New student research tackles issues of health equity in Texas and Georgia
New York, NY—Today, the Roosevelt Network celebrates the release of two new issue briefs from the Emerging Fellows program, a yearlong fellowship for undergraduate students to engage deeply in writing skills training and policy research on an issue of their choosing. Against a backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, two of this year’s briefs focus on health care—both how to ensure equitable access to it, and the role that health care systems play in combating food insecurity.
Emerging Fellow Vivian Tran, a student at the University of Texas at Dallas, offers an issue brief that outlines how to ease cost and programmatic barriers faced by people with disabilities in order to make affordable dental care a reality for thousands in Texas. Emerging Fellow Aditi Madhusudan, a University of Georgia student, presents a blueprint for reimagining the food insecurity ecosystem in Georgia, recommending that health care centers, state agencies, and community organizations work together to ensure that Georgia’s most vulnerable residents can access critical nutritional assistance programs.
As a result of this research, Tran and Madhusudan make policy recommendations that attempt to solve the following challenges:
- Providing dental care accessibility for people with disabilities in Texas. Oral care is an essential part of health, particularly for people with disabilities who often suffer from a higher number of conditions that can be worsened by poor dental health. To solve this, Tran proposes implementing expanded oral screening programs, catered to reach those with disabilities in and out of the educational system, and providing additional Medicaid benefits to pay for anesthesia and prevent high out-of-pocket costs.
- Helping to end food insecurity in Georgia. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, one out of eight people in Georgia were considered to be food insecure, a condition characterized by low food intake and frequent disruptions in eating patterns—often caused by lack of access to affordable and balanced meals. As Madhusudan suggests, the Georgia Department of Community Health could better manage this problem by establishing statewide best practices for addressing food insecurity in health care facilities, rooted in standardizing the highly effective Hunger Vital Sign screening tool.
“The Emerging Fellowship program aims to offer students a transformational research and policy writing experience. Over an entire year of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, Tran and Madhusudan engaged a diverse community of stakeholders in solutions exploration, implemented feedback from Roosevelt Think Tank Fellows and Network alumni, and challenged themselves to consider the intersectoral and interdisciplinary outcomes of their policy recommendations,” said Network Senior Program Manager Alyssa Beauchamp.
Please contact Beauchamp with any questions regarding the Emerging Fellowship Program or the 2021 issue briefs.
About the Roosevelt Network
The Roosevelt Network trains, develops, and supports emerging progressive policymakers, researchers, and advocates across the US, focusing on communities historically denied political power. Found on campuses and in cities across nearly 40 states nationwide, the network is built on the principle that changing who writes the rules can help fulfill the ideals of American democracy and build true public power. The network supports student-led, scalable policy campaigns that fight for the equitable provision, distribution, and accessibility of public goods at the campus, local, and state levels. In addition to its student-led activities, the organization leverages the power of its alumni network—which includes public officials, lawyers, teachers, nonprofit executives, and researchers—to expand opportunities for the next generation of policy leaders. A program of the Roosevelt Institute, the network operates alongside leading economists and political scientists to bring the ideals of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt into the 21st century.