Lipitz Public Health Policy Fund Awards
The Office of Public Health Practice and Training—in collaboration with the Bloomberg School's Department of Health Policy and Management's Public Health Practice Committee—initiated the Lipitz Public Health Policy Fund Awards in the 2011-2012 academic year.
These awards provide financial resources in support of innovative, applied public health policy projects led by graduate students at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Up to five grants for student-led public health policy are awarded (up to $1,000 for masters public health policy projects such as Capstone or other special studies projects, and up to $3,000 for doctoral public health policy projects).
The Lipitz grants aim to promote innovative, interdisciplinary projects that will advance public health policy via engagement in the policy process, dissemination, field research, and/or public health practice. This award program seeks to support Bloomberg School graduate students who engage with government agencies/officials, community-based organizations, or other partners to contribute to the development of policy solutions to public health problems.
Projects may concentrate on any phase of the policy process, including policy development, implementation and evaluation, policy analysis, and promotion of evidence-based public health policies. Projects may focus on policies that occur in the public sector through legislation, regulation, or the court system, at the local, state, federal, or global level. Projects based outside the U.S. are also eligible.
Christie Balch, Part-time MPH Candidate, Evaluation of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Rebate Program in Wisconsin
Christie will evaluate an innovative community supported agriculture (CSA) rebate program in Wisconsin in which health insurance companies provide rebates to their members who sign up for CSA shares. Since the program’s inception in 2000, the number of CSA shares sold in Wisconsin has dramatically increased—over 7 times. Joining a CSA can increase vegetable consumption, and subsidizing the cost of a CSA can make it accessible to families who might not otherwise subscribe. Several Maryland organizations have expressed interest in replicating this program; the award from the Lipitz Public Health Policy Fund Award will help us evaluate the Wisconsin program and then begin to investigate this possibility in Maryland.
Christie is thrilled to work on this issue because it includes an innovative pricing incentive for fresh, healthy produce while serving as an economic stimulus for small-scale sustainable farms. Her hope is that this work will lead to increased vegetable consumption from more sustainable and economically viable farms, resulting in healthier people and healthier land in Maryland.
Dustin Gibson, PhD Candidate, Global Disease Control and Epidemiology, Randomized Controlled Trial of the Impact of Mobile Phone Delivered Reminders and Travel Subsidies to Improve Childhood Immunization Coverage Rates and Timeliness in Western Kenya
Throughout lower income countries, timeliness and uptake of vaccines are often problematic. Dustin will conduct a 144 village-randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test whether mobile phone short message system (SMS) reminders, either with or without mobile-phone based travel subsidies will improve timeliness, coverage, and drop-out rates of pentavalent vaccines in rural western Kenya. In addition, this project will assess measles coverage, scheduled to be given at 9 months and no incentive or reminder paired with it, to see if the interventions’ effects persist. Dustin will be collaborating with the Kenya Medical Research Institute and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEMRI/CDC) with co-investigators from the Kenyan Division of Immunization and Vaccination (DVI) and guidance on scalability from the Kenyan Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation and the Director of the Division of Family Health.
Too often study trials are conducted, published, and left on a bookshelf. This study design, however, is being conducted with scalability in mind by actively seeking input and guidance from Kenyan government stake holders such that if the intervention works, it is more likely to be adopted. Dustin is thankful for the Lipitz Public Health Policy Fund Award because the support with help these discussions to occur, collaborations to strengthen, and new partnerships to emerge.
Lucy Marcil, MPH/MD Candidate, Preparation of a Field Guide for Establishing Community Partnerships, Mapping, and Census Taking in Slum Communities by the BRAC Manoshi Project in Urban Bangladesh
Lucy’s project examines the role of community engagement, social mapping and census taking during the establishment of the BRAC Manoshi Project, a maternal-child health project for urban slum communities in Bangladesh. The main objective of the project is to better understand the degree to which these methods contribute to the success of community-based urban health projects and to write a field manual that other NGOs can use to replicate these methods while creating similar urban slum health programs. To achieve these goals, Lucy traveled to Dhaka, Bangladesh for three weeks. During this time, she interviewed six project officials at BRAC, a major development organization, undertook a field visit to one of the urban slum sites, and gathered information and data on the project that BRAC has compiled.
Lucy is excited to have had the opportunity to travel to Bangladesh for research on the Manoshi project, which has allowed her to learn about a cutting edge urban slum health program and to contribute to institutional knowledge about this program. Her hope is that the field guide resulting from this project will impact policy surrounding urban slum maternal-child health programs. Without the Lipitz Public Health Policy Fund Award, this work would not have been possible.
