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KidsData

KidsData promotes the health and well being of children in California by providing an easy-to-use resource that offers high quality, wide ranging, local data to those who work on behalf of children.

Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health

The Challenge

Advocates and community members need evidence-based resources to support their efforts to advance children’s well-being in California.

The KidsData project makes data on the health and well-being of California’s children accessible to policymakers, service providers, grant seekers, media, parents, and others who influence children’s lives. The project provides context that distills key research and works with the user community to empower advocates and community members by providing them with resources they can use.

Our Approach

We collect current and historical data for nearly 60 topics of child well-being from more than 35 sources. Topic strengths include adverse childhood experiences; child poverty; and physical, emotional, and behavioral health. We also extensively cover child safety, childcare, education, demographic projections, homelessness, safety net programs, and more. We draw on data sources that include the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, California state agencies’ data files, and health surveys such as the National Survey of Children’s Health, California Healthy Kids Survey, and California Health Interview Survey. Data are provided for California’s counties, cities, school districts, and state legislative districts.

We have also developed innovative estimation methods to improve access to data on child health topics for some demographic subgroups and in small geographic regions. The KidsData program raises awareness about important data findings and demographic and geographic disparities in child health and well-being through newsletters, social media, and presentations. Through a network of collaborations with other organizations, we provide substantive and technical expertise to support beneficial outcomes in shared interest areas of children’s well-being. Data are available at www.KidsData.org.

KidsData.org is a source that I use on a regular basis for factual, non-partisan data.

– Debbie Look, California Assembly member

Impacts & Outcomes

PRB, the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health (LPFCH), and The Children’s Partnership partnered on an analysis of the implications for child health of changes to the Public Charge Rule. Through this analysis we found that nearly 180,000 noncitizen children in California would be at direct risk of losing their health insurance coverage—mostly Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)—under the revised rule. An additional 1.6 million citizen children of noncitizen parents in California could also be at risk. Learn more.

PRB analyzed trends in public health insurance (such as Medicaid and CHIP) among children in California. Through this analysis, we discovered that in 2015 and 2016, seven in 10 children in California participated in Medicaid or CHIP, either temporarily or year-round. Using these data, LPFCH wrote an advisory that sparked discussion of children’s health insurance among state legislators. Learn more.

KidsData.org “humanizes the numbers,” making it easier to digest the information and to utilize it in infographics, grant applications, and research briefs.

Mayra Alvarez, President of The Children’s Partnership

KidsData helps us see ways we can improve health and academic success for California's kids.

Lisa Eisenberg, M.P.P./M.S.W., senior policy analyst at the California School-Based Health Alliance

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U.S. Policy Communications Training

Translating scientific research findings for non-scientific audiences, the U.S. Policy Communications Training Program builds on PRB’s 40-year legacy of training researchers to bridge the gap between research findings and the policy development process.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

The Opportunity

While research often has profound practical implications, it must be communicated effectively to a variety of non-technical audiences to influence policy and programmatic change.

Current U.S. predoctoral graduate education is not designed to train researchers in how to communicate research results to nonacademic audiences. PRB addresses this gap with its U.S. Policy Communications Training Program.

The program prepares current Ph.D. students from U.S. academic institutions to influence policy and practice through effective communication. Participants learn to present findings on population and health topics in ways that are understandable and accessible to policy audiences, including decisionmakers, advocates, and the media. They will understand how research informs the policy environment, learn ways to communicate findings to U.S. and international policy audiences, and improve their ability to communicate in written and verbal formats.

The program’s main goal is to expand the cadre of U.S. population research professionals committed to policy communication. Its objectives are to: (1) address barriers that researchers face in communicating population-related research results to policy audiences; (2) engage a diverse group of predoctoral students (future population professionals) in policy communication over their careers; and (3) teach population scientists about the process by which research informs the policy environment, how to identify and communicate the policy implications of their research, and various tools/skills for communicating findings to U.S. policy audiences.

