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Area professors get $3-million grant to study the health of Mary Ellen McCormack residents as their development is rebuilt as a mixed-income complex

A team of researchers at Boston College, Boston University and Harvard have won the federal grant to study "how the massive makeover will affect the health and well-being of more than 1,000 children and adults" who live in the state's oldest public-housing complex.

WinnCompanies has the BHA nod to replace the current buildings with all new buildings that will include both new public-housing units and apartments aimed at people who can afford market rates, at a total cost of $2.3 billion over 15 years. It's a strategy the BHA has used in recent years to replace aging public-housing units at a time when the federal government no longer puts any money into such housing.

A team of social workers, developmental psychologists, engineers and biostatisticians, headed by faculty at BC's Lynch School of Education and Human Development and School of Social Work:

Will survey and interview residents of the Mary Ellen McCormack public housing complex at regular intervals over the next five years. The team will also measure environmental conditions in the neighborhood such as air quality; gather data from local and national sources like the U.S. Census and the Boston Police Department; and collect hair samples from residents to track levels of cortisol, a hormone that is associated with stress.

The researchers will work closely with the Mary Ellen McCormack Resident Task Force to shape the questions they ask and the methods they use to recruit residents, said Samantha Teixeira, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work who is running the study with Rebekah Levine Coley, a professor in the Lynch School.



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$3 million for a thousand residents or $3k per studied resident? Wow. There must be some well-connected grant writer behind this.

Voting closed 48

Take 1/2 that money and open a grocery store on site. Give the rest to George Benner who has been scraping by for years trying serve the youth of McCormack with a safe study area a gym, computers and a breakfast program for at least 5 years. If there is any left over Gavin Foundation who has a safe drug free place for those in early recovery or interested in recovery a place of dignity and hope. The world is upside down.

Voting closed 14

There are two large supermarkets (and a big box retailer which also sells food) within a 20-25 minute walk of the center of that project. The #8 bus will take you right to the South Bay Center from just past the southern tip of the project.

That said, building a supermarket as part of the redevelopment would probably make the new market rate units a lot more attractive and be a benefit to the existing residents.

Voting closed 20

Their findings will be published. What they learn will be used in the redevelopment of public housing across the country. Even if the Boston project is a failure, the findings can help others not make the same mistakes.

Voting closed 44

Depending on how involved the interviews are, and how pricey/frequent the cortisol monitoring is, that can all add up pretty quickly.

(It would actually be less than $600/resident/year, since there are also costs not linear in population -- analysis, air quality measurements, methodology development...)

Voting closed 5

You can find out who is funding this.

Meanwhile, as a prospective study of a large number of people, yes it will cost money. But this is an opportunity to get definitive answers to a whole suite of questions regarding how human environments influence health. That's why it is so expensive - it is a huge study and huge things are expected.

Voting closed 32

Nothing like well to do academics studying poor people as lab rats. I believe they made a movie about this called Good Will Hunting.

Voting closed 27

... anon buffoons on the internet who don't know crap about this sort of research and don't bother reading the study methodology.

These studies are planned and carried out WITH the people in the study. That is now the standard for any population study, particularly any marginalized populations. That's because engagement improves the science, and because it is the right thing to do.

The last 20 years has seen participatory research go from an idealistic but growing field to the absolute standard of population studies. You might want to read up on what that is.

Voting closed 42

The term "buffoon" has racist connotations. Clearly it wasn't meant to be racist in your post, but you cannot dismiss images in conjures particularly among communities of color.


Do better.

Voting closed 9

You CAN do better. You just have to want to do better.

This “grant” is a garish handout imho but Mary Ellen has always been “connected” to that kind of thing…

Lawrence J Vale did all the important work already a long time ago regarding this topic. If you need “hard data.” You are just another salesman.

Voting closed 7

Citations needed.

Voting closed 15

Thank you, I’ll proceed to being outraged now.

Voting closed 17

How about "ignorant assclown".

Does that help you with the "just so" stories from dubious blog clickbait sources when your intent is to derail discussion with real or pseudowokeness?

Meanwhile, I take it that you didn't get into Latin:

The word derives from "buffo" or "clown" and got into the English language from medieval French in the 1500s. It was used in French long before that. Just because a word was used as a "clever" insult by racists in a very narrow local context doesn't mean the word has racist origins or widespread meaning.

Just like using the word "plant" for a factory or nuclear facility doesn't make plant an inappropriate word.

You might also look up how "rule of thumb" was claimed to be racist and sexist by some who liked the truthy origin stories but hadn't bothered looking up the actual history.

Voting closed 7

People don't care about proper english or word meaning anymore if it goes against their agenda... whatever that may be.

Voting closed 17