Irwin Garfinkel Recognized for Work on Behalf of New York City’s Most Vulnerable Residents

June 24, 2015 @ 11:43 pm


Mitchell I. Ginsberg Professor of Contemporary Urban Problems Irwin Garfinkel will be honored tonight, Wednesday June 24th, by the New York Chapter of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (NYAAPOR) for two research studies he has led at our School “that have made significant contributions to poverty and well-being public policy in New York City.”

Before an audience of its members, all of whom are actively engaged in public opinion and marketing research, NYAAPOR will present Professor Garfinkel with its annual Outstanding Achievement Award, which since 2007 has commemorated Harry O’Neill, a clinical psychologist who had a long and distinguished career in survey research and played a leading role in the development of the NYAAPOR.

Professor Garfinkel is co-founder of the Columbia Population Research Center (CPRC), which is one of the 37 centers set up by the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)—and the only one to be housed within a school of social work. CPRC focuses primarily on promoting the health and well-being of vulnerable populations, and its signature area is children, youth and families.

Because of its location, CPRC sometimes addresses issues specific to New York City. Professor Garfinkel is being recognized for two important CPRC studies that have generated important data sets on city residents:

  1. The Fragile Family and Child Well-Being Study: With Dr. Garfinkel and Dr. Sara McLanahan of Princeton University serving as co-PIs, this study follows a cohort of nearly 5,000 children born in large U.S. cities to unmarried parents (defined as “fragile families”) between 1998 and 2000. Designed to address questions of interest to researchers and policymakers, the initial study consisted of interviews and at-home assessments. It has since been funded by NICHD for nine- and 15-year follow-ups (work for the latter began in February 2014).
  2. The New York City Longitudinal Survey of Well-Being Study: With funding from the Robin Hood Foundation, this study has been surveying 2,300 NYC households, with an over-sample of low-income households that are either situated in high poverty neighborhoods or are clients of social service agencies or were affected by Hurricane Sandy. The study, which the Robin Hood Foundation refers to as Poverty Tracker, measures income poverty, severe material hardship, and severe health challenges to capture the dynamics of poverty and stress in New York City. It is one of the most richly detailed studies of poverty ever undertaken in the United States.

The Columbia School of Social Work community extends its congratulations to Professor Garfinkel and his CPRC colleagues on the NYAAPOR award. At the same time, we thank the NYAAPOR for paying tribute to these researchers for their unflagging work on behalf of our city’s most vulnerable residents.

Congrats to Irv Garfinkel