V CU experts are driving research efforts to help inform and shape policy at the local, state and national levels. Here are just a few examples of the important work driving action:
A new VCU study analyzes the federal response to the current economic crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically its impact on Black workers and businesses in Virginia. Harper-Anderson hopes the research will lead to policy recommendations to mitigate long-term equity issues in economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic. “The cycle of economic and social inequality in this country is a wicked problem with many layers and facets,” she said. “Public policy has the potential to either help level the playing field or exacerbate preexisting systematic inequalities. Analyzing the implications of the CARES Act and the current crisis allows us to begin to think about ways to offset or mitigate racially unjust outcomes.”
The RVA Eviction Lab builds out data for communities, advocates, housing advocates and attorneys to be able to tackle the eviction problem. The CARES Act, passed in late March, halted evictions of renters living in single-family and multifamily properties financed by federally backed mortgages such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Department of Urban and Housing Development, as well as those living in federally assisted housing. It was the RVA Eviction Lab that played an important role in providing data to local organizations that help residents facing possible eviction.
Mortality rates among working-age Americans continue to climb, causing a decrease in U.S. life expectancy that is severely impacting certain regions of the United States, according to a VCU study published in JAMA. The report, “Life Expectancy and Mortality Rates in the United States, 1959-2017,” is one of the most comprehensive 50-state analyses of U.S. mortality. Deaths among Americans ages 25 to 64 are increasing, particularly in Rust Belt states and Appalachia. These deaths, which have fueled a decline in U.S. life expectancy since 2014, are linked to several major causes of death. Compared to the 1990s, working-age adults are now more likely to die before age 65 from drug overdoses, alcohol abuse and suicides — sometimes referred to as “deaths of despair”— but also from an array of organ system diseases. The paper calls for a better understanding of the root causes of these deaths, including the role of drugs, obesity, the health care system, stress and the economy.