Our Approach

The U.S. Policy Communications Training Program consists of two components.

  1. Workshop: A week-long summer workshop in Washington, D.C., focuses on the role of research in the U.S. policymaking process and on techniques for effective communication of research findings to U.S. decisionmakers, media, and non-technical audiences. Participants hear firsthand from congressional researchers, lobbyists, and others about their experiences using research to effect change. They also practice distilling policy-relevant messages from their research and communicating this information in nontechnical language.
  2. Practicum: During the academic year following the workshop, participants receive mentorship and apply lessons learned to create two policy communication products, such as a policy brief, blog post, web article, or op-ed, based on their dissertations or related research topics.

The Impact

PRB has trained nearly 100 Ph.D. students enrolled in reputable U.S. academic institutions and conducting research on population and health topics to communicate with U.S. policy audiences, including government decisionmakers, advocates, and the media, since 2015.

Make an Application

The 2020 training program awards were announced in April 2020. The announcement for the 2021 training program was made on the PRB website in January 2021.

Applicants submitted the following to PRB:

  • A completed application form.
  • An up-to-date resume with a full list of educational and other professional activities.
  • Two letters of reference sent directly from the person writing the reference.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are still enrolled in your Ph.D. program, you are still eligible to apply to the Policy Fellows program. During the selection process, we tend to give preference to those students who will remain enrolled in their academic programs through at least the following spring/summer. Please be sure to note your anticipated graduation date as requested on the application form.

 

We are limited to accepting participants whose research focus is related to demography, reproductive health, or population health.

  • Demographic topics include population dynamics, distribution, growth, and decline; migration; fertility, nuptiality, and family demography; mortality and morbidity; or the causes and consequences of demographic change.
  • Reproductive health studies of interest are limited to behavioral and social science research.
  • Population health areas include human health, productivity, and development at the population level. The populations of concern may be U.S. or non-U.S. populations.

 

PRB’s funding for this program is made possible by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—National Institutes of Health (NIH), Eunice Kennedy Shriver Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). As such, we are only able to support students who are U.S. citizens or Green Card holders (permanent residents). PRB does offer a separate Policy Communications Training for international students under our PACE Project, funded through the USAID Office of Population and Reproductive Health. This training supports students who are from USAID family-planning priority countries.

Unfortunately, at this time only students who are enrolled in Ph.D., Dr.PH., or other doctoral programs are eligible for this fellowship.

The Policy Fellows program is designed for students who are currently pursuing a Ph.D. or other doctoral level degree. If you are not currently enrolled as a student in a Ph.D. or doctoral program, you are not eligible to participate.

PRB will arrange and pay for participant to travel to the workshop, which includes flights, hotel accommodations, and a travel stipend for additional expenses. During the workshop, participants will stay at a comfortable hotel very near PRB’s office in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

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Health Policy Plus (HP+)

PRB is a partner on the Palladium-led, USAID-funded Health Policy Plus (HP+) project that strengthens and advances health policy priorities at global, national, and subnational levels.

USAID, Palladium

The Work

HP+ focuses on strengthening and advancing health policy priorities in family planning and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, and maternal and newborn health at global, national, and subnational levels, expanding the efforts of prior U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) investments from the Health Policy Project (HPP).

HP+ works in more than 17 countries and aims to improve the enabling environment for equitable and sustainable health services, supplies, and delivery systems through policy development and implementation, with an emphasis on voluntary health programs, and by strengthening in-country partners’ capacity to navigate complex environments for effective policy design, implementation, and financing. Taken together, evidence-based inclusive policies, more sustainable health financing, improved governance, and stronger global leadership and advocacy will lead to improved health outcomes worldwide.

HP+ is funded by USAID and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). It is implemented by a multidimensional, complementary team led by Palladium.

