Center on Social Dynamics and Policy
Ongoing research projects
The Center on Social Dynamics and Policy participates in a number of ongoing research projects. The full list is below:
- COMPACT: CSDP co-leads an international team studying and modeling whole-of-community childhood obesity interventions in the COMPACT project– Childhood Obesity Modeling for Prevention and Community Transformation. These interventions involve engaging directly with a diverse group of community leaders and stakeholders in order to target child obesity by facilitating effective and sustainable changes in environments and policies. Informed by several past and ongoing real-world examples, the COMPACT project aims to develop, test, and refine an ABM model of the mechanisms driving effective interventions, , and to inform the development and implementation strategy of future interventions. Partners include Tufts University, Harvard Medical School, Washington University in St Louis, Deakin University, and University of Auckland.
- TobaccoTown: With collaborators from Washington University in St. Louis, Stanford University, and the University of North Carolina, CSDP researchers have developed TobaccoTown, an agent-based model of spatial tobacco retail dynamics, used to anticipate the effects (intended or unintended) of a variety of point-of-sale tobacco control policies. CSDP is also working with the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium of the Public Health Law Center to apply the TobaccoTown model to specific communities within Minnesota to evaluate point-of-sale interventions that are being considered by state and local policy makers.
- Sun Safety: CSDP is working with researchers at the National Cancer Institute to design, implement, and test an exploratory agent-based model of sun protection and exposure behavior among heterogeneous populations. The model will attempt to elucidate the drivers and dynamics of sun-related behavior, and identify key leverage points for potential interventions.
- Viva ECHO: In collaboration with Project Viva, a longitudinal research study lead at Harvard University that examines the relationship between prenatal and early childhood environment and health outcomes, as well as the National Institute of Health’s Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes Program (ECHO), CSDP is developing a novel ABM to explore the effects of maternal diet and early environment on child obesity outcomes.
- Disparities in HIV risk: CSDP is working with investigators at Emory University, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Beth Israel School of Medicine to develop an agent-based model to simulate the formation of HIV serodiscordant partnerships within a variety of scenarios. Data from specific, major metropolitan areas within the United States will be used to characterize agent behavior and allow for model calibration.
- Sustainable Implementation of Cancer Control: Together with researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, CSDP is part of a multidisciplinary team looking to identify leverage points to improve the implementation of effective and sustainable cancer control in public health programs across the US.
- Reward Learning and Food Decisions: CSDP is working with researchers at the Laboratory of Comparative Ethology at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development on research to provide greater insight into the drivers of food choice, which has important implications for health outcomes.
- National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR): CSDP participates in the NCCOR research network, a joint project of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the United States Department of Agriculture to address the problem of childhood obesity in America. CSDP Director Hammond has served on the steering committee of the network’s Envision project computational modeling group.
- Network on Inequality, Complexity, and Health (NICH): CSDP Director Hammond is a member of the multidisciplinary National Institutes of Health NICH network. The network’s goal has been to apply state-of-the-art conceptual and computational models to the understanding of the origins of health disparities, and to the design of policy interventions to reduce such disparities. The group is currently at work on a book.
- Lancet Commission: CSDP Director Hammond is a commissioner and CSDP Assistant Research Director Kasman is a fellow on a commission that was convened by the Lancet medical journal. The Commission’s goal is to study the systems that drive the worldwide obesity epidemic and, based on these findings, to initiate action to reduce obesity levels and related inequalities. The Commission also aims to establish mechanisms for regular, independent reporting on progress towards national and global obesity targets, implementation of recommended policies and actions, and specific systems analyses of obesity drivers and solutions.