistical methods for causal inference from observational data with applications to neighborhood effects and the determinants of educational outcomes.
Alberto Palloni's work as part of a panel of experts was recently published in the study "U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health" and has received extensive media coverage in The New York Times, USA Today, and National Public Radio among other outlets. Palloni and graduate student James Yonker gathered and analyzed the information in Chapter 2 and wrote sections on health status across the life cycle that are included in the report.
"Exploring population concepts in multiethnic gene-environment interaction studies" will analyze the challenges faced by researchers as they work with genomic data collected using different definitions of socio-cultural categories. The project examines the social and ethical dimensions of analyses and results generated by this new and growing arena of research.
CDE grad Dana Garbarski (now a postdoc at the Health Disparities Research Scholars training program at UW-Madison) received an award from The Charles Cannell Fund in Survey Methodology of the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan. This award is granted to junior researchers to examine interviewer-respondent interaction during the survey interview and its effects on the validity and quality of survey data. Dana will use her award to study interviewer and respondent interactional rapport during the end-of-life planning section of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. The purpose of this study is to address two overarching goals: to investigate how interviewers and respondents interactionally deal with potentially sensitive or threatening topics, and to explore the interactional cues associated with concordant and discordant proxy reports of the end-of-life treatment preferences of one's spouse.
Sociology graduate student Anna Haskins just won the ASA Population Section's grad student paper award for her paper "Unintended Consequences of Mass Imprisonment: Effects of Paternal Incarceration on Child School Readiness." Congratulations, Anna!
A proposal to study the "Measurement of Self-Reported Health," submitted by Dana Garbarski, Nora Cate Schaeffer, and Jen Dykema was among the winning entries in RTI's 2012 Research Challenge. The research team will have their questions included as part of an in-person survey of Chicago residents this summer. The goal of their proposal is to examine whether the validity of self-reported health is improved by varying question context and the ordering of the response options. The intent of their experiment is to make important contributions to research on survey methodology, health outcomes and disparities, and any field interested in capturing indicators of health in their surveys.
The UW-Madison Global Health Institute has awarded start-up funding to eight research projects on the UW-Madison campus. The Institute, a merger of the Center for Global Health and Global Health Initiative, awards the two year, $40,000 grants to enable researchers to flesh out their ideas and give them a leg up in securing more substantial funding. The two CDE researchers receiving GHI grants this year are:
Monica Grant, Population Health, "Mobile Phone-Disseminated Health Information"
Alberto Palloni, Sociology, Early-Life Health, "Economic Growth and Inequality in Human Capital Formation"
New book addresses human sexuality from a life course perspective
Sex for Life: From Virginity to Viagra, How Sexuality Changes Throughout Our Lives. Edited by Laura M. Carpenter and John DeLamater. NYU Press, 2012.
Sexual beliefs, behaviors and identities are interwoven throughout our lives, from childhood to old age. An edited collection of original empirical contributions united through its use of a distinctive, cutting-edge theoretical framework, Sex for Life critically examines sexuality across the entire lifespan. Rooted in diverse disciplines and employing a wide range of research methods, the chapters explore the sexual and social transitions that typically map to broad life stages, as well as key age-graded physiological transitions, such as puberty and menopause, while drawing on the latest developments in gender, sexuality, and life course studies. Co-author John DeLamater is a CDE affiliate.
Cash incentives can increase survey response rates
Making stronger connections between data collection methods and survey measures is an important step in helping identify factors associated with infant mortality and low birth weight. Toward that end a prepaid cash incentive was found to increase response rates by 10 percentage points or more compared to a coupon for diapers or no incentive among African American mothers in Wisconsin PRAMS (Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System). This research was published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal. Jennifer Dykema, CDE affiliate, is the study's lead author.
Growing up in bad neighborhoods has a devastating impact
Growing up in a poor neighborhood can have a devastating impact on the chance of graduating from high school. A new study by CDE affiliate Felix Elwert with Geoff Wodtke and David Harding from the University of Michigan (links and pdf below) is the first to investigate the effect of spending the entire childhood in a disadvantaged neighborhood and finds that children who grew up in the most (compared to the least) disadvantaged quintile of U.S. neighborhoods have a 20-percentage point lower high school graduation rate. The study was published in the American Sociological Review.
A study led by CDE affiliate Whitney Witt found that, by the time their children reached age 5, mothers of babies born at very low birth weight suffered much worse health than mothers of normal birth-weight children. The research was published in the journal Quality of Life Research.
Poor mental health before pregnancy predicts which pregnant women are most likely to have a pregnancy complication and give birth to a low birth weight baby, a new nationwide survey reveals. This research was published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal. Whitney Witt, CDE affiliate, is the study's lead author.