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April 27, 2007

Four Research Interests in Human Services and Public Health

Sue Zuidema, Area Director for Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department, has identified four areas in which further research would make a singificant contribution to County operations. The areas and suggested research questions/ideas for University involvement are as follows:

Uninsured People
Research Questions: Trends in who they are. What do they do for health care needs? How do they cover costs? Deferred needs, what providers do they use?
Collaborative Ideas: Students could be engaged in design, data collection, analysis, reporting. We could jointly be involved in designing outreach to uninsured, Legislative proposals, adjustments to sliding fee scales.
Point person: Jim Westcott or Linda Stein

People on Medical Assistance (Medicaid)
Research Questions: Trends in who they are--elderly, disabled, families. Demographics. How long do they stay on? How many have interruptions in eligibility? Why? If they lose eligibility, do they pick same health plan again? Do they incur uncompensated care during interruptions? How does this vary by elderly/disabled/families? Of people on MA 1/1/0x, how many are still on MA with no eligibility interruption 12/31/0x? What happens to people that
go off MA? Do they go on Mn Care, private insurance, uninsured?
Collaborative Ideas: Students could be involved in all aspects of the study. We could be jointly involved in proposing policy and regulatory changes that would help keep people on programs they are eligible for.
Point Person: Jim Westcott

Racial and Ethnic Disparities (Health and Economic)
Research Questions: What are the trends? By racial and ethnic group, by health condition, by geographic area.... If data shows health conditions are improving for a health condition or racial/ethnic group, why?
Collaborative Ideas: Students could be engaged as above. We could jointly work on developing or deploying existing programs.
Point Person: Todd Monson or Luanne Nyberg

Seriously Mentally Ill Persons
Research Questions: Look at them over time. What is their general health status? How do they access services? What services? Do health care costs go up (or down) when there is housing stability? When there are social service supports? Are there any predictors to determining which people can be stabilized for long periods of time and who cannot? What are their patterns of health insurance (Are they on and off health insurance and on and off MA as we think)? Are there things that help children of mentally ill parents be successful in school and life? (There may be better questions--but these are some off the top of my head)
Collaborative Ideas: Students could be engaged in all aspects of research. We could be jointly involved in service response, as well as Legislative proposals and providing information to advocates, elected officials, advisory
committees, etc.
Point Person: Gwen Carlson or Jamie Halpern