Congratulations, NYU Wagner Class of '11! [Slide Show]
A highly spirited, good-humored and at times poignant NYU Wagner convocation ceremony filled the beautiful Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 17, including a keynote address delivered by visiting scholar, best-selling author, and astute social critic Irshad Manji.
Her subject was "moral courage," a matter she teaches at Wagner with great passion and insight. As part of her presentation, several students stood in the auditorium; their faces were beamed onto a jumbo screen and their voices were amplified as they explained to hundreds of asssembled classmates, friends and family members what the phrase "moral courage" means to each of them.
It was just one of many emotional and powerful moments as the more than 350 graduates cheered -- all of them poised to embark on the next step of their amazing careers in public service within and across sectors and disciplines.
In another twist on the standard graduation ceremony, three MPA graduates -- Nilbia Y. Coyote, Chesray L. Dolpha, and Kuo Jeng Yang -- greeted the audience with "Welcome" in dozens of languages that reflect the United Nations-like variety of native tongues embodied by Wagner's student body and its diverse global ties.
Ellen Schall, Wagner's dean, led the ceremonies, while New York University Provost David W. McClauglin offered words of welcome and praise, and Associate Dean and Professor Rogan Kersh recited the Athenian Oath. Faculty and student awards aplenty were yet another highlight of the day.
Congratulations to the Class of '11. Forward!
Conversation Starter: Mayor Bloomberg's Bid to Ban Soda Purchases with Food Stamps
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has long made it a paramount goal to rid New York City of unhealthful foods, and he recently asked the Federal government for permission to prohibit Food Stamp recipients from using stamps to buy soda and other sugared beverages in the city.
Supporters are cheering Bloomberg’s stance, saying he’s striking a blow for better dietary habits and ultimately lower public health costs and consequences such as obesity. But critics question the move, seeing it as an example of big government, even patronizing toward the poor.
Research can be a valuable guidepost for public officials. In 2009, after Mayor Bloomberg required restaurant franchises to put calories counts on their menus, NYU Wagner professors Rogan Kersh and Brian Elbel sought to measure the impact of the calorie labeling initiative on consumer habits at fast-food restaurants in low-income neighborhoods. Their survey of 1,156 adult found little direct evidence to support the Mayor’s view that the posting of calorie counts causes fast-food patrons to buy items containing fewer calories. Elbel’s and Kersh’s widely discussed study, published in the journal Health Affairs, emphasized that follow-up studies are needed to determine the value and effectiveness of menu labeling and other obesity-related policies.
Professor Elbel describes the Mayor’s current proposal to prohibit the use of food stamps for the purchase of soda and sugary drinks as “an extremely innovative policy approach to tackle the complicated and multifaceted problem of obesity. It deserves a rigorous assessment, to evaluate its overall impact on healthy food choice and obesity,” says Professor Elbel, assistant professor of medicine and health policy. “The rest of the nation can then learn from the New York City experience as these and other policies to fight obesity are considered across the country.”
What’s your opinion of the Mayor’s food stamp initiative? Is it good public policy? Or should it just be allowed to fizzle out? Visit Wagner’s Public Service Today blog to post your comment today.
Dean Sherry Glied Writes on Data Access @ APPAM.org
Sherry Glied, Dean and Professor of Public Service at NYU Wagner, has published an essay entitled "Data and the Quest for Available Access" on the website of APPAM, the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management.
As she writes, "Making data more readily available, so that researchers can better evaluate and assess programs, will require governments spend time and money." Read on.
Doctoral Program Grad Receives AJPH "Paper of the Year" Award
Frederico C. Guanais, who earned his Ph.D. at NYU Wagner, is a recipient of the 2013 "Paper of the Year" award from the American Journal of Public Health. Guanais was recognized for his article entitled “The Combined Effects of the Expansion of Primary Health Care and Conditional Cash Transfers on Infant Mortality in Brazil, 1998-2010.”
AJPH’s editors termed Guanais’ article “an innovative paper looking at the synergic effects of two government programs, from two different areas, on infant mortality. Using a relatively innovative approach, the paper exemplifies something that the public health community has been emphasizing for ages: the importance of intersectoral approaches.”
Guanais received his Ph.D. in 2006. He wrote his dissertation on primary care in Brazil.