June 2017 Faculty Spotlight
June Faculty Spotlight with Associate Professor, Diane M. Gibson
Cutting-edge policy and research programs aren’t just explored in the classroom at the Marxe School. The School’s vital association with seven vibrant research centers allow students unprecedented exposure to experts and their research. We spoke with the Associate Professor and Executive Director of the New York Federal Statistical Research Data Center (NYRDC) about ongoing research efforts, including a project on preventive care for individuals with diabetes, and more.
For those who don’t know, can you talk a bit about the New York Federal Statistical Research Data Center (NYRDC)?
The NYRDC is part of the Federal Statistical Research Data Center Network. The Federal Statistical Research Data Centers are partnerships between federal statistical agencies and leading research institutions. The Research Data Centers (RDCs) are secure facilities that provide access to a range of restricted-use microdata for statistical purposes only. The RDCs host researchers working on their own projects and researchers must have their project approved by the relevant federal agencies before conducting research. The NYRDC was created by a consortium of 12 universities and research institutions in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The NYRDC operates three labs, one at Baruch College-CUNY, one at Cornell University, and one at Yale University.
What are some of your goals as Executive Director of the NYRDC at Baruch College?
My main goals as the Executive Director of the NYRDC-Baruch are to make sure researchers at our member institutions know about the wide variety of data available through the RDC and to make the experience of using the NYRDC-Baruch lab as pleasant as possible.
Are there any ongoing research efforts at the NYRDC you can discuss?
Currently there are 57 separate research projects being conducted at the NYRDC-Baruch. These projects examine a large variety of questions ranging from the impact of trade on the U.S. economy to the effect of the Affordable Care Act on the health of individuals. I have my own project underway that uses restricted-access data from the National Health Interview Survey to look at the relationship between the local availability of eye care providers and vision health outcomes.
Tell us about your current research project on access to preventive care for individuals with diabetes.
Individuals with diabetes have to visit a number of different types of health care providers in order to adhere to the preventive care service recommendations of the American Diabetes Association. My research finds that a majority of adults with diabetes regularly miss recommended visits to primary care or eye care providers and that individuals without health insurance, a usual source of health care, or who do not currently have diabetes-related complications or comorbidities are especially likely to miss visits for preventive care services. I argue that this suggests that public health interventions are needed to provide individuals with health insurance and connect them with a usual source of healthcare and that interventions should be focused on the set of individuals who are not currently receiving diabetes treatments and do not have or are not aware of having diabetes-related complications and comorbidities.
What is your top learning objective when you teach Economic Analysis and Public Policy?
One of my top objectives is to have students understand how microeconomics (Economic Analysis and Public Policy is mainly a class in microeconomics) can be used as a tool for thinking about both fairness and economic efficiency. Many students go in to the class assuming that efficiency and profit maximization will be the whole story and are often surprised to learn how much of microeconomics focuses on the distribution of resources and on understanding who wins and loses as the result of different market outcomes and policy interventions.