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Research Projects

The following projects and programs offer web sites with detailed information about their research: study design, data collection, findings, publications, and more. To learn more about a project or about data access, please visit the project’s web site.

Add Health (The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health)

Kathleen Mullan Harris

Add Health is a nationally representative study of the health and behavior of adolescents in grades 7-12 in the United States in 1994-95 who have been followed through adolescence and the transition to adulthood with special emphasis on the effects of social context.

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Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Add Health: A Genotype and Phenotype Resource for the Global Scientific Community

Kathleen Mullan Harris

The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) is completing the genotyping of 6,000 archived sample using genome array technology, resulting in a cohort of approximately 12,000 GWAS results. These data will be made available to the research community, allowing extensive analyses of gene by environment (GxE) interactions using the rich phenotypic data available from four waves of data.

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Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Analysis of Data from Five Low- to Middle-Income Country Birth Cohort Studies

Linda S. Adair

This project is an analysis of data from five low to middle income country birth cohort studies to ascertain relationships between: (1) physical and social environment in early childhood and adult indictors of health and capacity; (2) physical and social environment in early childhood and growth in the first two years of life; and (3) how indicators of the physical and social environment in early childhood moderate the relationships between growth in the first two years of life and adult indicators of health and incapacity.

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Carolina Population Center

Phil Morgan

CPC was established in 1966 to serve the population research and training needs of an elected body of faculty fellows. CPC draws its current body of 63 faculty fellows from 15 departments and five schools across campus. Eight signature themes collectively describe the population research interests of the faculty: Sexual Behavior, Contraceptive Use, and Reproductive Health; Fertility, Families, and Children; Life Course Perspectives; Biological and Social Interactions; Population Movement, Diversity, and Inequality; Place, Space, and Health; Population and Environment; and Population and Health Policies and Programs. The strength of CPC derives from the individual and collective strengths of its faculty. As of May 31, 2013, CPC’s portfolio consisted of 59 funded research projects, covering topics from the local to global. Research based at CPC is highly collaborative and interdisciplinary, with a large majority of funded projects involving more than one investigator and the majority of those involving investigators from different departments or schools and often other institutional researchers.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey

Linda S. Adair

This program follows a cohort of Filipino women who gave birth between May 1, 1983, and April 30, 1984. Originally conceptualized as a study of infant feeding patterns and how feeding decisions interact with social, economic, and environmental factors to affect health, nutritional, demographic, and economic outcomes, this cohort was reinterviewed in 1991-2, 1994, and 1999.

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Center for Galapagos Studies

Stephen J. Walsh

The Center for Galapagos Studies (CGS) is the coordinating unit for UNC's Galapagos Initiative, which marshals Carolina's research strengths to address the complex human and environmental pressures in the Galapagos archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and birthplace of evolutionary science.

Center on Antisocial Drug Dependence: The Genetics of HIV Risk Behaviors

Carolyn Tucker Halpern, John Hewitt (Overall PI, University of Colorado at Boulder)

The overall goal of this project is to contribute to our understanding of the etiology of individual differences in behavioral disinhibition, the relationship of this to drug abuse and the development of dependence, and the role that these play in the propensity for risky behaviors that may result in STDs, including HIV/AIDS.

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China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS)

Barry M. Popkin

This project was designed to examine the effects of the health, nutrition, and family planning policies and programs implemented by national and local governments and to see how the social and economic transformation of Chinese society is affecting the health and nutritional status of its population.

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Collaborative Research: Multi-level Response Diversity: Land Use, Livelihood Diversification, and Resilience in Northern Tanzania

Paul W. Leslie

This project clarifies the causes of the changing land use and livelihood patterns of Maasai in northern Tanzania and explore how these changes are likely to affect the social-ecological system, including the viability of households and communities and the implications for biodiversity and wildlife conservation.

