Margolis/Bass Connections Open Theme

Margolis/Bass Connections Open Theme

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Learn more about Bass Connections and submit an application to join a project team!

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Bass Connections Open supports interdisciplinary, team-based research projects and courses that fall outside the scope of the existing themes. This experimental channel is designed to identify percolating areas of interest not addressed by the current themes.


Project Descriptions

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. 

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.


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Program Team

Buz Waitzkin

Michael (Buz) Waitzkin, JD

Bass Connections COVID-19 Theme Faculty Lead
Margolis Core Faculty
Deputy Director of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society

Sarah Dunn Phillips

Sarah Dunn Phillips, MA

Assistant Director of Education, Margolis Center
Bass Connections COVID-19 Theme Administrator
2020 Intern Mentor
Anti-Racism and Equity Committee Member