BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Debabrata Talukdar, PhD, associate professor in the School of Management’s Department of Marketing, was awarded one of four research fellowships for 2010-11 through the University at Buffalo Civic Engagement and Public Policy Strategic Initiative (CEPP).
Civic engagement and public policy was one of eight areas identified in the UB 2020 plan as the embodiment of a particular tradition of excellence at the university, and the latest fellowships will support community-based research projects in Western New York; Ontario, Canada; and sub-Saharan Africa.
In addition to Talukdar, the new fellows are Linda Kahn, PhD, research associate professor, Primary Care Research Institute, Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Brenda Moore, PhD, associate professor, Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences; and Sue Winton, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, Graduate School of Education. They will each receive an award of $3,500 to help carry out their work.
The fellowships are offered to tenured and tenure-track faculty members to support community-based research projects that address pressing social issues and involve partnerships between university scholars and collaborators outside the academy. Prior CEPP fellowships have supported research on pressing social justice or policy issues and the new awards expand the initiative's reach across four decanal units.
Talukdar is an award-winning scholar who has worked extensively as a business strategy and public policy expert in both private and public sector multinational organizations.
Noting the growing recognition that private businesses and NGOs could and should play a critical role in the fight against world poverty, he will undertake one of the first systematic empirical analyses of the extent and impact of the roles played by various economic institutions who serve the basic needs of some of the world's poorest people.
His project, "Consumption Circumstances at the Base of the 'Economic Pyramid': Insights and Implications from the Urban Slums in Africa," is a systematic empirical study of slum dwellers in several cities across sub-Saharan Africa that will be conducted in partnership with the World Bank's African Division.
The study's data sources include personal interviews with those dwelling in slum and non-slum households in several sub-Saharan African cities—including Nairobi, Kenya, site of one of the largest and poorest slums in Africa—in an effort to come up with the first reliable estimates on adverse circumstances in which people produce and consume products, and the role of several relevant policy factors in mitigating such circumstances.
Of particular interest to the researchers are the roles and impacts of "self-help" organizing programs like those offered by micro-enterprise and community-based initiatives, along with more external institutions, such as for-profit businesses and not-for-profit civil society organizations or NGOs.
Kahn's project, titled "Identifying Barriers and Facilitators to Diabetes Self-Management on Buffalo's West Side," will address the social and cultural contexts underlying diabetes health disparities on the West Side of Buffalo, a neighborhood where health services are limited. She will work with patients of Jericho Road Family Practice and will focus on the social support and institutional resources available to these patients to help them manage their illnesses.
Kahn expects the project to inform policy and clinical practice by identifying beliefs, behaviors and lifestyle practices that facilitate or impede chronic illness management—information that can be shared among diverse groups of people living in a high poverty urban environment.
Moore's project, "Military Sexual Trauma: Gender Differences in Perceived Treatment, Recovery, and Resilience," focuses on male and female veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma (MST) and are currently receiving care through the Buffalo Veterans Affairs Western New York Healthcare System.
Moore's research partner is the Department of Veterans Affairs Western New York Healthcare System and she hopes to identify gender differences in patients' perceptions of treatment and recovery for MST, and to identify factors of resilience. Her findings will be published in a VA technical report aimed at identifying barriers faced by patients who receive treatment for MST.
Winton, who is interested in examining policy dialogues as a method for enhancing citizens' engagement with educational policy, will undertake a project titled "Promoting Citizens' Engagement with Education Policy through Policy Dialogue."
She will work closely with the Ontario-based organization People for Education, which brings citizens together to discuss new possibilities for their public schools. It also has launched a free social networking website to permit online discussion of these issues.
Using a series of interviews with a variety of stakeholders, Winton will consider how policy dialogue participation can affect a citizen's engagement with education policies; similarities and differences in online and face-to-face participation; and how these dialogues have affected the organization's work as an advocate for public education.
The UB 2020 Civic Engagement and Public Policy research initiative at the University at Buffalo encourages and supports applied research and engaged scholarship that address social and policy challenges and persistent inequalities. For more information, see http://ub2020.buffalo.edu/civic.
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The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB’s more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.