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Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Compensation for transport costs and lost wages associated with VMMC uptake: an intervention to increase VMMC demand among older men in Nyanza Province

Harsha Thirumurthy

This project seeks to assess whether conditional in-kind compensation for transport costs and lost work can increase the uptake of voluntary medical male circumcision among uncircumcised Kenyan men aged 25-49 years.

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Cross-National Equivalence Files

Barry M. Popkin

CPC's China Health and Nutrition Survey will be added to the longitudinal Cross-National Equivalence Files (CNEF) data to make it possible for cross-national researchers to use more powerful statistical methods to better control for otherwise unobserved person-specific heterogeneity in behavior.

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Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Cross-National Patterns and Predictors of Life-cycle Smoking Behavior

Barry M. Popkin

The overall goal of this effort is to continue to provide smoking data under the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS) and adapt CNEF computer programs for use with RLMS data for the analysis of global smoking behavior.

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Demographic Data Sharing and Archiving

Barbara Entwisle

The specific aims of this project are to: (1) provide investigators with tools that will enable them to disseminate public access versions of their data; (2) provide investigators with tools and strategies for the dissemination of restricted-access data (3) assist investigators in ensuring that potential users can locate their data, get support in all the stages of acquisition and use, and receive appropriate training in data use; (4) provide long-term secure archiving of public-use and restricted use data, in order to ensure that the data are permanently preserved for future use; and (5) improve the science of data sharing and archiving through a program of research and development in key areas.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Ecuador Projects

Richard E. Bilsborrow, Stephen J. Walsh

This program investigates the social, economic, and demographic effects on land use change among colonist and indigenous communities in the northern Ecuadorian Amazon.

Effects of Cash Transfer and Community Mobilization in Young South African Women

Audrey E. Pettifor

This project will determine the effect of an innovative, multi-level HIV prevention intervention that will jointly address structural and social factors that contribute to young women's increased vulnerability to HIV.

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Emerging Disparities in Chronic Disease Risk among Young Adults

Jon M. Hussey, Narayan Sastry (University of Michigan)

The goal of this project is to examine early life influences on racial and ethnic disparities in chronic disease risk from an interdisciplinary perspective, using social, behavioral, economic, biological, and contextual data from the Add Health study.

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Environmental Change and Inflammation: Age, Cohort and Household Effects in China

Amanda L. Thompson

Drawing on a life course framework, this project examines the pathways linking social and physical environments to inflammation among children, adolescents and young adults by characterizing various predictors of inflammation across age groups and urban/rural residence; using latent class trajectory models and age, period, cohort analysis to characterize patterns of exposure to pathogenic and obesogenic environments; and identifying predictors of inflammation within individual households.

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Environmental Changes and Health Outcomes across 25 Years: Four US Cities

Penny Gordon-Larsen

The 25-year, longitudinal Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study provides a wide age range, high quality longitudinal, biological, behavioral and anthropometry and biomarker data of CARDIA, geographic diversity, and different patterns and pace of change across the four baseline cities: Birmingham, Chicago, Minneapolis and Oakland. The research team has developed a unique method to use retrospective and contemporary sources to create data on the timing and placement of introductions, renovations, and closures of: 1) food resources (e.g., restaurants, food shopping); 2) recreation facilities (e.g., trails, parks); and 3) transportation infrastructure (e.g., light rail, bike parking, bike paths) in Birmingham, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Oakland over a 25-year period.

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EPA Data Merge

Kathleen Mullan Harris

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Evaluating the Welfare and Forest Cover Impacts of Uganda's Forest Sector Governance Reform

Pamela Jagger

This project uses a dynamic social-ecological modeling framework to explore the medium- to long-term livelihood and forest cover outcomes of Uganda’s forest sector governance reform.

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Evaluating U.S. children's food purchases and caloric intake to gauge the food industry's impact on prevention of childhood obesity

Barry M. Popkin

This project focuses on evaluating the Healthy Weight Commitement Foundation's marketplace initiative to reduce excells calories in processed foods and beverages as a way to curbe childhood obesity.

