Rational: There is extensive evidence of pervasive social disparities in health, many of which take root in early life. The importance of early childhood in setting the stage for future health and social outcomes is buttressed by rigorous scientific studies across disciplines. However, what remains less investigated is how well this knowledge has been translated to public agencies responsible for implementing early childhood programs and family support services. The Department of Children Youth and their Families (DCYF) in San Francisco is one of the few departments in the country dedicated exclusively to meeting the needs of young people, and has made extensive investments in child physical and mental health programming and family support services (over 11 million dollars in 2010). However, the effectiveness of these programs in influencing key social, mental and physical health outcomes has not been investigated. Through a collaborative effort of UCSF researchers, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, the Department of Children Youth and their Families (DCYF), the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), we propose to develop a linked administrative data system that will allow us to track and evaluate the impact of early childhood programming and family support services on academic achievement, and mental and physical health.
Plan: We propose to develop a data linkage between the DCYF and SFUSD systems, with the goal that this linkage will be generalizable to other agencies serving youth in San Francisco. The goals for this proposal are to 1) assess similarities and differences in existing data structures used by DCYF and SFUSD, 2) address confidentiality issues related to establishing a linked data system in San Francisco, and 3) select and test linkage variables that will uniquely identify individual level information across DCYF and SFUSD datasets. Dr. Kaja LeWinn, a social epidemiologist in the Department of Psychiatry, will play a key role in this effort. Dr. LeWinn has spent the last two years working closely with SFUSD, has developed an intimate knowledge of the school-based services provided by DCYF and existing tracking systems, and has established relationships with key partners. To accomplish our goals, our group with meet every other month for the duration of the award and Dr. LeWinn will meet individually with specific members as necessary.
Criteria and Metrics of Successes: At the end of this pilot project year, we will have developed a reliable linkage between the DCYF and SFUSD data systems, and submitted an application for grant support to further develop and implement this system.
Cost: We ask for $20,000 to provide salary support for Dr. LeWinn so she may dedicate research time to further developing this project and relationships with key public sector collaborators.
Collaborators: Our collaboration is united around the common vision that physical and mental health disparities begin early in life, and that a longitudinal, linked data system that tracks the usage and effectiveness of publically available programs will be an instrumental resource for both researchers and public policy makers. Key public sector collaborators and supporters include: the Mayor’s Office (represented by Hydra Mendoza); Richard Carranza, Deputy Superintendent for Instruction, Innovation and Social Justice, SFUSD; Maria Su, Director of the Department of Children Youth and Their Families; and Ritu Khanna, Assistant Superintendent, Research Planning and Accountability, SFUSD. Dr. LeWinn will play a key role in maintaining this partnership in collaboration with Orlando Elizondo, Director of the SFUSD/UCSF Partnership.
Commenting is closed.