Brian Wahl, MPH Candidate, Factors Affecting Policy Decisions Around the Introduction of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine and Rotavirus Vaccine in National Immunization Programs
Vaccines are an important component of efforts to reduce the global burden of pneumonia and diarrhea in children. Unfortunately, the impact of new vaccines has been limited by, among other factors, lack of sufficient access in countries where the vaccines are needed most. Brian’s research utilizes applied statistical methods to identify factors associated with policy decisions related to the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) and rotavirus vaccine. The aim of this project is to better understand policymaking challenges to help inform vaccine introduction strategies that could minimize unnecessary delays. Brian will be traveling to Geneva, Switzerland to conduct this research in collaboration with individuals at the GAVI Alliance – a global public-private partnership focused on expanding access to vaccines in the world’s poorest countries.
Pneumonia and diarrhea are the leading causes of death globally among children less than five years of age. Brian is excited to have the opportunity to further explore the challenges around access to new vaccines that could dramatically reduce child morbidity and mortality associated with these two diseases. He is also thankful that the Lipitz Public Health Policy Fund Award will allow him to pursue this research while working closely with global leaders in the field of immunization.
2011-2012 Award Recipients
Adele Houghton, part-time MPH Candidate, Prevalence of Green Building Strategies Reducing Localized Climate Change Vulnerabilities
Adele Houghton studied the link between the effects of climate change and the amount of green building projects in Austin, TX and Chicago, IL. Her study used spatial multiple logistic regression to analyze the strength of association at the neighborhood level between the prevalence of green building design strategies promoting climate change resilience and vulnerability to flooding and/or extreme heat events. The resulting Health Impact Assessment outlined recommendations for prioritizing green building strategies with the highest probability of enhancing neighborhood resilience to extreme heat and/or flooding events.
Through this project, Adele discovered how complicated a simple research question can become when you start delving into the details. She is very grateful for the Lipitz Scholarship, as it supported the application of her study findings in a real-life policy context. The findings will be presented at the American Public Health Association annual meeting as a model for integrating climate change considerations into the green building process.
Linnea Laestadius, PhD Candidate, Department of Health Policy and Management, Livestock Production, Meat and Dairy Consumption, and Climate Change: A Grounded Theory of NGO Responses
Linnea Laestadius seeks to understand what shapes non-governmental organization (NGO) responses to the evidence that meat consumption contributes to climate change. In addition to developing a theory explaining these responses, she is working to develop recommendations for researchers and advocates who seek more political action and public education on the issue. More specifically, she is exploring how NGOs in the United States, Canada, and Sweden have engaged with meat consumption and climate change, and is also working to understand the barriers that have prevented groups from addressing this topic further. Additionally, she is examining the motivations underlying specific messaging choices on the matter. The findings from this work will be relevant to other emerging questions that would benefit from NGO engagement.
This project has taught her that addressing behavior change is often seen to be challenging and not always a priority for many environmental NGOs, which raises questions about the best approach to changing norms about diets, transportation, and water use in light of environmental concerns. Linnea's research was recently presented at the JHU Homewood campus.
Susan Lynch, DrPH Candidate, Department of Health Policy and Management, Studying Evidence-Based Guidelines for Early Detection of Alzheimer's Disease and Developing an Education Campaign for the Medical and Public Health Communities and the Public at Large Regarding the Benefits of Early Detection
Susan Lynch reviewed evidence-based interventions and best practices for early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and made recommendations for potential public health education campaigns (in collaboration with the Public Policy Office of the Alzheimer's Association in Washington, DC). The final product will include a work plan to educate the general public as well as the public health and medical communities on the benefits of early detection of Alzheimer's disease.
Through this project, Susan learned the importance of defining the scope of a policy project upfront, as well as defining key terms and reference points for a policy project. For example, "early" detection of disease can mean different things to different people. When completed, the Work Plan Final Report will be presented at two conference meetings of the Alzheimer's Association in New York and Washington, DC.
Ligia Paina, PhD Candidate, Department of International Health, Dual Practice in Uganda: A Mixed Methods Study on Policy and Management
Ligia Paina examined dual practice policy and management in Kampala, Uganda. Ligia began with a description of dual practice policy and management followed by an analysis of public sector health provider preferences. The work contributes evidence to the dialogue on health workforce issues in Uganda and may offer a model for other settings as well. She interviewed health providers and facility leadership at five public sector facilities in Kampala, as well as stakeholders from professional associations, the private not-for-profit sector, the private for profit sector, and policy-makers in Kampala. These interview findings provided the basis for the choice experiment questionnaire.
This project has taught her the importance of history and politics to Uganda's contemporary issues in health workforce management, as well as the need for collaboration with local researchers. Ligia is very grateful for the Lipitz funding, as well as the support from mentors and co-workers in Uganda. The qualitative findings from this work will be presented at the Health Systems Research Symposium in Beijing.