UTSA doctoral student receives Jess Hay Chancellor's Fellowship

Jeffrey Howard

Jeffrey Howard

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(July 16, 2013) -- Jeffrey Howard, a doctoral student in The University of Texas at San Antonio College of Public Policy, is a recipient of the prestigious Jess Hay Chancellor's Fellowship. He will use the accompanying $10,000 award to continue his research in public health disparities along social and economic lines.

Howard, who is completing his Ph.D. in applied demography, is studying health disparities and the related socioeconomic consequences for Texas. His research is focused on the effects of continual stress on morbidity rates and the implications of observed differences for potential health interventions.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Texas consistently ranks as the worst state in the nation for health care. Howard's research may provide key clues to help address some of the major issues relating to health and economic consequences in Texas. The financial award will allow Howard to expand his research into what he describes as "new areas of understanding" for these issues.

Rogelio Saenz, dean of the UTSA College of Public Policy, nominated Howard for the award because of his extensive research record and "potential to have a significant impact" in public health and applied demography.

"We are very proud that Jeff was awarded this prestigious fellowship," said Saenz. "In a very short period, Jeff has established an enviable publication record. He is a rising star whose research will certainly make a significant contribution to the fields of demography and public health."

Howard said he has always been interested in studying human behavior through statistics. For 16 years, he worked in the business sector as a statistician. He applied to the doctoral program because he wanted to use his skills to serve the public in a positive way. As a researcher, he has spent countless hours using statistics to analyze human behaviors in various environments and socioeconomic settings.

"When I decided to pursue my Ph.D., I knew that I wanted to study human health issues from a statistical and public health perspective," said Howard. "Applied demography, my field of choice, touches on all these disciplines. So, for me, it was the perfect lens through which to examine a combination of human population and behavior, public health and statistics."

Howard has published three articles in peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Pain, and Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, and four peer-reviewed book chapters. He currently has six additional articles under review with Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Social Science Research and the Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research. He has been invited to present at national and international conferences including the American Pain Society annual meeting, the Population Association of America annual meeting and the Applied Demography conference.

The Jess Hay Chancellor's Fellowship is a student research award established by former University of Texas System Chairman of the Board and Regent Jess Hay. Hay served on the UT System Board of Regents from 1977 to 1989. His tenure as chairman was from 1985 to 1987. Each year, two students from UT System institutions are chosen as fellows.

Howard plans to graduate in May 2014. His Ph.D. adviser is Johnelle Sparks.

>> Learn more about the UTSA Department of Demography Ph.D. in Applied Demography program.