Campaign Operations Director
NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs
|Income volatility—substantial variation in household income—impacts roughly a quarter of American families and disproportionately harms the disabled because they are more likely to have low income. A Capstone team undertook a research plan to assess whether existing public support programs are effectively improving income stability. Departing from current studies that fail to differentiate between specific sources of financial vulnerability the team examined how disability status and type affect program effectiveness. The scope of the team’s research included the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a program designed to help needy families become self-sufficient. The team analyzed data from the 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation and found significant differences in TANF effectiveness for the disabled, with important variations across disability types. These findings imply that support programs need to allocate funding according to the degree of vulnerability to effectively address income volatility.|
|As partisanship and political gridlock have increased in America, many state attorneys general (AGs) have become engaged with the national political landscape. This is a shift from the traditional AG role of chief law enforcement officer. A Capstone team investigated this change and hypothesized that the shift might be related to increased partisan donations in state elections. The team analyzed data on campaign donations and state AG races between 2006 and 2014 and employed a difieren се-in- differences design around the 2010 change in campaign finance regulations resulting from the Citizens United vs. FEC ruling. The team found significant changes and patterns in the campaign finance landscape for state AG races after the regulation changes. These findings may help policymakers better understand the state AG as a new, nontraditional player in the partisan policy arena.|
|The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides patient care and federal benefits to veterans and is currently seeking to improve the patient experience and utilization of its mental health facilities. The VA’s Center for Innovation, an arm created to develop and evaluate innovative care improvement methods for veterans, enlisted a Capstone team to assess the relationship between outpatient space design and patient experience. Additionally, the VA tasked the team to develop expert and veteran-based recommendations for outpatient spaces in its mental health facilities. The team completed a literature review to ascertain needs of the veteran population, outcomes-based practices, and recommendations in the held. The team also interviewed VA clinicians and professionals to gain firsthand knowledge of the relationship between the safety, aesthetics, and acoustics of outpatient spaces and mental health outcomes. To garner veteran input, the team conducted a series of focus groups and interviews with former service members to understand their concerns and needs better. The team also surveyed veterans to quantify their priorities and opinions surrounding how space design impacts care. The team provided an evidence-based report to the VA that recommends the incorporation of patient safety, natural light and greenery, conscientious artwork, and soothing sounds in future design plans.|
|The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides patient care and federal benefits to veterans and their dependents.
The VA faces the daily challenge of providing transportation for patients to access healthcare. The current transportation process leads to missed appointments, reduced access to care, increased risk of negative health outcomes, and decreased veteran satisfaction and trust. The VA engaged a Capstone team in investigating strategies to improve its transportation processes. The team conducted market research and an environmental scan of 22 VA transportation sites. The team’s conclusions were threefold: transportation availability impacts healthcare access, insufficient performance measures are captured on patient transportation, and transportation accessibility must be integrated into the clinical process. The team provided a report to the VA that included the conclusions and these additional recommendations: standardize the transportation process across sites, implement the automated system “Vetride,” and consistently collect and report key metrics to measure outcomes and promote continuous improvements.
|The New York City Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) is responsible for addressing numerous challenges faced by New Yorkers, including working to build a progressive agenda centered on pressing issues—particularly the feminization of poverty, creating and protecting affordable housing, and advocating for marginalized communities. The Policy Unit of OPA engaged a Capstone team to conduct a qualitative study that would inform the reform of the city planning process and include a more holistic planning approach based on true community involvement The team conducted telephone and face- to-face interviews and held focus groups with OPA’s advisory group, city officials, and NYU faculty to understand traditional challenges to comprehensive planning in NYC. Additionally, the team studied best practices from other US cities, including Los Angeles, Houston, and Seattle, to pinpoint concrete examples where citywide planning frameworks and community-based plans work collectively. The team’s research culminated in a final report and presentation that summarized the findings and subsequent recommendations.|
|The Food Bank for New York City (Food Bank), a nonprofit social services organization and leader in food advocacy and policy, aims to end hunger by organizing food, information, and support for community survival, empowerment, and dignity. Food Bank commissioned a Capstone team to determine the public health impacts of potential funding cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The team focused their work on estimating the potential increase in rates of depression, diabetes, and hypertension associated with increased food insecurity due to funding cuts. The team completed a comprehensive literature review and meta-analysis of research related to food insecurity and the aforementioned public health measures. The team translated the results into tools and graphics that the client can readily share with SNAP stakeholders.|
|Citizens Union Foundation (Citizens Union), an NYC-based democratic reform organization, seeks to inform, empower, and organize citizens around voting reforms in New York State. New York State has the fourth-lowest voter participation rate and some of the most restrictive voter laws in the country. Many state legislators and county elections officials have not rallied around proposals that aim to increase accessibility and efficiency in elections, often citing the magnitude and uncertainty of costs as an impediment to change. Citizens Union engaged a Capstone team to assess the implementation and ongoing costs and savings of three election reforms: electronic poll books, combining the state and federal primary elections, and early voting. The team analyzed the costs of implementing these reforms in other states and worked with elected officials to apply these costs to New York State. The team delivered a comprehensive report outlining short- and long-term cost estimates for New York State and its counties.|
|The New York City Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is NYC’s chief financial agency, and its Citywide Savings Unit is the unit responsible for city agency programming aimed at reducing city spending. It is estimated that nearly 10 percent of civilian employees will soon retire, which leads to increased costs to the city and potentially reduced intellectual capital and expertise. The Citywide Savings Unit recently announced Redeploy, a new citywide initiative that allows retirement-eligible employees to shift from full- to part-time status while officially filing for retirement—thus collecting both pension and wages for part-time employment. OMB engaged a Capstone team to conduct comprehensive research and a literature review on similar national and international government programs. Based on their findings, the team outlined and presented their recommendations to the Citywide Savings Unit, which will position OMB for a more successful implementation of the Redeploy initiative.|