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Complementary projects on food insecurity funded by Russell Sage

March 3, 2020

Colleen Heflin

Colleen Heflin

Madonna Harrington Meyer headshot

Madonna Harrington Meyer

The Russell Sage Foundation has announced funding for two complementary projects related to food insecurity among older adults, and conducted by Maxwell faculty members. One is a qualitative assessment funded at $48,191 and led by Madonna Harrington Meyer, University Professor of Sociology, while the other, funded for $34,997, involves quantitative analysis, conducted by Colleen Heflin, professor of public administration and international affairs.

These complementary projects, which are expected to result in a book-length manuscript, will assess the social, political, and economic dimensions of old-age food insecurity. Harrington Meyer intends to conduct 60 interviews with people aged over 60, to assess how sociodemographic factors shape old age food insecurity; coping strategies; the impact on physical, emotional, and family wellbeing; and policy changes to reduce food insecurity among older adults. Heflin’s work will examine trends, patterns, and correlates of food insecurity among older adults, using data from the Current Population Survey, the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the Health and Retirement Survey, and data on charitable organizations collected from the Internal Revenue Service.

The funding is made through Russell Sage’s Presidential Grant Project Award. The Russell Sage Foundation was founded in 1907 to better “social and living conditions in the United States.” Today it focuses on improving the methodological and theoretical core of the social sciences in order to help develop and enhance social policies. In addition to research funding and support, the foundation also sponsors seminars and working groups and maintains an in-house publication wing to help better disseminate social science research.

Harrington Meyer, who is also a Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence, senior research associate at the Center for Policy Research, and a faculty affiliate with the Aging Studies Institute, primarily studies social policy, aging, and gender. She has previously written or edited five books, with a sixth (Grandparenting Children with Disabilities) scheduled for publication this April. In 2016, Harrington Meyer received the Matilda White Riley Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Sociological Association’s Section on Aging and the Life Course.

Heflin, who is also a senior research associate with the Center for Policy Research and a research affiliate with the University of Kentucky’s Center for Poverty Research, specializes in the study of social policy, food and nutrition policy, and social demography. The author of more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, Heflin conducts research that has been published in Social Science & Medicine, Social Services Review, and the American Sociological Review, among other journals.

You can read more about Harrington Meyer’s grant and Heflin’s grant at the Russell Sage Foundation website.


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