NORC's work supplies insight for informed decisions. NORC staff in the hallway in the Bethesda office
Boy receiving a vaccination Hyde Park Lobby Conference room off NORC lobby An impromptu meeting in the NORC lobby
Older Couple Smiling

Special Populations

Sometimes visible to us, but more often hidden in plain sight, special populations inhabit the margins of our society, each with a unique set of needs. Ethnic minorities, veterans, disabled people, prison inmates, refugees and immigrants, children, and the elderly all face complex challenges as they strive to attain the advantages that other groups enjoy. Recent political events have added more pressure, such as increased U.S. military operations that have produced more veterans with special needs. Meanwhile, the weakening of traditional sources of economic stability, like home ownership, places special populations at even greater risk of hardship.

NORC helps government and organizations understand, evaluate—even manage—the programs and interventions that support these special populations and improve their circumstances. We have worked in this area since the 1950s, concentrating at that time on rural residents and welfare recipients. In the mid 1970s, NORC partnered with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on a longitudinal study to evaluate the efficacy of the Experimental Housing Allowance Program. The 1980s brought new insights about disadvantaged ethnic groups when NORC partnered with distinguished sociologist William Julius Wilson on the Urban Poverty and Family Life Survey of Chicago. More recently, NORC leveraged its extensive work on the National Immunization Survey (using the State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey data collection mechanism) to develop separate surveys on adoptive parents and children with special needs.

Today, NORC’s work emphasizes healthcare and other issues that touch multiple special populations. For example, our work with the Department of Veterans examines healthcare access for rural veterans living far from urban veterans’ hospitals. We also designed a multi-mode data collection and feasibility study on the natural history of children born with Spina Bifida; served as a partner on the highly complex, award-winning HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study; and continue to serve in an information management role for the Traumatic Brain Injury Technical Assistance Center.

Key to any work on special populations is knowing the right questions to ask and asking them in a highly sensitive manner. NORC brings this expertise, a broad understanding of quantitative and qualitative methodology, and deep knowledge about health information technology to uncover the insights that lead to effective decision making and planning.

Specific areas of expertise include:

Representative Projects

Continuation of OMH Performance Improvement and Management System (PIMS) Development Project. NORC has been contracted by the US Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH), to develop and implement a web-based system for collecting, reporting, disseminating/sharing performance- and results-oriented data and information relative to OMH’s mission.  The Performance Improvement and Management System (PIMS) is an integrated, one-stop, web-based tool and resource to help OMH and other stakeholders to improve the strategic focus of their efforts, use evidence-based performance measures and practices in program planning and evaluation, and improve evaluation of program activities to determine outcomes and impacts achieved. More

Health Care Innovation Awards Evaluation - Complex/High-Risk Patient Targeting. ​The Health Care Innovation Awards (HCIAs) fund 107 initiatives across the country that propose compelling new ideas to further the three-part aim of better care for the individual, better health for populations, and lower costs through improvement of the care delivery process. Twenty three (23) of these initiatives focus on addressing the needs of medically fragile, complex, and high risk patients who are high users of medical and long-term care services and supports. 
  More

Making Connections. The Making Connections survey, launched in ten poor urban communities, examines mobility, social capital, neighborhoods, resident participation, economic hardship, the availability and utilization of services, and child and adolescent well-being. More

National Former Prisoner Survey.

The National Former Prisoner Survey (FPS) is one of a series of major studies undertaken by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, in response to congressional mandates in the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003. The National Former Prisoner Survey was conducted by NORC in 2008 and was designed to provide national estimates of sexual violence within prisons. More

National Immunization Survey. The NIS, administered by NORC since 2005, monitors childhood immunization coverage for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This household survey screens more than 6 million sampled telephone lines yearly. The NIS Provider Survey requests permission to contact eligible children’s medical providers, and sends these providers an Immunization History Questionnaire. Household and provider data are combined to produce timely estimates of children’s vaccination coverage rate for national, state and local areas. A companion survey, the NIS-Teen, monitors vaccination coverage among teenagers aged 13-17 years. More

See all Special Populations projects

Headlines

Sparks: The NORC Blog Felicia LeClere: Old Person, New Data More
Posted: 9.3.2014 9:55AM
News Forbes: The AP-NORC Center's research found that most Americans underestimate the cost of a nursing home More
Posted: 4.22.2014 4:30PM
News The Washington Post: How untrusting Millenials may be according to GSS surveys and findings More
Posted: 3.25.2014 9:02AM
News Forbes: The AP-NORC Center's "Working Longer" project shares information on the risks of retirement More
Posted: 3.14.2014 9:56AM
News The Huffington Post: Demographics around homesexuals in the U.S. discussed with GSS data and research More
Posted: 3.14.2014 9:52AM