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Genetic/Epigenetic Markers, Social Contexts, Lifecourse and Risky Health Behavior

Guang Guo

This project is integrating genetic polymorphisms, epigenetic markers, social contextual measures, and developmental periods into analysis of risky health behaviors.

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Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Health outcomes and impact through sustainable country-led programs and partnerships

James Thomas

The MEASURE Evaluation team is assisting the Kenya USAID Mission in the development of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems that include counties which are a new governance level instituted in the new constitution. A goal is to bring tools to decrease the need for external M&E technical assistance in future years.

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Impacts of Payments for Ecosystem Services in Coupled Natural and Human Systems

Richard E. Bilsborrow

Grounded on theories of species distribution, habitat occupancy, and ecological function, researchers are using forest cover and its change and habitat occupancy of the golden monkey to quantify the environment. The use of habitat occupancy as a measure of environmental effects of payments for ecosystem services (PES) is an innovation in the PES literature. Researchers are collecting a large amount of data through a household survey of participants as well as participatory mapping. Since participants are hypothesized as responding to PES in multiple ways, researchers plan to use and empirically test the theory of the multiphasic response. This has the potential to transform methodological approaches to statistically investigate population-environment linkages in coupled natural and human systems.

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Implementing Health Care Reform for Immigrant Populations

Krista M. Perreira

Building on an data gathered about innovative and promising practices to improve immigrant families' access to health and human services, this project is examining the potential impact on immigrant families of new eligibility provisions being implemented under health care reform.

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Improving nutritional status and health of infants and lactating women through the use of Lipid Based Nutrition Supplements (LNS): Evidence from a longitudinal, randomized trial in Lilongwe, Malawi

Margaret E. Bentley

The main goal of this project is to provide the scientific evidence to support the broad use of low-cost LNS to enhance the nutritional status of women and children.

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Improving University Education and Research on the Ecuadorian Amazon: A New Partnership

Richard E. Bilsborrow

This project's overarching goals are to strengthen university capacity in Ecuador to provide high-quality education about the Ecuadorian Amazon; conduct and disseminate applied research relevant to biodiversity conservation and resource management; and work collaboratively with partner institutions in Bolivia, Peru and Colombia.

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Infant Care Project

Margaret E. Bentley

This research examines behavioral and environmental factors that significantly influence infant health outcomes in the first two years of life. The study is currently being conducted among African-American mother-infant pairs in North Carolina.

Integration of Spatial and Social Network Analysis in Vaccine Trials

Michael E. Emch

This project develops and tests spatial analytical and social network analysis methods for vaccine trials and disease transmission modeling.

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LAMHA - Latino Adolescent Migration, Health and Adaptation Project

Krista M. Perreira

This project is a mixed-method, descriptive study of the mental health status and needs of immigrant youth and their families.

Life Course Studies

Glen H. Elder, Jr.

These studies relate human development to the life course in changing environments, with emphasis on educational processes or linkages, e.g., socialization and mastery learning.

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Linking microcredit, technology, and promotion of IYCF breastfeeding guidelines in Bauchi State, Nigeria

Margaret E. Bentley

Exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life significantly decreases morbidity and mortality during infancy. The team is testing the effectiveness of two bundles of behavioral interventions for increasing the proportion of participants who exclusively breastfeed their infants until 6 months in Bauchi State, Nigeria.

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Locating the Parents of Add Health

Kathleen Mullan Harris

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MEASURE Evaluation

James Thomas

Examines the impact of a wide range of activities to improve human health and well-being, with a focus on family planning, maternal and child health and nutrition, and the prevention of HIV/STDs.

