Carolina and Duke have a storied relationship. But when it comes to academics, rivalry often yields to collaboration. For population scientists, this collaboration includes Demography Daze, an annual meeting to share research and discuss ongoing work in a collegial atmosphere.
Demography Daze is a collaboration between the Carolina Population Center (CPC) and the Duke Population Research Institute (DUPRI), an SSRI affiliate. The host campus alternates each year. This year, DUPRI researchers traveled to Chapel Hill for the event.
“This was our 6th Demography Daze bringing UNC and Duke together over ideas and friendship,” said Angie O’Rand, director of DUPRI. “The program this year included flash talks on a wide range of topics, a regular session on cognitive aging, and an outside speaker with information from federal source about social science funding in the current political climate. A great mix of science and policy.”
Together, CPC and DUPRI have worked on some of the most innovative projects in the population sciences including the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Study of Development, the National Long Term Care Study and the Adolescent Health Survey (Add Health) and the Add Health Parent Study.
The event began with a welcome from S. Philip Morgan, director of CPC, and quickly transitioned to the flash talks. Topics for the talks included mother to child transmission of HIV, physical disability trajectories among Mexico-U.S. immigrants, and how violent radicalization relates to ethnic discrimination.
Mary Jo Hoeksema, director of Government and Affairs at the Population Association of America gave a keynote address on the challenges and opportunities for federally funded research during the Trump administration.
A timely subject, the government has faced some dramatic changes recently that affect social science research. With the ousting of FBI Director James Comey, the resignation of John S. Thompson, director of the U.S. Census Bureau, didn’t receive nearly as much attention in the media. But the funding crisis for the 2020 census is a major concern for population scientists. Hoeksema emphasized that because of this turmoil, researchers can play an important role in the future of policy related to the field.
O’Rand moderated multiple presentations on cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s by Duke and UNC researchers. A reception concluded the day where guests could connect with one another over the presentations and discuss their work. It was a great opportunity for networking between disciplines and campuses.
“As a student, Demography Daze is one of the best ways to see the wide variety of work occurring in population studies,” said Bryce Bartlett. “It also provides a forum to meet new people, discuss ongoing work, and find inspiration and new ideas.”
“In a 10 mile radius, we have the largest community of population scholars in the United States. With Demography Daze, we are taking advantage of our scholarly breadth and depth to continue to inspire the collaboration of our two centers."
Giovanna Merli, associate director of DUPRI and professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy
“Demography Daze continues to be an inspirational event; it is thrilling to be in the room with so many world class population scientists and to see the interactions in action between DUPRI and CPC. I love it.”
Seth Sanders, professor of economics
“Another really enjoyable afternoon that highlighted the breadth of population and health scholarship in the Triangle; as usual the ‘Daze’ is ‘Dazeling!’”
Jim Moody, Robert O. Keohane professor of sociology
To view photos from Demography Daze 2017, visit the SSRI flickr album here.