Diversity in the Military, Telemedicine Abortion, China and Taiwan: RAND Weekly Recap

blog

August 26, 2022

This week, we discuss the advantages that a diverse workforce could have on the UK and U.S. armed forces; why the opioid antidote naloxone may be out of reach for many uninsured Americans; the challenges of using telemedicine to provide abortion care; whether Indo-Pacific countries are backing Taiwan or China; how to encourage students to report threats of violence in schools; and addressing inequities in COVID-19 vaccination.

Sailors assigned to the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard wait to parade the colors at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. during a Concert on the Avenue, June 11, 2019, photo by MC Paul L. Archer/U.S. Navy

Photo by MC Paul L. Archer/U.S. Navy

Diversity Enhances Military Effectiveness

What operational and strategic advantages can a diverse workforce create for the UK and U.S. armed forces? That's the question at the center of a new report published by RAND Europe.

The authors—RAND researchers based in both the United Kingdom and the United States—find that embracing diversity in the military offers a wide range of benefits. These include unique and improved information skills that result from neurodiversity; expanded language capabilities; and supporting the development of effective, ethical, and trustworthy artificial intelligence systems.

Realizing these benefits, however, may require changing existing military structures. The researchers provide recommendations that focus on a few key areas: enhancing diversity through recruitment, effectively managing and rewarding a diverse workforce, and continuously strengthening the capacity to retain and promote diversity within the ranks.

A package of Narcan nasal spray in Boonville, Indiana, January 20, 2022, Photo by Denny Simmons/Courier & Press

A package of Narcan nasal spray, Boonville, Indiana, January 20, 2022

Photo by Denny Simmons/Courier & Press

Uninsured? Naloxone May Be Out of Reach

Naloxone can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose if administered promptly. New laws have made it easier to prescribe and obtain this lifesaving drug, but a new RAND study finds that the cost of naloxone is out of reach for many uninsured Americans. In 2014, the average out-of-pocket cost for a naloxone prescription was $35 for the uninsured. By 2018, it was $250. To address this, policymakers could consider subsidizing naloxone purchases or issuing coupons.

A woman talking to a doctor online, photo by SDI Productions/Getty Images

Photo by SDI Productions/Getty Images

The Challenges of Telemedicine Abortion

In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, providers and health advocates are looking for ways to provide legal abortions. Expanding virtual medical appointments is one popular idea. But there are challenges to using telemedicine, including privacy concerns and barriers to access—especially among women who are young, are poor, or live in rural areas. RAND experts have outlined steps that policymakers and clinics could take to address these issues.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi attends a meeting with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the presidential office in Taipei, August 3, 2022, photo courtesy of Taiwan Presidential Office/Handout via Reuters

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi meets with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the presidential office in Taipei, August 3, 2022

Photo courtesy of Taiwan Presidential Office/Handout via Reuters

China or Taiwan: Choosing Sides in the Indo-Pacific

Following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan earlier this month, most Indo-Pacific nations predictably upheld Beijing's “One China” principle. But according to RAND's Derek Grossman, Pelosi's trip also made clear that several countries in the region—Australia, Japan and, to a lesser extent, India—support Taiwan's cause. These nations can hardly be ignored, Grossman says, and China might want to consider tweaking its strategy accordingly.

A teacher talks with students outside of the school building, photo by nimito/Adobe Stock

Photo by nimito/Adobe Stock

What Might Encourage Students to Report Threats in Schools?

Violence in schools is a serious concern for parents, educators, and students. Despite this, little is known about how to ensure that individuals—especially students—report threats of violent incidents such as shootings and self-harm, or other worrying behavior such as drug use. A new report by the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center operated by RAND examines this issue. One key finding: Strong relationships between students and school staff are essential to building robust threat reporting cultures.

People standing outside a COVID-19 pop-up vaccination site in Newark, New Jersey, photo by U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

People gather around a COVID-19 pop-up vaccination site in Newark, New Jersey

Photo by U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development/Flickr

Putting Equity First in COVID-19 Vaccination

COVID-19 vaccination rates were significantly lower in communities of color than in white communities. This contributed to stark inequities in the effects of the virus. The U.S. Equity-First Vaccination Initiative aimed to close this gap, focusing on community-led efforts to help people overcome barriers to getting vaccinated. New RAND research examines what this initiative accomplished and identifies lessons that could help make the nation's public health system more equitable.

Get Weekly Updates from RAND

If you enjoyed this weekly recap, consider subscribing to Policy Currents, our newsletter and podcast.