Our Approach

PRB brings our core strengths in communicating technical health information to the project. Specifically, we work to:

  • Train decisionmakers, advocates, and researchers on how to better understand, communicate, and use health data in decisionmaking.
  • Create easy-to-understand, compelling communication materials for national and subnational decisionmakers and implementers to ensure awareness of and prompt action on national policies addressing sexual and reproductive health (SRH). Materials have included videos, social media clips, factsheets, media toolkits, ENGAGE multimedia presentations, and reports.
  • Train and mentor journalists with an aim to increase and improve news coverage on the links between family planning and development, and hold governments accountable for their commitments to family planning.
  • Work with youth advocates and youth journalists to strengthen their capacity to participate in the decisionmaking processes as champions, raise community awareness about youth-related SRH policies, and hold governments and providers accountable for providing high-quality, youth-friendly SRH services.

 

Explore HP+

Impact

Building the Capacity of Young Leaders in Malawi

After training from HP+, youth reporters and radio listening club members produced weekly radio programs about youth reproductive health topics in several districts across Malawi. In one example, in 2020 a program on Nkhotakota Radio urged pregnant teenagers to get an HIV test to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to their babies. Within two weeks of the program airing, an additional 40 pregnant teenagers had visited the District Health Office for HIV tests. Since receiving their training, some youth participants have led youth organizations that lobby local and regional leaders on issues important to youth, including health and education.

Policy and Advocacy Training for Young People in Malawi

In 2018, HP+ conducted policy and advocacy training in Malawi to amplify the voices of young adults working on issues related to youth-friendly health services. A short video presents the voices of three youth champions (also featured in the HP+ 2019 World Population Day blog) who attended the training and are continuing to work in various ways to inspire and educate youth in their communities.

Effectively Communicating Health Data on Women in Mali

Although Mali has ratified most major international and regional human rights treaties, and its constitution defends women’s rights, the country has yet to formally pass a law criminalizing gender-based violence (GBV). HP+ worked with Mali’s Ministry for the Promotion of Women, Children, and Families and its National Control Program Against Excision to develop advocacy tools, including infographics, for key decisionmakers and the media to spur political will to pass the GBV law. The advocacy materials (in French) include key data and information on GBV, child marriage, and female genital cutting in Mali. They also provide actions that policymakers and the media can take to advocate for a stronger legal and regulatory environment to support voluntary, equitable, rights-based programs.

Understanding and Communicating Young People’s Needs for Malawi’s Decisionmakers

In Malawi, strategic and multisectoral investments in youth are critical pieces of national growth and development. Growing Together: Multisectoral Investments in Malawi’s Youth is an ENGAGE™ multimedia presentation that describes the necessary investments in young people’s health, education, employment opportunities, and participation in governance that can create a window of opportunity for accelerated economic development. The presentation’s goal is to build awareness of the overlapping needs and priorities of multiple sectors and increase support for cross-sectoral investments in Malawi’s young people. To achieve this goal, the presentation is designed to boost individuals’ understanding of the links between and among young peoples’ health, education, employment, and meaningful participation in governance, and how investments in each of these sectors can contribute to Malawi’s growth and development. The ENGAGE is available in English and Chichewa.

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Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy to Expand Access to Safe Abortion (SAFE ENGAGE)

The SAFE ENGAGE project supports safe abortion access by providing decisionmakers with the latest data on abortion, strengthening the capacity of advocates to achieve policy goals, and working with journalists to improve evidence-based reporting.

The Challenge

Thousands of women in sub-Saharan Africa die each year from pregnancy-related causes. Unsafe abortions account for one in seven maternal deaths in Africa, and more than 1.5 million women are treated each year for complications from unsafe abortion. Young African women are especially affected: More than half of unsafe abortions in the region are among women under age 25. Reducing deaths from unsafe abortion requires a policy environment that supports women to equitably access comprehensive prevention and treatment services—contraception, safe abortion, and postabortion care.

Our Approach

The three-year SAFE ENGAGE project is implemented in countries across sub-Saharan Africa, including Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lagos state in Nigeria, and Zimbabwe. SAFE ENGAGE also contains a rapid response mechanism through which other national and regional partners can request creative, data-driven communications materials to support specific advocacy objectives.

