The McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research Awards Its First Pilot Study Grants

The McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research is pleased to announce the first recipients of its pilot study fund grants. The funds been awarded to five New York University faculty members working on research projects related to poverty studies. 

The purpose of the McSilver pilot grants is to encourage interdisciplinary projects across NYU in areas related to poverty and poverty studies that are based on sound science and grounded in empirical data. McSilver pilot grants will be awarded to full-time NYU faculty twice a year.

"The McSilver Institute is proud to support the efforts of these very talented researchers," said Professor Mary McKay, director of the McSilver Institute. "All of the projects reflect McSilver's mission to advance scientific knowledge in poverty studies by utilizing collaborative partnerships with colleagues in other disciplines as well as community stakeholders. Each will produce significant and meaningful findings that will benefit highly vulnerable children and families living in poverty."

The grants were awarded to projects based in areas that include politics and public policy, social and emotional development of immigrant children, child welfare, and delivery of family support services.

The following projects were funded in this cycle.

Measuring Inequality of Opportunity and Assessing its Origins in Public Policies across the Developed World by Assistant Professor of Politics and Public Policy Patrick J. Egan, Wilf Family Department of Politics

Egan's study will employ a new measurement strategy that is the first to assess the extent to which inequality of opportunity contributes to overall inequality. Initial work using this measure shows that in the United States, inequality of opportunity explains roughly half of overall inequality in non-black Americans' present day socio-economic status. Egan will expand his research to investigate how inequality of opportunity has shifted over time across the world's advanced industrial democracies; the extent to which its contribution to overall inequality is changing; and whether these two trends are affected by the policies adopted by left- and right-wing governments. 

Double Advantage or Double Disadvantage: Bilingual, Family SES, and Race/Ethnicity in Shaping Social and Emotional Developmental Trajectories for Children of Immigrants by Professor Wen-Jui Han, Silver School of Social Work

Concentrated immigration from Latin America and Asia has increased the use of non-English languages in the home, and the children of immigrant families are projected to account for a large portion of the growth in the school-aged population in the coming years. This project uses a nationally representative cohort of approximately 20,000 children who entered kindergarten in the 1998-1999 school year to examine factors that explain the social and emotional developmental trajectory of children of immigrants with different language backgrounds. This dimension of health well-being tends to be overlooked by policymakers at both the national and local levels.

An Examination of Peer Delivered Support for High-Need, Impoverished Families by Assistant Professor Mary C. Acri, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, School of Medicine

The goal of this pilot study is to characterize families who are receiving peer-delivered family support services, investigate the services being provided by family peer advocates, and examine the association between family support services and child outcomes. Conducted in partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the project has the potential to provide a comprehensive picture of families receiving peer-delivered family support services, assist credentialing entities across the country as they establish guidelines for provision of peer services, and advance the knowledge base by studying outcomes associated with peer-delivered support. 

Mechanisms In Neuro-Development (MIND) by Professor Clancy Blair and Professor and Vice Provost C. Cybele Raver, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development

Blair and Raver will conduct a pilot study on the role of poverty-related risks in predicting low-income preschoolers' stress physiology, immune function, and neurocognitive function. In addition, they will carry out a short-term longitudinal analysis of these key, yet underexplored, child outcomes as a function of children's first year in high quality preschool. Blair and Raver plan to build on the opportunity to collaborate with a community-based organization that serves a large number of poor ethnic minority families from some of New York City's most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.