ANALYZING THE COSTS AND BENEFITS OF AN URBAN REFORESTATION PROJECT
C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group is a global network of 97 mayors representing member cities that are engaged in low-carbon pathway development in order to confront the climate crisis. The member city of Freetown, Sierra Leone, has initiated the #FreetownTheTreeTown campaign to enhance climate resilience by reforesting parts of its territory with one million trees. Freetown City Council sought to understand the project's sustainability and identify areas for improvement. A Capstone team was tasked with conducting a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) to assess the potential financial, social, economic, and environmental impacts of the campaign. The team reviewed urban reforestation case studies, methodologies for quantifying non-monetary benefits, and carbon trading mechanisms. They also conducted workshops with the client to understand project scope and stakeholder engagements and analyzed program data. The team’s final deliverables consisted of a CBA model, a memorandum detailing outcomes and recommendations, and a presentation to C40 Cities and the campaign project team.
IMPROVING MONITORING, EVALUATION, AND LEARNING TOOLS FOR LONG-TERM IMPACT ASSESSMENT
The Uganda Village Project (UVP) is a nonprofit organization that facilitates community health and well-being projects in rural Uganda. Their programming focuses on access to education and preventative services for HIV/AIDS, malaria, reproductive health, water, sanitation, and hygiene. UVP engaged a Capstone team to evaluate its current Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) tools and processes, and provide evidence-based recommendations for improvement. The team conducted a literature review on MEL best practices across various community health development programs. The team used its findings to develop strategies for consolidating existing survey tools, simplifying questionnaire design, and standardizing administrative procedures. The team presented its findings to UVP’s on-site staff and developed a revised survey tool with the aim of collecting analyzable data for long-term outcome and impact measurement.
FINANCIAL ANALYSIS OF TOTAL JOINT REPLACEMENT TECHNOLOGY
Surgical technologies at the NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital continue to evolve and expand, allowing surgeons to have better accuracy and spend less time in the operating room. Robotic-assisted total joint replacement surgery has shown additional benefits, such as faster recovery times and improved patient outcomes and satisfaction. Long-term, these technologies can be cost-saving for a hospital. The Capstone team was tasked with providing a financial analysis of the implementation of robotic technology for total joint and spine surgeries at three client sites: NYU Manhattan, NYU Brooklyn, and NYU Long Island. The team evaluated operating room volume data, reviewed current and upcoming orthopedic technologies, conducted a SWOT analysis, and researched market trends. The team’s final report outlines recommendations to guide technological implementation at NYU Langone hospitals.
EXPLORING THE CURRENT STATE OF DIVERSITY IN HEALTHCARE
Many healthcare organizations are working to improve their diversity efforts and outcomes, but ensuring that best practices are effective and sustainable has proven difficult. Many healthcare organizations have adopted DEI initiatives, but is this truly leading to a paradigm shift in diversity management? With an aging American demographic and an increasingly diverse population, it is crucial to prioritize culturally competent strategies in cultivating a more equitable system for both patients and practitioners. The team undertook a literature review that outlined the current state of diversity in healthcare in the following categories: care, educational opportunity, cultural competency, executive-level involvement, and best practices. The team recommended making efforts to increase accessibility to healthcare education in minority communities and honoring these communities through appropriate cultural competency.
OPTIMIZING OPERATIONS BY DIGITIZING DATA
Metro-North Railroad (MNR), a subsidiary agency of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, is a suburban commuter rail system that runs service in New York City and its northern suburbs in the Hudson Valley and Connecticut. MNR enlisted a Capstone team to help establish a data management and performance dashboard for internal use to increase operational efficiency and enhance customer service. The team engaged in conversations with peer transit agencies to learn proven best practices and with MNR staff from key operational departments to understand data needs. Using research and real departmental data, the team developed a beta version of a data management and performance dashboard. The team developed an accompanying set of recommendations for the replication of the dashboard and for future implementation across MNR. These deliverables will help create a more consistent data infrastructure and ensure data-driven service planning for the client.
TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT INDEX
The office of Downtown Revitalization and Transit-Oriented Development at the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning (SCEDP) promotes the development, growth, and retention of industry clusters that facilitate job opportunities, private capital investment, and tourism. To support the County’s efforts to retain and attract highly-skilled workers and young professionals, SCEDP works with municipalities to run technical and financing programs to promote transit-oriented development (TOD) around Long Island Railroad stations. The Capstone team worked with SCEDP to develop a plan for a Suffolk County TOD Index, an analytical tool to assess the location-based potential for TOD development and compare TOD suitability across locations. To develop the index, the team identified the key drivers of TOD success in Suffolk County by analyzing large amounts of public data and existing TODs through site visits, desktop research, and stakeholder interviews. Based on index-indicated TOD readiness, the team conducted several site-level analyses and provided high-level recommendations for future TODs.
ASSESSING AND DEVELOPING TOOLS FOR A SUCCESSFUL PRODUCT LAUNCH
CholPori is a web-based, self-driven learning application that enables students in Bangladesh to enhance their literary learning both inside and outside the classroom. An estimated two-thirds of students in Bangladesh are currently reading below grade level literacy standards. In order to assess their application, which began its launch in January 2022, CholPori enlisted a Capstone team to create a product testing plan and data collection strategy. The team conducted a context and market analysis, using its results to develop a Classroom Implementation Assessment Tool and a post-launch usability survey. The data collected through the assessment tool and survey was designed to evaluate impact and inform CholPori’s strategy. With evidence-based research and analysis, the team has helped lay the groundwork for CholiPori’s expansion into the Bangladeshi educational technology market.
EVALUATING THE EFFECT OF PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING ON REDISTRIBUTION OF PUBLIC FUNDS
Participatory budgeting is a process in which community members decide how a portion of public funds should be spent. Participatory budgeting in New York City (PBNYC) began with four City Council districts in 2011 and has expanded to 31 of the 51 districts in 2019. One of the goals of PBNYC is to make public spending more equitable. Using publicly available data, the team conducted a difference-in-difference analysis to determine whether PBNYC results in a reallocation of capital project funds within districts and the extent to which these effects are moderated by neighborhood income level, gentrification, and political engagement. The team’s findings provide insight into whether PBNYC actually increases resources where most needed and are particularly relevant for policymakers and other stakeholders planning for PBNYC implementation citywide.
EVALUATING AND IMPROVING THE DIABETES SCREENING INITIATIVE
NYU Langone has launched an initiative to screen Emergency Department patients for prediabetes and diabetes. Patients who meet the screening criteria are given a blood test, and any patient who has elevated A1C levels is urged to seek follow-up primary care. This is a critical point for newly diagnosed patients, and NYU Langone is exploring ways to streamline patient education in order to improve patient compliance. The team was tasked with developing a comprehensive educational toolkit for care providers to use in conjunction with existing resources. The team conducted a literature review on best practices for diabetes education and performed a gap analysis using stakeholder interviews, evaluating current diabetes screening initiatives and identifying gaps in current workflow processes. Based on its findings, the team proposed budget-neutral enhancements for the client, including recommendations for improved workflow processes and an educational toolkit to guide future patient care.