Background

Public and private initiatives have made substantial investments in improving the quality of administrative data over the past decade. Administrative records increasingly offer high quality longitudinal information about developmental, social, and behavioral phenomena. Yet, using administrative data in research has continued to be difficult for researchers.

The Penn State Administrative Data Accelerator supports partnerships between researchers and policymakers by facilitating the use of administrative data to improve translation of research for policy and practice. As part of its mission to support the access, linkage and analysis of administrative data, the Data Accelerator maintains a secure enclave (NIST 800-171 compliant) designed to meet or exceed requirements to hold identified, individual-level data in compliance with federal and state regulations (e.g., HIPAA, FERPA, CAPTA, CHRIA).

Data Accelerator Team

 

Max Crowley

Director

Dr. Crowley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and directs the Prevention Economics, Policy & Research Program. He is an expert in economic evaluation and the financing of early childhood programs and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine’s Committee on the Use of Economic Estimates to Invest in Children, Youth and Families. This work sits at the intersection of human development, economics and public policy. Dr. Crowley leads multiple efforts to increase the use of evidence in the early childhood and health space in a thoughtful manner that will protect children and the public while mobilizing new resources to support evidence-based programming. Dr. Crowley is a frequent consultant and invited speaker on the economics of prevention for initiatives around the country. This includes ongoing consultation to many Federal and State agencies.

Michael Donovan

Director of Policy & Outreach

Michael leads the Data Accelerator’s policy operations and facilitates collaborative projects between government partners and researchers. This includes a new SSRI initiative to build a statewide Integrative Data System to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic. Michael brings nearly a decade of government experience to this role–previously serving at the White House as a Special Assistant to the President overseeing execution of the administration’s strategic agenda. Michael is particularly passionate about supporting the use of research for evidence-based policymaking across government.

Ashley Stauffer

Project & Operations Manager

Ashley provides strategic planning, coordination, and organizational management to the Data Accelerator and associated projects. Ashley has a diverse background in social science research, clinical work, and coordination and support of interdisciplinary teams and initiatives. In previous positions, Ashley has managed projects across various disciplines including advocacy centers, criminal and civil court systems, and higher education practice research networks.  Ashley is interested in aligning business processes with program and project initiatives at the intersection of research, technology, and application.

 

Damon Jones

Analytic Coordinator

Damon Jones is a Senior Research Associate at Penn State’s Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center, and the Analytic Coordinator of the Administrative Data Accelerator. Damon has served as a program evaluator and methodologist for several family and youth behavioral interventions and prevention programs.  A focus of his research has been toward understanding the public costs associated with behavior disorders, including authorship on several publications regarding the costs associated with emotional and behavioral problems, as well as the potential economic value of effective efforts to improve developmental outcomes in children and youth. Damon has several years of experience with cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit assessments as well as overseeing several project resource evaluations.  He also has investigated the long-term links between early non-cognitive skills in children and future adult outcomes, with a focus on the benefits of early education.  Dr. Jones has led multiple funded projects to investigate the economic value of social and emotional learning with an emphasis on monetary estimates for program evaluation and policy analysis.  His work has also included investigations of health and mental health service needs for at risk populations, involving design of data collection streams for collecting detailed health services use information.  At Penn State, Dr. Jones has taught statistics and data analysis in the Departments of Health Policy and Administration and Human Development and Family Studies.  He received his Ph.D. in Quantitative Methods from Vanderbilt University in 2002.

 

Xueyi (Steven) Xing

Research Data Analyst

Xueyi (Steven) Xing is the lead healthcare data analyst for the Administrative Data Accelerator. In this role he analyzes health provider and insurance data for a number of projects. Prior to coming to Penn State University, Xueyi was a researcher and instructor for the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, where he taught data management courses and conducted healthcare policy research. His research interests are quantitative research methodology, GIS application, health data management and Bayesian spatio-temporal analysis. Through this work, Xueyi is interested in identifying the effects that related health policies have on specific populations. Xueyi received his Master of Science in Public Health from the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.

Hyun Woo Kim

Research Data Analyst

Dr. Hyun Woo Kim is the lead child welfare data analyst for the Administrative Data Accelerator. He has expertise working with high volume longitudinal data and multilevel data analysis–with particular interest in causal inference with observational data. He is also passionate about employing innovative data science methods to gain new insights in social science research. Dr. Kim received his PhD in Sociology from Penn State University.