 

SAFE ENGAGE

  • Advances policy dialogue for safe abortion by creating compelling evidence-based multimedia presentations and other materials for policymakers, advocates, and journalists.
  • Builds country-level individual and institutional capacity to use evidence for policy advocacy to promote safe abortion and reduce unsafe abortion.
  • Works with journalists to increase the quality and quantity of evidence-based news coverage on safe abortion through in-country media training and journalists’ engagement.

Impact

SAFE ENGAGE established four country-level task forces that brought together demographers, economists, medical professionals, women’s health and rights proponents, policymakers from government ministries, and parliamentarians for discussions about abortion. These task forces created spaces for collaboration and information sharing that broadened dialogue to include new perspectives, created consensus around objectives and messages, and renewed a focus on evidence. Each task force produced and disseminated ENGAGE multimedia presentation packages. This process strengthened the capacity of task force members to use data and messaging effectively in their own presentations and materials, strengthened collaboration and consensus among safe abortion champions, and generated important policy conversations that are continuing today.

SAFE ENGAGE also supported an intensive media training effort to equip a cadre of journalists in each country to accurately report on the policies and laws surrounding abortion and the determinants, incidence, and consequences of unsafe abortion. Each country setting required its own context-specific focus, and this tailored approach has reaped the reward of high-quality reporting across diverse news outlets.

During the second phase of the project, SAFE ENGAGE built on the work of the task forces by conducting policy communication training and regional learning exchanges to strengthen Task Force members’ ability to communicate with policy audiences and foster collaboration across neighboring countries. The regional learning exchanges also allowed participants to learn from each other’s successes and brainstorm approaches to overcoming shared challenges. SAFE ENGAGE also produced a guide to policy dialogue for safe abortion, which synthesized learning from the first phase of the project.

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Passages

PRB supports implementation science partners with knowledge translation and strategic communication to transform social norms for adolescent and youth reproductive health.

USAID, Institute for Reproductive Health-Georgetown University

The Challenge

Young people’s ability to forge healthy relationships is influenced by social norms—the informal rules that govern behavior in groups and societies—that are enforced by peers, families, and communities. Social norms shape behaviors related to sexual debut, intimate partner and sexual violence, and early marriage, as well as access to education and the services and information young people need to protect their health. Research has shown that investing in efforts to create normative change at the community (rather than individual) level, while ensuring supportive policies and access to good quality services, can bring about significant improvements in sexual and reproductive health.

PRB partners with the Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH), Georgetown University to support knowledge translation and strategic communication for the Passages Project, a USAID-funded implementation research project. Passages aims to address a broad range of social norms to achieve sustained improvements in family planning, reproductive health, and gender-based violence. PRB’s partnership expands Passages’ global leadership and dissemination efforts that focus on information synthesis, knowledge sharing, and capacity building.

Our Approach

In the first phase of the project, PRB developed a strategic communications strategy to ensure the project’s legacy is well communicated to key stakeholders. Working with IRH and existing Passages consortium partners, PRB is developing a range of legacy products that are evidence-based, practical, and accessible to a targeted range of stakeholders:

  • In consultation with IRH, design, develop, review, and create a suite of visually compelling and technically engaging communications products drawing from Passages’ existing and emerging work, including but not limited to written, digital, and video products.
  • Design and implement in-person and digital knowledge-sharing/dissemination efforts.
  • Capture information on the impact of the Passages communications strategy to convey the project’s success and inform IRH’s future work.

 

Explore Passages Project resources

 

Follow the project on Twitter

 

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Center for Public Information on Population Research (CPIPR)

Improving the translation and distribution of major findings from population dynamics research and communication and cooperation across the NICHD Population Dynamics Research Centers.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

The Challenge

With more data and information about population and health trends available than ever before, it’s challenging for policymakers, program directors, and other non-technical audiences to find and understand the research and data they need to inform policy and program decisions. At the same time, many population researchers lack the translational expertise needed to effectively bridge the gap between academic research and policy and program implementation.

