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$1.4 Million MacArthur Foundation Grant to Promote Public Systems Reform
September 15, 2009, Volume 56, No. 03



Two University of Pennsylvania professors received a three-year, $1.4 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation to advance integrated data systems-based policy analysis and research as a field of professional practice.

Penn professors Dennis Culhane, from the School of Social Policy & Practice, and John Fantuzzo, from the Graduate School of Education (together with Trevor Hadley from the School of Medicine), are co-founders of the Kids Integrated Data System (KIDS) in Philadelphia and are recognized as leaders in the integration of administrative data for research.

Dr. Culhane’s work has contributed to a national shift in how cities address chronic homelessness and family homelessness and resulted in federal legislation requiring all cities and states to develop administrative data systems for tracking homeless services in order to receive HUD funding.

Dr. Fantuzzo has conducted major, population-based longitudinal studies using KIDS to support early childhood efforts in Philadelphia. These studies have generated local and national recognition for KIDS and produced key policy changes in the School District and City public service agencies to enhance child well being.

Integrated administrative data systems have emerged in several states and cities as a powerful new tool for measuring how public agencies are serving their diverse client populations, and, in particular, how multiple agencies may be working with the same clients, either collaboratively, redundantly, or at cross-purposes. The management functions of these databases make them ideal for measuring the benefits and costs associated with various programs and subpopulations, and for supporting policy analysis and research into effective multiagency collaborations.

The MacArthur grant allows Drs. Culhane and Fantuzzo to establish a professional network and standards of practice for sites with an existing integrated data system, including South Carolina, Michigan, Washington, Los Angeles County, Allegheny (PA) County, the University of South Florida, Case Western and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. It also allows the researchers to focus on sites with strong commitments to developing an integrated data system, including the City of New York, Miami/Dade County, FL, Connecticut and Massachusetts.


Almanac - September 15, 2009, Volume 56, No. 03