Each year, CHABLIS funds up to four pilot projects that advance the center’s mission of examine how demographic and economic factors influence individual healthy aging behaviors (HABs) and outcomes across the life course. You may learn more about the 2020-21 pilot projects below, or learn how to apply for pilot funding here

Health Care Spending, Mortality and the Macroeconomic and Distributional Effects of Health Inequality at Older Ages

In existing work, Kaplan and colleagues have analyzed the joint economic and health implications of different polices by integrating an expanded SIR model of virus spread into a macroeconomic model with realistic income and wealth inequality, as well as occupational and sectoral heterogeneity. However, this work has so far not considered the role of age as a dimension of heterogeneity. The aim of this pilot project is to fill this gap by expanding both the epidemiological and economic blocks of the model to include older people.

The Rise and Consequences of Alternative Work Arrangements for the Aging Workforce

Koustas’ recent work has found rates of self-employment and gig work to be higher among older workers. As gig workers will not obtain health insurance through their gig employer, documenting whether they obtain health care coverage for themselves and their dependents through other means is important for contextualizing the welfare implications of gig work and for understanding the labor supply of gig workers. The aims of this pilot project are to clean and process new data elements, and to explore and develop new research designs to answer questions around gig work and health insurance in the United States.

The Significance of Race, Skin Color, and Discrimination for Health and Aging

Perceived discrimination, especially ethnoracial discrimination, is a significant predictor of the incidence and/or severity of a variety of health outcomes. However, most studies that focus on perceptions of discrimination between-groups fail to define what is meant by ‘racism,’ and rarely consider alternative measures of ‘race’ beyond dichotomous self-identification measures. Monk’s prior research shows that disparities in socioeconomic status among blacks associated with their skin tone rival or exceed SES disparities between blacks and whites as a whole. This pilot study uses innovative measures of skin color, perceived discrimination, and ethnoracial identity to examine their role in shaping health and aging among older adults.

Impact of Pharmacogenetics in a High Utilizer Program for Older Adults at Increased Risk of Hospitalization

Progress in pharmacogenomics (PGx) has led to identification of genetic variants that impact response or toxicity for hundreds of drugs. To address barriers to implementation, O’Donnell has developed a genomic prescribing system (GPS), which incorporates preemptive PGx test results and translates patient-specific genotypes into concise, real-time guidance integrated into the University of Chicago Medical Center’s (UCM) EPIC electronic health record. This pilot will evaluate whether the Comprehensive Care Physician (CCP) Program, designed to improve care for older adults at increased risk of hospitalization by giving them a physician who will care for them in and out of the hospital, may provide a stronger setting in which to assess the effect of the GPS system for PGx.