The Center for Public Information on Population Research (CPIPR) at PRB was developed to help bridge this gap. Funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), it serves as the Coordinating Center for the NICHD Population Dynamics Centers Research Infrastructure Program. Through CPIPR, PRB translates and disseminates major peer-reviewed findings to nontechnical audiences via a specialized website, online and print media, and social media including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Our Approach

The popresearchcenters.org website explains and publicizes the findings of research from the 20+ Population Dynamics Research Centers and provides a centralized source of information about new research and events at the Centers.

Key Center activities include:

  • Facilitation of coordination and cooperation across the NICHD-funded Population Dynamics Research Centers to enhance the productivity and scientific impact of the Centers and of population dynamics research overall.
  • Translation and dissemination of major peer-reviewed findings, methods, and perspectives from population dynamics research to other scientists and to nontechnical audiences including policymakers, program directors, practitioners, educators, journalists, and students.
  • Development and maintenance of a Population Dynamics Research Centers website that includes nontechnical summaries of recent research from the Centers.
  • Promotion of Population Dynamics Centers research through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.
  • Organization of workshops at professional meetings and provision of training materials that empower Population Dynamics Center researchers to effectively communicate their own research results to policy, media, and nontechnical audiences.
  • Collaboration with Population Dynamics Research Centers and other organizations to organize and host symposia, congressional briefings, and other events to raise the visibility of population dynamics research and link major findings to important policies and programs.

Outcomes

PRB helps Population Dynamics Center researchers publicize their findings. For example, PRB’s article, “Married Women With Children and a Male Partner Do More Housework Than Single Moms,” is based on Center research. Using Mother’s Day as a hook, we developed a press release (issued via PR Newswire), an op-ed placed with the Washington Post, and a social media campaign (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) including a short video and a series of posts. Our media relations team pitched the story to 300 media outlets, including major daily newspapers, national broadcast and print outlets, and key blogs and other online outlets. Our outreach results included 197 million media impressions through print, TV, radio, and online outlets. CPIPR also provided a one-hour media training for the four researchers to help them prepare for anticipated media interviews.

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KIDS COUNT Technical Assistance and Training

In partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, PRB provides training to the KIDS COUNT Network and helps child advocates stay informed about relevant data and how to best communicate it.

Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Challenge

More data and ways of communicating information are available than ever before. KIDS COUNT Network members do not always have the resources available to stay informed about existing and new datasets or about best practices regarding data analysis and data communication.

PRB supports the work of the KIDS COUNT Network by providing high-quality training and technical assistance to state-level child advocates. Our work helps build Network members’ analytic capabilities, which they can apply to work on children’s issues more effectively in their states.

Our Approach

For more than 15 years, PRB has provided the KIDS COUNT Network with data workshops, webinars, videos, and how-to guides to help members stay informed about existing and new datasets, learn important information and caveats regarding data, share best practices for using data and communicating information clearly, and learn from one another.

Our work helps build Network members’ analytic capabilities, which they can apply to work on children’s issues in their states.

Impact

PRB’s technical assistance and training have helped to build Network members’ abilities to fully utilize datasets, analytic techniques, and communication practices to support their work on children’s issues. Network members have been able to respond to changing data and analytic needs by expanding their use of data disaggregated by race and ethnicity or by smaller geographic levels, increasing the use of data visualization and improving their data management strategies.

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Indicators of Well-Being for California's Children

PRB works with the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health to support the Kidsdata project, which promotes the health and well-being of children in California by making information about their well-being easily accessible.

Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health

The Challenge

Advocates and community members need evidence-based resources to support their efforts to advance children’s well-being in California.

The Kidsdata project makes data on the health and well-being of California’s children accessible to policymakers, service providers, grant seekers, media, parents, and others who influence children’s lives. The project provides context that distills key research and works with the user community to empower advocates and community members by providing them with resources they can use.

