Durham Mayor Bill Bell and Dr. Seth Pollak
On October 27th, 2016, a group of child and community advocates from across North Carolina met with researcher Dr. Seth Pollak to discuss his latest research on the brain development of children in poverty. A collaboration between Policy Bridge and the Center for Child and Family Policy, the meeting sparked an exciting dialogue between community leaders and Dr. Pollak about opportunities to further alleviate the impacts of child poverty. Dr. Pollak is the Letters and Science Distinguished Professor of psychology and professor of pediatrics, anthropology, neuroscience, and public affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Much of the conversation centered around ways to best identify and respond to poverty-related trauma that children and families experience in Durham and North Carolina. Dr. Pollak was able to provide examples and best practices from the field, and attendees provided their insight into the ongoing work of state and local community health, education, and service providers.
Nearly one in four children in North Carolina fall under the federal poverty line. These children, through exposure to stress and developmental delays, can experience significant gaps in academic achievement. The issue of child poverty demands creative data-driven solutions and cross-sector partnerships.
Shared dialogue across researchers and practitioners enhances the solutions that are put forward to solve some of society’s most complex issues. Through bridging the current gap that exists between academics and policymakers, collaborations can be mutually beneficial and produce greater outcomes.
Attendees of the meeting included Mayor Bill Bell of Durham, County Commissioner Ellen Reckhow, Dr. Jonathan Kotch, Exchange Family Center board member, and representatives from N.C. Child, N.C. Early Childhood Foundation, and the Durham Police Department.
In the wake of the controversy surrounding North Carolina’s House Bill 2, a Global Health Professor approached the Policy Bridge for help crafting a policy brief that outlines the deleterious effect of the bill on the health of North Carolinians. The Policy Bridge provided guidance on the structure and presentation of this professor’s main points, as well as suggestions for how to disseminate the piece.
A Duke researcher contacted the Policy Bridge for help identifying a community partner for a fellowship application. The funder required the researcher to work with a community partner that would help put the research findings into practice. The Policy Bridge generated ideas that fit the research priorities and connected with specific individuals, resulting in a stronger application.
Sanford’s Policy Bridge has provided crucial support in two of my recent projects. Jenni generated ideas regarding several community agencies that would fit our research priorities and connected us with specific individuals in the community agencies to discuss our ideas. One of these individuals partnered with us on the submission of the fellowship application.
– Jen Lansford, Research Professor, Sanford School
The Policy Bridge helps Duke faculty and researchers identify potential partners and build relationships with them. Leveraging prior experience with Durham Public Schools (DPS), the Policy Bridge has helped a Duke researcher build relationships with key partners. As a result, these researchers have forged a strong partnership with DPS that will increase their access to data and help improve the quality of the final product.
Jenni Owen offered invaluable assistance in forging a research partnership with the Durham Public Schools.
- Carolyn Barnes, Sanford School assistant professor
The Policy Bridge helped the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) plan a stakeholder engagement strategy to broaden the reach of its research on an innovative integration treatment model for persons with hepatitis C and alcohol use. This assistance will allow DGHI to generate broader interest in a maximally feasible care model for these patients.
It was mind-changing for us to consider engaging the people who might ultimately use our findings now, prior to study results.
- Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell, Associate Research Professor, Global Health; Director, DGHI Evidence Lab
On September 22nd, 2016, N.C. State legislators and other guests gathered for a discussion on “The Intersections of Child Welfare and Substance Abuse: Strategies for Supporting Families.” This was the 10th in a series of Family Impact Seminars designed to provide objective, non-advocacy, solution-oriented research on timely issues selected by policymakers. The seminars encourage policymakers to consider the impact of policies on families, just as they regularly consider the impact of policies on the economy and the environment.
Seminar materials are available here.
To view a recording of the seminar, watch here.
Special thanks to Susan Foosness (Public Consulting Group) for her leadership role in planning the 2016 N.C. Family Impact Seminar.
A Duke law professor asked the Policy Bridge for help identifying policymakers and practitioners in North Carolina who were experts on a specific K-12 education policy question that the legal clinic was considering addressing.
At the request of a Duke Medical School professor, the Policy Bridge provided guidance to Duke Vaccine Institute leaders about strategies for incorporating policy engagement into their work and for communicating policy-relevant findings to a range of stakeholders.
The Bridge program helped to bring together faculty who were interested in thinking through the area of vaccine policy and vaccine education, as a connection to both the Duke Human Vaccine Institute and the Department of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine.
– Sallie Permar, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, and Immunology, Human Vaccine Institute, Duke University Medical Center