Heflin receives two grants from UKCPR

Colleen Heflin v2Colleen Heflin, professor of public administration and international affairs, was awarded funding for two projects by the University of Kentucky’s Center for Poverty Research. Heflin received $49,889 for a project titled "Changing Patterns of Eligibility and Take up in SNAP and the Roles of Out of Pocket Medical Expenses." She is also part of a multi-institution team granted $250,000 for a project titled "Food Insecurity and Chronic Diseases in Low-Income Older Americans: The Role of SNAP Receipt in Medication Underuse."

Heflin’s project seeks to understand the temporal dimensions of eligibility for the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), in light of increased participation in SNAP by older adults. This project will also assess the relationship between out-of-pocket medical expenditures and SNAP participation. It aims to provide insights for policy makers seeking to address the burden of medical and food expenses among senior families.

The larger, team project responds to the increasingly visible link between food insecurity and poor health among older adults. This relationship is thought to result from poor diet quality and medication avoidance among seniors who are unable to purchase both food and necessary prescription medication. Heflin’s work will assess whether SNAP benefits help reduce this link between food insecurity and poor health. Heflin is co-investigator on a team that also includes principal investigator Irma Arteaga (University of Missouri) and co-investigators Leslie Hodges (USDA) and Chinnedum Ojinaka (Arizona State University). 

The University of Kentucky’s Center for Poverty Research (UKCPR) was established in 2002 in order to support research on causes, consequences, and correlates of poverty, inequality, and food insecurity across the United States. UKCPR works at the interdisciplinary juncture of economics, public policy, political science, public health, sociology, and social work. UKCPR also sponsors conferences of low-income populations and helps with grant-making and mentoring programs.

Heflin, who is also a senior research associate with the Center for Policy Research and affiliated with the Aging Studies Institute, specializes in social, poverty, and child and family policies. Her overarching academic project focuses on processes that produce social stratification, especially concerning welfare policy and the well-being of vulnerable populations. Heflin’s research has resulted in numerous scholarly articles and book chapters, including in the journals Social Problems, Social Service Review, and Social Science & Medicine

You can read more about the UKCPR on its website.