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Professor Elizabeth Heger Boyle Secures Major New Funding

September 14, 2020

Sociology Professor Elizabeth Heger Boyle has received major new funding from the The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the NICHD, and UNICEF to research and improve women and children's health in low- and middle-income countries.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Professor Boyle is the sole PI for a grant from the The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation($2.1 million over three years), “Integrating and Disseminating PMA2020 Data: Towards Greater Access to Family Planning for Women in High Fertility Countries.” The project increass accessibility to survey data on women and children's health from the 20 poorest countries in the world. 

This funding extends a previous grant and provides funds for a new research intiative which makes data on the global Family Planning 2020 initiative available to researchers in an easy-to-use form. The data covers a broad range of topics, such as access to family planning methods, distance to clean water, menstrual hygiene, and nutrition. 

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) has funded a new data harmonization and dissemination project ($3.8 million over five years), the "PMA Data Analysis Hub" at the Institute for Social Research and Data Innovation, where the popular IPUMS PMA data extract system is maintained. The Data Analysis Hub will ensure steady releases of findings from PMA data in the form of monthly reports and periodic publications. The Hub will also respond quickly to BMFG requests for data analysis. The Hub will create a multiplier effect through mentoring of post-doctoral scholars, by fostering others’ research through outreach to instructors with webinars and curricular materials, and by increasing the number of PMA Data Analysis workshops.

Professor Boyle is Lead PI with Matthew Sobek (MPC) & Miriam King (MPC) serving as Co-PIs.

The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has funded an intiative to help develop their assessments of countries' progress toward the Global Sustainable Development Goals ($200K over 8 months), "IPUMS MICS." The Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) include data representing over half the world's children and women, with publicly-available survey data from over 90 countries dating back to the late 1990s. Collected via partnerships between the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and participating countries, MICS were the first large-scale comparative surveys to focus on many topics of critical importance to children, such as child labor and experiences with violent discipline.

This project will harmonize MICS data across countries of the Global South and Eastern Europe to create fully consistent variables and documentation. Data will be freely disseminated and harmonized through a user-friendly website, allowing researchers to design comparative studies in an information-rich environment. This integrated MICS (IPUMS MICS) will dramatically reduce the effort required to conduct and replicate sophisticated cross-national and cross-temporal analyses with the microdata.

Professor Boyle is Lead PI with Matthew Sobek (MPC) serving as Co-PI.

Professor Boyle's training in law and sociology informs her research, which addresses questions of how gender relations, national laws, and international treaty obligations influence the health and rights of women and children, particularly in low-resource countries. Much of her work on women and children's health deploys data from multiple nationally representative demographic surveys across time and countries. Learn more about her research here.