1. On what does your research focus?
I look at a lot of areas that are inter-related—employment, health, education, poverty. My work has been largely international and focused on developing countries.
2. What are you currently working on?
Perhaps the most exciting work I've done recently is an NIH-funded study of health risk behaviors among Palestinian youth in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. For this project RAND partnered with several leading health researchers associated with the Juzoor Foundation in Ramallah, Palestine. At RAND, the initial team included Ryan Brown, Rita Karam, and Sebastian Linnemayr and has added several other researchers since its inception.
3. Why is this issue so important?
Young peoples' vulnerability to engaging in risky activities—tobacco use, alcohol and drug use, sexual behavior, engagement in violence—is of concern globally. But Palestinian youth face heightened pressures due to the ongoing conflict, economic deprivation, and a situation where they reasonably would feel little hope for the future. All this may increase their vulnerability to risk behaviors.
When we first started thinking about this issue, there was very little reliable information on risk behaviors among youth in Palestine or elsewhere in the Arab world. But it's important for policymakers to have this information in order to develop appropriate prevention (or treatment) programs for youth.
4. What have you discovered so far?
Basic descriptive findings about the prevalence of risk behaviors can be found in our working paper. We are currently engaged in further analysis to understand the causes or correlates of risk behaviors, including exposure to violence, mental health, and risk perceptions.