I am happy to share that I have accepted a position as an Assistant Professor on faculty of the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. This is an exciting opportunity to join a community of scholars working on issues of international social welfare and social change. I am profoundly grateful for all of the support I have received from friends, colleagues, and mentors over the last several years, and look forward to the many new collaborations ahead.
I will be based in Central America for the next several months working on two research projects studying governance, decentralization, and public services in developing countries. First, I am part of an interdisciplinary research team based at the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado Boulder that is collaborating with the Honduran Ministry of Health to understand governance reform and its effects on the performance of local health systems. This project is funded through the NSF Interdisciplinary Behavioral and Social Sciences competition (http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1328688&HistoricalAwards=false), and is an outgrowth of the pilot study I conducted in Intibucá, Honduras, in 2012. Second, I will be expanding this line of research to Guatemala and Nicaragua with generous support from the Social Science Research Council through an International Dissertation Research Fellowship funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
I am back in Honduras for about three weeks of field research, from July 15 to August 10. I will be presenting results from my study concerning the effects of decentralization on women’s health to the Regional Health Authority in Intibuca, and I will field test new survey protocols for collecting social network data on local governance systems.
I am very happy to share that the National Science Foundation has awarded me a Graduate Research Fellowship to support my studies over the next three years. I am grateful for all of the support I have received and look forward to the research opportunities this fellowship will enable me to pursue.
Earlier this month my undergraduate advisor and long-time mentor, H. Paul Friesema, passed away. Paul was a meticulous scholar of environmental policy, an engaging teacher, and a dedicated mentor. I would certainly not be where I am without his intellectual prodding and unfaltering support. He will be deeply missed.
I returned to Honduras this past summer to conduct research on decentralized health service delivery models in collaboration with the Regional Health Authority in the department of Intibucá. Overall, the field research was successful and I will be spending a good portion of the fall semester organizing and analyzing the data I collected. An overview of the project appears on page 5 of the CU Political Science Department newsletter here.
News reports indicate upwards of 350 individuals were killed in a fire that broke out in a prison in Comayagua, Honduras. A significant proportion of inmates housed in the country’s overcrowded prisons have not been convicted, but instead are held awaiting uncertain judicial proceedings.
Further information here:
This time from NPR, “…a two part series on the roots of violence in Honduras.”
Hat tip to J. Ben Ranz
In recent weeks several new services and blogs have covered crime issues in Honduras following the release of updated homicide numbers for the country and the decision by the Peace Corps to withdraw all of its volunteers. The organization I worked for, Shoulder to Shoulder, has not recalled its volunteers, but they have canceled brigades of American students and imposed travel restrictions on its in-country staff. While I never felt threatened during my time in Honduras, crime and violence are an everyday reality for many people in the country.
Additional information and links are available from USA Today, McClatchy, and the NY Times:
In suburban Evanston, IL, where I last studied, you would occasionally see deer on campus, and if you were lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a fox. This, however, is something I did not have to worry about: