GRA Pradeep Guin Publishes Article and Presents at National Conference

Hilltop LogoHilltop Institute graduate research assistant and UMBC Public Policy Ph.D. candidate Pradeep Guin is co-author of an article recently published in the journal Health, titled Health Status and Access to Health Services in Indian Slums. The article presents the findings of a study that analyzed the status of health and access to health services among the urban poor in India, based on data from a primary survey conducted among 2000 households, covering 10,929 individuals from four cities of India. The results of the study indicate continued vulnerability of the urban poor, and the need for urgent government action. Guin presented a paper on this study at the Health Systems Reform in Asia Conference in Singapore which took place December 13-16, 2013. Citation: Gupta, I., & Guin, P. (2015). Health status and access to health services in Indian slums. Health, 7, 245-255.

Guin also presented a poster at the Association for Education Finance and Policy’s (AEFP) 40th Annual Conference on February 27, 2015, in Washington, DC, titled The Impacts of Exposure to Natural Disasters on Children’s Education and Health Outcomes. This dissertation research attempted to answer the question: Does (a) exposure to natural disasters and (b) economic losses from disasters have any impact on a child’s education and health outcomes? Guin found that there is no significant impact on a child’s outcome measures in a one-year exposure period due to various types of disasters. There is evidence, however, that disasters that lead to especially large economic losses can reduce students’ performance on math assessments.

Tanguy Ringoir Wins Grandmaster Title

Tanguy Ringoir ’18 financial economics, recently won the Grandmaster Norm Invitational held at the Chinggis Chess Club, Burlingame, Calif.

The Grandmaster (GM) title is the highest title a chess player can earn, is difficult to achieve and can take quite some time to accomplish.

IMG_1378_2To win the title, a player must achieve a certain score (number of wins) in a tournament with a certain number of highly rated titled players (Grandmasters) present and at least three of them must be from a foreign country.

“It is not so easy to locate tournaments–or host ones–that meet this criteria in the U.S.,” says Joel DeWyer, business manager of UMBC’s chess team. “A player has to do this at three separate tournaments that meet this criteria.”

DeWyer says that, “In Tanguy’s case, he [Ringoir] knew that he needed at least one win and a draw in his final two games at the tournament in order to earn his final norm. One loss and it would have all escaped him.”

For Ringoir, earning the GM title will also open the door to several elite tournaments around the world.

Hilltop Researchers in the Journal of Pediatrics

Hilltop Senior Research Analyst Michael T. Abrams, MPH, and Policy Analyst Carl H. Mueller, MS, are co-authors of a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics titled “Transcranial Doppler screening of Medicaid-insured children with sickle cell disease.”

The work was conducted in collaboration with researchers at Johns Hopkins and University of South Carolina medical schools, under the direction of Dr. David Bundy. The study found that letters to parents and doctors of children with sickle cell disease (SCD) did not succeed in increasing their use of a simple screening technique (transcranial Doppler imaging: TDI) for stroke risk, even as children with SCD are known to be at markedly heightened risk for stroke.

The research, conducted largely at The Hilltop Institute, used Medicaid administrative data to identify a calendar year 2010-11 cohort of youth aged 2-16 years with SCD, and measured 6 month post-letter TDI use in a group of 117 subje cts whose parents and doctors were sent letters, and a comparison group of 433 subjects who were not targeted by that mailing. Pre-intervention, annualized screening in the full SCD cohort identified (n=829) was just over 23 percent. Six month follow-up on those who did not receive screening in the pre-intervention period was 7.2 percent in the group receiving the mailing, and 8.6 percent in the comparison group. This group difference was non-significant after adjusting for numerous covariates. Accordingly, this work reveals that a single mailing to parents and providers is not sufficient to increase TDI use in youth with SCD. One important correlate which did emerge from this work is that specialist visits (e.g., to a hematologist), did significantly increase the use of TCD irrespective of the mailing. This incidental finding suggests that referral to a sickle cell specialist is more impactful than referral for a specific procedure to address this serious illness, at least in terms of receiving important preventative screening. For more information contact Hilltop team lead Michael Abrams (mabrams@hilltop.umbc.edu).
The full reference for this work is: Bundy DG, Abrams MT, Strouse JJ, Mueller CH, Miller MR, Casella JF (2015): “Transcranial Doppler screening of Medicaid-insured children with sickle cell disease”, Journal of Pediatrics, 166(1):188-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.09.018. The pubmed citation and abstract can be accessed here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25444529

Eric Dyer, Visual Arts, in Two New York Exhibitions

Eric Dyer, Visual Arts, is featured in Wave & Particle, a group exhibition that celebrates Creative Capital’s fifteenth anniversary, at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts in New York. The exhibition opened on Saturday, February 14 and will continue on display through March 21. More information is available by clicking here.

