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UK Wins $1.17 Million Grant
to Create Poverty Research Center

By Dan Adkins


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The Kentucky Center for Poverty Research will focus on the causes, consequences and effects of poverty in Kentucky and the south, in relation to the nation as a whole.

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Oct. 9, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- The University of Kentucky has received a $1.17 million grant from the federal Department of Health and Human Services to establish a Kentucky Center for Poverty Research in the Gatton College of Business and Economics.

The three-year grant was awarded to the UK Department of Economics after a nationwide competition for proposals for three area poverty research centers as well as a national poverty research center. UK's proposal won one of the three area poverty research center awards.

The Kentucky Center for Poverty Research will focus on the causes, consequences and effects of poverty in Kentucky and the south, in relation to the nation as a whole.

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said the UK team will bring significant cross-disciplinary expertise to bear in the study of poverty in the region.

"So much of the progress we have made in the country on issues related to reducing poverty and reforming welfare was through careful research.

he Area Poverty Centers will play a critical role not only in contributing to this body of research at the regional level but also in preparing researchers to meet this challenge in the future," Thompson said.

James P. Ziliak, professor of economics and holder of the Carol Martin Gatton Chair in Microeconomics, will be the center's director, said Richard W. Furst, dean of the Gatton College.

The center's initial projects will include:

-- Evaluating the impact of Medicaid managed care on infant and child wellbeing in Kentucky;

-- Monitoring child health outcomes, with a particular focus on links between obesity and Type-II diabetes among children on Medicaid in Kentucky; and

-- An ethnographic study of links between poverty and intimate-partner violence and possible implications on labor-market status for welfare mothers.

The center's research emphasis will be multidisciplinary, drawing on expertise of scholars across UK's campus. Faculty will come from economics, political science, public policy, sociology, social work and other areas. Among those who will be involved are Mark Berger, director of the UK Center for Business and Economic Research; Edward Jennings, professor of public policy and administration; James Hougland, professor of sociology; and department liaisons Aaron Yelowitz, associate professor of economics; Colleen Heflin, assistant professor of public policy; Jeffrey Talbert, associate professor of public policy; Joanna Badalgiacco, associate professor of sociology; and Mary Secret, professor of social work.

The center also will mentor students and young academics through an emerging scholars program, a dissertation fellowship program and research assistantships. It also will support numerous research activities including a competitive internal-grants program, a regional small-grants program and a joint poverty and policy seminar series.

HHS awarded the National Poverty Research Center to the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, and the two other area poverty research centers to the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Rural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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