 

Sarah Minion

Research Data Analyst

Sarah Minion is a data analyst for the Administrative Data Accelerator. She has a diverse background in epidemiology research working with patient-centered outcomes research, trajectory analyses, longitudinal data, and GIS application. Her research interests include reproductive epidemiology and maternal and child health. Sarah is currently finishing up her PhD in Epidemiology from The University of Pittsburgh and received her MS in Epidemiology from The University of Iowa.

 

Position Open

Research Data Analyst

The Penn State Administrative Data Accelerator housed within the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center and supported by the Social Science Research Institute and College of Health and Human Development, is seeking a passionate and talented Research Data Analyst to join our rapidly growing team. The focus of the Data Accelerator is to acquire and link complex administrative datasets from across multiple disciplines to generate research to inform policy. Administrative datasets for this work will mostly come from the child welfare system, health insurance claims, education, and criminal justice sources, but may include other state and federal level datasets. The Research Data Analyst will work closely with substantive content experts, other data analysts, faculty, and staff. Responsibilities for Level 2 will include collection, cleaning, linking (e.g., fuzzy/predictive matching), management, and analysis of data for administrative and research projects. Level 3 responsibilities include the aforementioned plus coordination of the Data Accelerator research project team, development of protocols, and will act as a liaison between the research, operations, and outreach teams of the Data Accelerator. View the complete job description.

 

Position Open

Research Data Management Specialist

The Research Data Management Specialist will manage multiple datasets and corresponding documentation, visualize data, and work closely with the analytic team to prepare custom datasets for research projects. This position is also responsible for working with College level IT support to ensure the security and confidentiality of all data, maintaining all codebooks and data summary sheets, and communication with researchers who wish to access data. View the complete job description

 

Christina Brasavage

Research Technologist

Christina assists with Data Accelerator project activities including review of project protocols and methods, the collection and monitoring of incoming data, and on-boarding of project team members. Christina holds a B.A. in Epidemiology from the University of Rochester and a Masters of Public Health from George Washington University. Her primary public health interests include child and maternal health and community-based research. Christina is passionate about using health data to inform evidence-based healthcare programming.

 

Mary McCauley

Administrative Coordinator

Mary assists with coordination, and organizational management for the various projects within the Data Accelerator. She also works closely with the Social Science Research Institute, coordinating initiatives such as the new PA Integrative Data System and the Consortium Combating Substance Abuse. Mary holds a B.A. in Psychology and Criminal Justice with a Concentration in Family, Children, and Youth from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Her primary interests are in the intersecting fields of Criminal Justice and Psychology, particularly as they impact the family unit.

 

Data Accelerator Faculty Fellows

 

Alexis Santos

Demography

Dr. Santos is an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, an applied demographer, population health scientist, and quantitative sociologist. Dr. Santos’s recent research includes a study of the effects of Hurricane María on Puerto Rican families. His work has been critical in providing an accurate calculation of the death rate attributable to the hurricane

 

Christian Connell

Child Welfare

Dr. Connell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and Associate Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network. He is a clinical-community psychologist with over 20 years experience in community-based and applied research, in systems that work with at-risk child and family populations. His research primarily focuses on the experiences of youth who have been maltreated, as well as those who become involved in the child welfare system and other child-serving systems (e.g., mental health, juvenile justice). He makes extensive use of administrative data systems to identify factors that impact child behavioral health and wellbeing following incidents of maltreatment or child welfare system contact, as well as community-based efforts to prevent or treat the negative effects of maltreatment and other traumatic experiences in children and adolescents. Dr. Connell’s research has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Administration for Children and Families, the National Traumatic Stress Network, and State and local contracts.

 

Kenneth Shores

Education

Dr. Shores is Assistant Professor at Pennsylvania State University studying education inequality and policy tools for its remediation. Relying on quantitative methodologies, this research includes both description and prevention/intervention. On the descriptive side, he is primarily interested in using large datasets to document racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in student learning and educational policy (e.g., school disciplinary policy). Dr. Shores has additional work using conjoint survey designs to describe individual understanding of and preferences for social inequality. On the prevention/intervention side, he uses quasi-experimental methods to identify the effects of environmental contexts on student outcomes as well as policies that are effective at remediating outcome inequality.

 

Sarah Font

Child Welfare

Sarah Font is an Assistant Professor of Sociology with a PhD in Social Welfare. She has substantive expertise in child protection and foster care systems as a researcher and former practitioner. Sarah’s work largely focuses on the use of administrative data to inform child welfare policy and practice, with particularly emphasis on improving causal inference and measurement. Her work is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health.