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Measurement, Learning & Evaluation (MLE) Project for the Urban Reproductive Health Initiative

David K. Guilkey

The Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, a multi-country program targeting the urban poor, improves contraceptive choice and increases access to high quality, voluntary family planning. Because 1 in 3 urban residents live in slums, many beyond the reach of health services, the URHI aims to increase the equitable distribution of family planning services. The Initiative links country-level consortia with evaluation experts on the Measurement, Learning & Evaluation (MLE) Project who will identify the most effective country-level approaches, facilitate knowledge sharing, and build a robust evidence base to shape future urban family planning, reproductive health, and integrated maternal and newborn health programs.

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Modeling Population-Environment Interactions in a World Heritage Site: Comparison of Statistical and Agent-Based Modeling Approaches to Study Complex Systems

Stephen J. Walsh

This project designs a data collection and analysis approach that could be analyzed by agent-based modeling and econometric modeling to see the extent to which the ABM and statistical approaches do or do not give similar results, and if not, why.

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Monitoring & Evaluation Activities for Malaria Prevention & Control in Ethiopia

Siân L. Curtis

This project involves developing a plan for providing technical assistance to Ethiopian scientists and health professionals in support of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of malaria control and prevention activities supported by USAID.

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Monitoring and Evaluation for Feed the Future Feedback Program

Siân L. Curtis

This FEEDBACK evaluation effort will focus on the Feed the Future Initiative to inform policy, investment, and intervention decisions related to food security in vulnerable countries.

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Nang Rong Projects

Barbara Entwisle, Ronald R. Rindfuss Stephen J. Walsh

These studies were conducted for monitoring and understanding demographic and social changes occurring in Nang Rong, Thailand.

National Study of Youth and Religion

Lisa D. Pearce

This study examines continuity and change over time in religious affiliations, beliefs and practices of American youth. It also explores links between these religious dynamics and other aspects of youth's lives, including subjective well-being, family processes, educational achievement, and career development.

Nutrition Transition Program

Barry M. Popkin

This program involves a set of research projects studying the rapid increases in inactivity and obesity, and the associated rise in noncommunicable diseases, that have occurred along with other rapid social and economic changes in the developing world.

Nutrition-related NCD Prevention Training in China

Barry M. Popkin

This grant focuses on capacity building related to large-scale program and policy analysis in the nutrition-related noncommunicable disease (NR-NCD) area. The primary focus of this research training and related institutional development is on issues linked with dietary and physical activity patterns and preventing obesity and the related comorbidities.

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Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Obesity and Metabolic Risk Disparities: Underlying Food Environment Factors

Penny Gordon-Larsen

This project uses longitudinal data to understand the effects of changes in food prices, and availability and access to away-from-home food eateries and food shopping options, on diet, and in turn, weight gain and metabolic risk factors.

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Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

ONEdata - Obesity & Neighborhood Environment Database

Penny Gordon-Larsen

The Obesity and Neighborhood Environment database is a unique collection of variables derived using spatial analysis techniques within a large scale Geographic Information System (GIS) that links community-level data to individual Add Health respondent residential locations in both space and time. Community-level data include density and proximity to recreational facilities, land use patterning, population, economic, climate, and crime statistics, which are linked spatially and temporally to individual-level Add Health behavior and health outcome data.

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PIRE Collaborative Research and Training in Social Context, Population Processes, and Environmental Change

Lisa D. Pearce

This new interdisciplinary multi-site program is designed to train the next generation of scientists to conduct the international collaborative research needed to address important issues of global environmental change.

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Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Population Research Training

Carolyn Tucker Halpern

The NICHD-NRSA training grant develops CPC trainees' skills needed to carry out successful population-relevant research, primarily through collaboration with experienced faculty researchers on population-relevant research. The keystone of the training program is an individualized faculty mentor preceptor-trainee relationship.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Population, land use and health dynamics of biomass fuel use in sub-Saharan Africa

Pamela Jagger

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Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Preferences, expectations, and the prediction of health and economic behavior

Harsha Thirumurthy

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Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition Study (PIN)

Anna Maria Siega-Riz

This study examines a range of potential risk factors for preterm birth, focusing primarily on psychosocial stress, physical activity, placental characteristics, infection, nutrition, health behaviors, socioeconomic characteristics, and other health, social, and contextual factors. Factors affecting weight retention in the postpartum period are also examined.

