Bass Connections & Duke-Margolis Open Theme

Bass Connections & Duke-Margolis Open Theme

The Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy has applied and been accepted for a multitude of Bass Connections projects through the University. These projects assist to bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world, giving students a chance to roll up their sleeves and tackle complex societal problems alongside faculty and staff on interdisciplinary teams. Together they work on interdisciplinary teams of graduate and undergraduate students collaborating with the faculty and staff on cutting-edge research that spans subjects, demographic groups, and borders. Duke-Margolis is fortunate to have this opportunity for students and associated faculty.


Current Projects for 2021-2022

Bridging the Health Equity Gap for COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake in Durham

In collaboration with community partners and institutions, this project team aims to make equitable vaccine uptake in Durham County a reality by increasing health equity and equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccination resources, including vaccine information and distribution, and improving the responsiveness of the local health system at the community level for the Latinx and Black communities of Durham County. This year’s team will build on experiences from the 2020-2021 team, which focused on equitable COVID-19 testing through community-based mobile testing with community partners. 

Centering Pregnancy: Establishing an Inpatient Model at Duke

This project will adapt the CenteringPregnancy group model, traditionally used as an outpatient service, to an inpatient antepartum service by expanding a pilot study performed in 2019-2020. The team will develop and implement a sustainable inpatient antepartum intervention through Centering groups that can benefit both pregnant women and their babies by increasing length of pregnancy and breastfeeding rates. The intervention will also foster community in a way that supports emotional and mental well-being.

Developing Predictive Models for COVID-19 with Wearables Data

This project’s three goals are to develop digital biomarkers associated with COVID-19, provide visualizations of these biomarkers for both participants and researchers, and recruit members of underrepresented groups through community outreach. 

Digital Health Communities: A Hidden Resource for Shared Healing

Building on the work of last year’s project team, this team will research digital health communities across a variety of social media platforms to better understand their impacts on patient health. Using primary source materials as well as interviews with DHC community leaders and members, team members will identify examples of how community members and their loved ones are benefiting from and being harmed by the health information they’re able to find on social media.

Elections in a Pandemic: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

This project seeks to understand what happened in the 2020 election and to use that information to make recommendations in terms of ensuring representation of all Americans in the political system moving forward.

Intersections of Race, Justice and Disability in North Carolina

Building on the work of the 2020-2021 team, which explored the disproportional impact of COVID-19 on people with disabilities, this year’s project team will investigate the intersections of disability, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and human rights among people with disabilities across North Carolina. 

Promoting Psychological Adjustment and Pelvic Health Among Female Cancer Survivors

This project team will conduct two intervention development studies grounded in the biopsychosocial model. 

REGAIN: Roadmap for Evaluating Goals in Advanced Illness Navigation

REGAIN is a collaboration between Duke Health (including the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing) and Duke University. The aim is to develop and implement a roadmap for goals of care conversations for Duke Health patients with serious illnesses. Led by the Duke Center for Palliative Care, and supported by the health system and academic partners, REGAIN will be Duke Health’s strategy for ensuring that all patients have access to open accurate and empathetic communication about their goals for care. 

North Carolina Early Childhood Action Plan: Evidence-based Policy Solutions (2021-2022) 

This project aims to combine scientific and practical knowledge to inform North Carolina’s Early Childhood Councils on how the state can achieve and track its policy goals. The 2019-2020 team focused on researching one of the goals of the Early Childhood Action Plan that seeks to improve children’s social-emotional health and resilience. The 2020-2021 team’s research will focus either on the goal of “Food Security,” which aims to decrease the percentage of children living in food insecure-homes, or the goal of “Healthy Babies,” which seeks to lower the infant mortality disparity ratio.

Understanding Variations in Hospital Costs in Support of Value-Based Care Decisions

In partnership with Yale University, this project team will collect, collate and analyze newly available healthcare pricing data in order to characterize the variation in commercial and/or government-sponsored payments for common general surgical procedures and its association with common, publicly reported quality metrics; investigate the link between hospital and insurer market concentration and price variation; and examine the association between price variation and area-level measures of population health by geopolitical boundaries.


Past Projects

Empowering Prevention of Cervical Cancer: Women-inspired Strategies for Health (WISH) (2020-2021)

Evaluating Strategies to Reduce the Global Burden of Hearing Loss (2020-2021)

Help Desk: Scaling Volunteer Models that Address Patients' Social Needs (2020-2021)

Increasing Access to Laparoscopic Surgery in Low-income Countries (2020-2021)

North Carolina Early Childhood Action Plan: Evidence-based Policy Solutions (2020-2021) 

Developing Data Tools for Natural Disasters: Implementing Best Practices for Electricity-dependent Medicaid Enrollees (2019-2020)

Help Desk: A Student Initiative to Help Address the Social Determinants of Health (2019-2020)

NC Early Childhood Action Plan: Achieving Goals with Innovative, Evidence-based Policy Solutions (2019-2020)

REGAIN: Roadmap for Evaluating Goals in Advanced Illness Navigation (2019-2020)

Transforming Alzheimer's Disease Care through Integrating Caregivers (2018-2019)

NC Medicaid Reform Advisory Team (2016-2017)


Learn More


Margolis core faculty, Dr. Janet Bettger with Margolis Scholar alumna Meril Pothen and former SCOHP President Sahil Sandhu presenting on their Bass Connections project Help Desk: A Student Initiative to Help Address the Social Determinants of Health

Program Team

Janet Prvu Bettger

Janet Prvu Bettger, ScD, FAHA

Director of Undergraduate Education and Research Initiatives, Margolis Center
Margolis Core Faculty
Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
2020 Intern Mentor
Anti-Racism and Equity Committee Member

Tiffany Chen Photo

Tiffany Chan, MS

Program Coordinator