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Utica College receives data-access grant

Utica College says it will use a federal grant of $35,000 for its study abroad program. (Photo credit: Utica College)

UTICA, N.Y. — Utica College has received a data-access grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to conduct studies using highly-valued datasets. RWJF says it is the nation’s largest philanthropic organization dedicated solely to health.

Utica College is one of 14 grant recipients, and the college’s researchers will work with data from TransUnion Healthcare, an nThrive Company, as part of RWJF’s signature research program, called Health Data for Action, which is managed by AcademyHealth.

Michael McCarthy, assistant professor and director of data science, and Stephanie Nesbitt, dean of the School of Business and Justice Studies, will lead the team. They, along with colleagues and students, will examine the socio-economic assessment of communities during the COVID-19 crisis.


The study’s goal is to better understand uneven socio-economic repercussions of the pandemic and its impact on communities in New York, North Carolina, Arizona, California, Virginia, and Texas. Questions to be addressed include whether regions with higher proportions of racial and ethnic minorities experienced disproportionate economic distress during and after the recession and whether regions already dealing with economic distress face even greater difficulties due to the recession. The data will help researchers understand the impacts of the COVID recession on the Mohawk Valley and upstate New York.

The investigative group is one of multiple teams working together as the Intermountain COVID-19 Impact Consortium (ICIC), which includes researchers from Utica College, SUNY Oneonta, Bassett Research Institute, and SUNY Cobleskill, studying impacts of the pandemic in east-central New York.

The rest of the Utica College team includes Patrice Hallock, director of the Institute for the Student of Integrative Healthcare at Utica College; Mehmet Sencicek, associate professor of economics and finance at Utica College; Jing-Mao Ho, assistant professor of sociology and data science at Utica College; Alex Thomas, professor of sociology at SUNY Oneonta and executive director of the PLACES Institute; Greg Fulkerson, professor and chair of sociology at SUNY Oneonta and director of environmental demography at the PLACES Institute; Lauren Hahn, research fellow at Utica College; Jesseca Johnson, graduate research assistant at Utica College; and Brian Urban, graduate assistant at Dartmouth College.

While there was no direct monetary award to the college, the data access funded by RWJF will enable these important analyses into the uneven socio-economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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