Racial disparities in cancer outcomes: quantifying modifiable mechanisms

Whitney Robinson

This project addresses cancer prevention and control by prioritizing efforts to reduce cancer disparities. Some racial and socioeconomic groups have higher rates of cancer incidence and mortality than others. However, the processes causing these disparities remain unclear. Standard epidemiologic methods describe cancer disparities but do not identify the causes of the disparities. To effectively intervene to reduce disparities, this project will identify mechanisms by which disparities arise.

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Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of HSE (RLMS-HSE)

Barry M. Popkin

The RLMS is a household-based longitudinal survey designed to measure the effects of Russian reforms on the economic well-being of households and individuals.

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Saving Brains: Economic Impacts of Poverty-related Risk Factors during the First 1000 Days for Cognitive Development and Human Capital

Linda S. Adair

This project uses longitudinal data from multiple studies in low- and middle-income countries to examine the long term effects of early child health on adult cognitive and human capital outcomes. The Cebu (Philippines) Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey, housed at the Carolina Population Center, is one of the participating studies.

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SES and Race-ethnic Disparities in Food Purchasing and Dietary Intake: 2000-2015

Barry M. Popkin

Primary goals are to examine how various socioeconomic factors (including the Great Recession, price changes) affect short-term and long-term food purchases and dietary outcomes across and within critical race/ethnic and SES subpopulations.

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Social-Eco Hotspots in Burkina Faso

Colin West

Anthropology can benefit from the use of remotely senses spatial data to fill in gaps in ecological data. This study will compare regional trends in rainfall and vegetation over a 20-year period in semi-arid northern Burkina Faso to investigate linkages between human land use change and land degradation at multiple spatial and temporal scales

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Soil Degradation and Household Well-being in Rural Uganda

Clark Gray

This project investigates relationships between soil degradation and household well-being in rural Uganda by combining approaches from population geography, agricultural economics and soil science.

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Southern Immigrant Academic Adaptation Study (SIAA)

Krista M. Perreira

Population-based study of the daily acculturation experiences and academic adaptation of Latino youth in a new receiving community.

Spatial Health Research Group

Michael E. Emch

The Spatial Health Research Group focuses on exploring spatio-temporal patterns of disease, primarily infectious diseases of the developing world.

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Spatio-temporal Patterns of Drug Resistant Malaria in Democratic Republic of Congo

Michael E. Emch

The goal of this project is to measure the movement of genetic markers (gene flow) to understand the factors which prevent malaria transmission (barriers) or promote it (corridors).

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Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

TeenWeb: Using the Web to Survey and Inform Urban Adolescents about Health

Carolyn Tucker Halpern

TeenWeb examines the ability of the Web to collect information from adolescents and teach them about reproductive health issues, in urban secondary schools in Nairobi, Kenya, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Transfer Project

Sudhanshu (Ashu) Handa

The Transfer Project is an innovative research and learning initiative which supports improved knowledge and practice on social transfers in Africa.

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Virtue Ethics Perspective on Stress and Human Flourishing from Youth to Young Adulthood

Kenneth A. Bollen

This project analyzes four waves of survey data and in-person interviews from the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) and three interrelated questions: 1) How do youths’ relationships with God, relationships with parents, relationships with peers, church-based relationships, and relationships with romantic partners, correspond to or compensate for each other? 2) Which attachments, behaviors, and emotions are constitutive of flourishing in young adulthood? 3) Why are some people resilient to stress, exhibiting human flourishing despite undergoing stressful life events, while others are vulnerable to stress, exhibiting low levels of human flourishing following stressful life experiences?

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Youth and the Great Recession

Glen H. Elder, Jr.

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62 projects found