Research

Impact Analysis

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Impact Analysis

Novel approaches to research design, data collection, privacy and security; and modeling and analysis to illuminate the complexities of human behavior, health and development.

Estimating the Societal Costs to States Due to the Opioid Epidemic, funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and led by a team of researchers at Penn State, resulted in a report on the “spillover” of costs of the opioid epidemic to states, including to health care, criminal justice, child welfare, education and special education, and employment. [PI: Dennis Scanlon]

The Methodology Center and their National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) P50 Center of Excellence award, Center for Complex Data to Knowledge in Drug Abuse and HIV Behavioral Science, advances public health by improving experimental design and data analysis in the social, behavioral, and health sciences. New technologies and approaches (e.g., smartphones, long-term cohort studies, genetic data) are producing complex data sets that are rich with information and new statistical analysis methods need to be developed and disseminated to unlock the knowledge contained in these data and apply it in the fight against drug abuse. As part of the Center’s P50, Stephanie Lanza leads a project, Multidimensional and Dynamic Moderation in Drug Abuse and HIV Studies, that is developing a powerful new framework that integrates ideas from latent class analysis and time-varying effect models to enable researchers to discover (a) clinically useful, multidimensional moderators and (b) moderators that play a dynamic (i.e., age- and time-varying) role in the effects of interventions on univariate and multidimensional outcomes. Runze Li leads a project, New Statistical Procedures for High-Dimensional Complex Drug Abuse Data, that is developing new methods for variable screening in high-dimensional data to enable researchers to focus their efforts on a reduced subset of predictors that have potential impact on drug abuse. [P50 PI: Linda Collins]

The Pennsylvania Integrative Data System (IDS) Consortium provides researchers with access to and ability to link administrative data from multiple government agencies to address policy-relevant questions in efforts to address systemic problems such as the opioid epidemic (Consortium Co-Chairs: Daniel ‘Max’ Crowley and Dennis Scanlon). The IDS draws on the infrastructure and expertise in the Data Accelerator, a data enclave for highly sensitive information that supports partnerships between researchers and policymakers to expedite research on critical social issues. [Data Accelerator PI: Daniel ‘Max’ Crowley]

Projects Funded by Social Science Research Institute Seed Grants as part of Penn State’s Consortium to Combat Substance Abuse:

  • An Innovative Approach to Tackle the Opioid Epidemic: Utilizing Twitter Data and Integrating Big Data Analytics and Spatial and Social Network Analyses aims to develop and test the novel use of Twitter data to study and address this epidemic. [PI: Zhen Lei]
  • Predicting Spatial-Temporal Patterns of Opioid Use with Criminal and Overdose Data in Pennsylvania will develop an analytical model to systematically project the time trend and geospatial distribution of the opioid epidemic and outcomes. [PI: Quishi Chen]