His work will also be featured in Moving Image New York, a group exhibition on display at the Waterfront Tunnel in Chelsea in New York, from March 5 through 8. Additional information about Moving Image is available by clicking here.

Pres. Hrabowski Inspires at Maryland Arts Day 2015

hrabowskiPresident Hrabowski gave the keynote address at Maryland Arts Day last week. Maryland Arts Day is an annual event hosted by Maryland Citizens for the Arts, a statewide arts advocacy organization.

In his address, Dr. Hrabowski examined the role of the arts in finding our value as human beings. “The way we think about ourselves as a society, the language that we use in discussing who we are, the values that we hold will shape who we are,” he said. “I posit to you that the arts intersect with our very souls.”

Dr. Hrabowski also spoke about the importance of the arts, drawing on his childhood experiences of balancing his love of mathematics with piano lessons. He said, “I didn’t understand that one could love math and love music. Because too often still today, we teach kids that they’re one thing or the other and the whole point of the arts is that it is to create whole citizens who understand you can do many things. I want every child to know and feel and embrace the artist within herself.”

Click here to find our more information about Maryland Arts Day and to watch a video of Dr. Hrabowski’s remarks.

Robert Provine, Psychology, Responds to EDGE Annual Question

Each year, EDGE.org poses an annual question to leading scientists, philosophers, and artists to tackle some of the world’s most complex issues. The responses are featured as a collection of online essays that is later published as part of a high-profile and top-selling series of books for a general audience, and the annual event draws global news coverage.

Robert ProvineAs he has for all ten of EDGE’s events, Psychology Research Professor and Professor Emeritus Robert Provine contributed to this year’s question: “What do you think about machines that think?” In his response titled “Irrational Machines and Humans,” Provine wrote that humans should not worry about future characteristics of robots and their ability to spur a future clash with their creators.

“Humans will prevail, in part through primal, often disreputable qualities that are more associated with our downfall than salvation. Cunning, deception, revenge, suspicion, and unpredictability, befuddle less flexible and imaginative entities. Intellect isn’t everything, and the irrational is not necessarily maladaptive,” wrote Provine.

He added: “There is no indication that we will have a problem keeping our machines on a leash, even if they misbehave. We are far from building teams of swaggering, unpredictable, Machiavellian robots with an attitude problem and urge to reproduce.”

To read Provine’s complete response, along with other responses from founders of AI and robotics, Nobelists, and many others, click here. For more information on Provine’s responses to the EDGE question in previous years, click here.

On Sunday, February 1, Provine is contributing to an event at Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum titled “The Human Guide to Our Creative Brain.” For more information, click here.

Susannah Prucka, Political Science, and UMBC Students Visit U.S. Supreme Court

Susannah Prucka and UMBC students visit the U.S. Supreme Court.

Susannah Prucka and UMBC students visit the U.S. Supreme Court.

Susannah Prucka, an Adjunct Instructor of Political Science, and four UMBC students visited the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, January 20 to sit in on oral arguments and meet with two of Justice Samuel Alito’s law clerks. The students were part of a fall course titled the “Judicial Process,” in which they studied the judicial branch and judicial decision-making.

William Rice, Lereiya Edmonson, Nelly Waribe, and Ellis Zapas were the students who participated in the visit and are all juniors and political science majors. During their time at the Supreme Court, the students saw oral arguments in two cases: Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar and Armstrong et al. v. Exceptional Child Center, Inc., et al. In addition to meeting with Justice Alito’s law clerks, the students also met with Dan Schweitzer, Supreme Court Counsel for the National Association of Attorneys General. Mr. Schweitzer and the law clerks discussed their respective roles before the Supreme Court and provided insight on life as an attorney.

During the semester, in studying the judicial process, the students heard from several other speakers in the legal profession: the Honorable James Elyer (retired) of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals; Noel Francisco of Jones Day; Larry Doan of the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, Michelle Martin of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, and Christopher Wheatcroft ’97, political science, of Alperstein & Diener PA.

Susannah Prucka has been an adjunct instructor of political science since 2012, and is an Assistant Attorney General and Appellate Litigator for the State of Maryland. She is a member of the Maryland and United States Supreme Court bars.