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
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
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
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