Our Approach

We collect current and historical data for more than 300 indicators of child well-being, from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, California state agencies, health surveys (such as the California Health Interview Survey and National Survey of Children’s Health), and other sources. PRB has also developed innovative estimation methods to improve data coverage on child health topics. Data are provided for California’s counties, school districts, state legislative districts, and cities. In addition to data and analytical support, PRB partners with the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health (LPFCH) on webinars, blog posts, technical assistance to journalists, and analytical support for oversampling work to improve the quality of data about child health in California.

View Data at Kidsdata.org

Impact

PRB, LPFCH, and The Children’s Partnership partnered on an analysis of the implications for child health of changes to the Public Charge Rule. Through this analysis we found that nearly 180,000 noncitizen children in California would be at direct risk of losing their health insurance coverage—mostly Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)—under the revised rule. An additional 1.6 million citizen children of noncitizen parents in California could also be at risk. Learn more.

LPFCH worked with PRB to analyze trends in public health insurance (such as Medicaid and CHIP) among children in California. Through this analysis, we discovered that in 2015 and 2016, seven in 10 children in California participated in Medicaid or CHIP, either temporarily or year-round. LPFCH wrote an advisory about the data, which sparked discussion of children’s health insurance among state legislators. Learn more.

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Appalachia: Demographic and Socioeconomic Trends

With funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission, PRB prepares a series of chartbooks and research reports that analyze demographic and socioeconomic patterns vital to the well-being of the Appalachian Region and its people.

Appalachian Regional Commission

The Opportunity

Close to 26 million Americans live in the Appalachian Region—a 205,000 square-mile area that covers portions of 12 states and all of West Virginia. The region has experienced persistent economic disparities in comparison to the rest of the nation.

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) was established in 1965 as a unique federal-state partnership to strengthen Appalachia’s economy and help the 13-state region achieve economic parity with the rest of the nation. PRB analyzes data from decennial censuses, the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates program, and the American Community Survey to track trends in economic and social well-being in the region.

Our Work

PRB has developed a series of reports and chartbooks with detailed tables and maps  showing short- and long-term trends in demographics, housing, education, employment, income, poverty, and other topics vital to the current and future well-being of the Appalachian Region and its people.

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Breakthrough RESEARCH

Breakthrough RESEARCH accelerates social and behavior change (SBC) by conducting state-of-the-art research and evaluation and promoting evidence-based solutions to improve health and development programs around the world.

USAID, Population Council

The Challenge

SBC is an evidence-based, theory-driven process that uses communication to identify and address behavioral determinants, and positively influence individual and collective behaviors to improve health outcomes. Despite evidence that SBC approaches can be effective in improving a wide variety of health-related indicators, SBC interventions often do not receive as much attention or support as other types of interventions. This challenge is illustrated by the relatively weak attention to SBC approaches in family planning programs.

Breakthrough RESEARCH (B-R) is the United States Agency for International Development’s flagship project for SBC research and evaluation. Led by the Population Council, B-R identifies key evidence gaps and research agendas for SBC and conducts research to equip governments, implementing partners, service delivery organizations, and donors with the data and evidence they need to integrate proven and cost-effective social and behavior change approaches into their programs.

Our Approach

B-R’s key activities include identifying information gaps, building consensus around priority agendas, and carrying out innovative SBC research and evaluation across a range of health and development issues, from reproductive health to Zika to agriculture to humanitarian assistance.
As a key partner on the project, PRB’s primary role is to provide leadership and guidance on research utilization, ensuring that the high-quality evidence generated by the project is used for decisionmaking that can lead to practical, on-the-ground changes and improvements in service delivery and implementation.

B-R works in close collaboration with Breakthrough ACTION (B-A), its sister project, led by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs. B-R complement B-A’s SBC programs by providing the data and evidence needed to catalyze the power of SBC to improve priority health behaviors and enable positive social norm change.