Public Health Seminar Series:

Housing Experiment to Inform How Housing and Neighborhood Factors Influence Health and Health Equity by Dr. Theresa L. Osypuk, SD

Monday, February 26, 2018 12:00pm - 1:00pm Calit2 Auditorium OCW Video Archive
Seminar Abstract

Persistently high racial residential segregation predicts poor health, and the vast racial inequalities in neighborhood environment may play an important role in creating and maintaining racial disparities in health. However there is a dearth of translational social epidemiology evidence to inform policies that may promote health equity. This talk will focus on a social experiment of neighborhood relocation that occurred in the housing sector with the Moving to Opportunity ("MTO") for Fair Housing Demonstration Program. This experiment randomly assigned low-income families living in highly distressed public housing an offer to move to a lower-poverty neighborhood and subsidize rent, and followed up with them over the course of 15 years. I will illustrate some findings to date on the broad range of neighborhood changes that participating families experienced, including from a mosaic of datasets we collected and linked to the MTO data. I will describe the health effects of this housing policy, including how some subgroups were more likely to benefit from the policy, and then I will present some of the mechanisms by which we believe the health effects emerged. This project is funded by several National Institutes of Health grants, and is an example of translational, policy-relevant social epidemiologic research. Because of its rigorous experimental design, this project provides strong evidence that housing and neighborhood context influences health. It also informs the mechanisms by which policies outside the health sector, namely housing mobility policy, may improve population health by addressing upstream determinants of health such as housing costs and place-based deprivation. Our results may inform the next generation of housing policies to ensure that more low income families benefit from affordable housing and rental assistance policies.

Speaker Biography - Dr. Theresa L. Osypuk, SD

Dr. Theresa L. Osypuk, SD
Dr. Theresa L. Osypuk, SD Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and Minnesota Population Center
Dr. Theresa L. Osypuk is a social epidemiologist, and her research examines why place and social policy influence health and health disparities. Specifically, she examines the influence of racial residential segregation, neighborhood context, and policies outside of the health sector (i.e., those concerned with housing, neighborhoods, and education), for their effects on racial/ethnic and immigrant health disparities. Dr. Osypuk is currently the principal investigator of several NIH grants investigating how housing policy influences the health of adolescents and their families. She earned her masters and doctoral degrees from Harvard School of Public Health, and trained as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar in population health at the University of Michigan. Dr. Osypuk is currently an Associate Professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

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