December 2020
CHAS eNews
Policy Briefs
The New York Times: Positive Test Rate of 11 Percent? France’s Schools Remain Open.
Despite the recent surges of COVID-19 cases in France, an article published in The New York Times last month highlighted the country's decision to keep schools open. This response is part of France's effort to minimize both academic and economic hardship. It is also a much different response than we have seen in cities across the United States – Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco are a few cities that have opted to close schools while allowing bars and restaurants to remain semi-open during the pandemic. As cases were increasing in France, schools took extra precautions that have kept them from being a major driver of infections, which included requiring younger children to wear masks, staggering hours for children to be dropped off and picked up at school, and facilitating a mix of remote and in-person schooling for high school students. Furthermore, France's economic activity was down only 12 percent from normal in November, compared to the 31 percent decrease seen in April. "This time, health priority is mixed with economic priority," said Henri Bergeron, a sociologist at the Paris Institute of Political Studies and contributor to past CHAS and Sciences Po Workshops. Please read the full NYT article examining France's recent response to the COVID-19 pandemic linked below.
Disaster Preparedness and Social Justice in a Public Health Emergency 
In a new publication, Harold Pollack (CHAS Co-Director and Helen Ross Professor at the School of Social Service Administration) writes, "The most devastating harms fall on the most vulnerable." In this article, Dr. Pollack draws on Amartya Sen's work regarding famine and other social problems to illustrate how weak public health infrastructure and insufficient social insurance has led to devastating economic, social, and health outcomes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – especially for those who are ill equipped to protect themselves on their own. Dr. Pollack outlines seven important characteristic interests and corresponding vulnerabilities that should be focused on as we learn from the ongoing crisis including: looking at prior health status and disparities, providing basic services for everyone (i.e., access to housing), basic economic resources to purchase emergency goods and services, ensuring political power and social standing for all residents, solid public health infrastructure, statutory protections for the equal worth of everyone, and global public health structures to protect vulnerable populations across boundaries. Improving social insurance and national and global public health infrastructure will enable the United States to address the immediate crisis and prepare for future catastrophes. Please read Dr. Pollack's full article linked below.
Upcoming eLectures

Bradley Stein, PhD, MD, MPH
RAND Corporation
1/26/2021 @ 12:30 pm CDT

Boaz Keysar, PhD, MA
University of Chicago
2/02/2021 @ 12:30 pm CDT

Jamila Michener, PhD, MA
Cornell University
2/09/2021 @ 12:30 pm CDT

Reuben Miller, PhD
University of Chicago
2/16/2021 @ 12:30 pm CDT

Harold Pollack, PhD
University of Chicago
2/23/2021 @ 12:30 pm CDT
CHAS Podcasts
Invisible Visits: Black Middle-Class Women in the American Healthcare System
Dr. Tina Sacks, AM ’98, PhD ’13 Assistant Professor
School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley
Follow CHAS on Social Media for Updates
COVID-19 Research Funding Opportunities
The University of Chicago has compiled a list of funding opportunities for research specific to COVID-19, inclusive of federal, foundations, and other related prizes and awards. The list is being updated as new opportunities are announced. Explore current opportunities and upcoming application deadlines HERE. If you would like to add opportunities to this list, please email Sarah Lain at
Winter 2021 Davis e-Lecture Series Begins Jan. 26th
The Winter 2021 Davis e-Lecture Series will begin on January 26th! All e-Lectures will be held on consecutive Tuesdays at 12:30 pm CDT on Zoom
January 26, 2021: "The Opioid Crisis and State and Federal Policies: It's More Complicated Than You Think"
Bradley D. Stein, PhD, MD, MPH, Director, Opioid Policies, Tools, and Information Center (OPTIC); Senior Physician Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation
February 2, 2021: "The Impact of Foreign Language Use on Health-Related Decisions"
Boaz Keysar, PhD, MA, William Benton Professor, Chair, Cognition Program, The University of Chicago Department of Psychology
February 9, 2021: "Race, Power, and Social Policy: Understanding Responses to COVID-19 in the American States"
Jamila Michener, PhD, MA, Associate Professor, Co-Director, Cornell Center for Health Equity, Cornell University, Department of Government
February 16, 2021: "The Afterlife of Mass Incarceration"
Reuben Jonathan Miller, PhD, Assistant Professor, UChicago SSA
February 23, 2021: "Machine Learning Models of Residential Addiction Treatment Outcomes"
Harold Pollack, PhD, Helen Ross Professor, UChicago SSA with co-presenter Abby Stevens, PhD candidate, UChicago Department of Statistics