Month: January 2019

Opioids & Racial Disparities in Durham

On December 7th, Duke Policy Bridge convened a small group of Durham County representatives, healthcare managers, community leaders, and Duke researchers met to discuss ways to address racial disparities. The group was convened for the purpose of offering Duke’s expertise to assist the county in identifying the causes of the racial disparities in opioid substance use outcomes. The use of opioids and fentanyl is rising, and the Durham community is aiming to be proactive instead of reactive.

Officials met to discuss top issues and concerns identified by Durham County Officials and community representatives and were tasked with finding possible solutions and resources at Duke. One such problem is locating primary treatment organization data. Duke has an interdisciplinary research team which has compiled primary treatment organization data from Duke Health System, Alliance Behavioral Health, and others. Several other issues were identified by the committee and a fruitful conversation has led to talks about what is next for Durham and how Duke can assist.

Helping Youth Climb Out of Poverty

Prof. Anirudh Krishna took these photos of a slum in Bangalore, India. This was the slum we recorded in for the Ways & Means podcast, Season 3 episode 1.

In our latest engagement story, we highlight the work of Anirudh Krishna, a professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy.  He has been studying how people escape poverty and how they come to be poor in the first place. “No one goes beyond occupations like the ones in the community. There are a number of things that create big obstacles to aspirations and achievement,” said Krishna. “I found many kids who were smart, very smart,” said Krishna, but the children aspired to be the highest occupation in their community.

Krishna researched ways to propel children into alternative careers and, ultimately, upward mobility. Answering this question led to several searches for what he identified as social mobility promoting organizations (SMPOs). SMPOs promote a combination of life skills, such as job preparation, confidence building and professional development, with a central goal of getting youth in careers they would otherwise not have. His team identified several organizations in India that fit their SMPO definition and Krishna estimates that these organizations are collectively helping no more than 100,000-150,000 children. In India 100,000-150,000 children may not be a staggering number, but it the start to something incredible.

You can read the full article here.

New Health Data Sharing Project

In our November installment of our Engagement Stories series, Krishna Udayakumar and Patricia Odero with the Duke Global Health Innovation Center and Duke Innovations in Healthcare are collaborating with several organizations on a joint USAID-funded project called Regional Action through Data (RAD). Throughout East and West Africa, citizens who live near their nation’s borders may receive health services in multiple states, which makes it challenging to maintain continuity of care for these populations. RAD is bridging gaps in health data sharing and making patient records accessible across borders.

Udayakumar and Odero said their work on RAD taught them to “engage early rather than showing up with a fully formed project and results that may not answer the question appropriately from the policymaker’s perspective. The earlier you can engage with policymaking bodies, the better you can understand their needs and their perspective.” Both trained physicians, Udayakumar and Odero, shared the importance this work holds for improving patient-centered care. The team shared, “at the end of the day, our mission is to improve heath and healthcare.”

You can read the full article on the Duke Today website.

Regional Action through Data is a 5-year project funded by USAID’s Global Bureau for Africa. To learn more about this project, please visit the Duke Global Health and Innovation Center’s website.

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