COVID research project wins $2.2 million NIH award

Emilie Wiemers

Emilie Wiemers

Emily Wiemers, associate professor of public administration and international affairs at the Maxwell School, is the principal investigator of a COVID-19-related research project that is set to receive up to $2.2 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) over the next five years.

The project, “Tracing the Health Consequences of Family Support during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” examines how the economic and health effects of the pandemic have reverberated across generations in American families.

Marc A. Garcia, assistant professor of sociology at the Maxwell School, is a co-investigator, along with I-Fen Lin of Bowling Green State University, Judith Seltzer of the University of California, Los Angeles, and V. Joseph Hotz of Duke University. .

The project began in September 2022 and will run through May 2027. The NIH provided funding of $445,396 for the first year.

Wiemers says the project will create a database of the economic, political and healthcare contexts in which individuals have experienced the pandemic. It will be linked to two nationally representative surveys of extended families to describe the extent to which family members have shared the same challenges during the pandemic and how this has affected their ability to help each other with time, stress and time. money and shared housing.

“The project focuses on the immediate and intermediate health effects of the pandemic, whether it has exacerbated health disparities, and whether family support has mitigated negative health effects,” says Wiemers.

Wiemers is an Associate Professor at the Institute for Studies in Aging and an Affiliate Researcher at the Center for Policy Research and the Center for Studies in Aging and Policy. Her work examines intergenerational connections and economic well-being across the lifespan.

Garcia is a Senior Associate Scholar at the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion and Population Health, Associate Professor at the Institute for Studies in Aging, and Affiliate Researcher at the Center for Studies in Aging and Policy. He studies physical and cognitive health disparities among racial/ethnic and immigrant older adults and longevity and mortality outcomes among older Latinx subgroups.

“Emily Wiemers, Marc Garcia and their colleagues demonstrate the relevance of evidence-based research to understanding the complex policy issues facing our communities and the nation,” says Dean David M. Van Slyke. “Receiving NIH funding that supports faculty research with student involvement to inform and shape how policy makers think about the consequences of health disparities and their impacts is a strong signal of support for quality Maxwell scholars and the importance of their work.”

This grant is in addition to the millions in funding for COVID-related research already raised by Maxwell faculty over the past two years, much of it from the NIH.

Wiemers is leading a two-year project to investigate the challenges faced by adult children caring for aging parents. She is also a co-investigator on a five-year project studying the link between politics and psychological health, led by Shannon Monnat, professor of sociology and holder of the Lerner Chair in Public Health Promotion and Population Health. The project includes Maxwell co-investigator Jennifer Karas Montez, university professor and director of the Center for Aging and Policy Studies, and Douglas Wolf, Gerald B. Cramer Professor of Studies in Aging.

Garcia, meanwhile, has been working to assess how the pandemic has affected specific segments of the population. For example, comparing death data in 2020 and 2021, he found that blacks and Latinos died of COVID at much higher rates than whites, but some states — New York and Illinois, for example – have been much more successful in reducing this disparity than others, notably California.

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