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Abt’s Ask an Expert Video Series

In these short Ask an Expert videos, Abt specialists answer topical questions in ways that go beyond predictable answers. They explain why seemingly simple questions may have complicated answers. The videos will inform--and make viewers think. Follow the conversation on Twitter using #AskAbt.

David Fein Answers Questions About the Latest Year Up Findings
David Fein summarizes impressive findings on impact and cost-benefits in Abt's new report on Year Up--a national training program for young adults. The program increased participants' average annual earnings by nearly $8,000–or 34 percent–compared to a randomly assigned control group. And it generated $1.66 in benefits to society for every dollar spent on the program. Dr. Fein addresses two questions about the findings: What makes Year Up so effective? And should this program be scaled? Watch now.

David Fein Answers How Do Year Up’s Impacts Compare?
David Fein addresses another question about Abt's new report on Year Up, a national training program for young adults: How do the Year Up results compare with other effective workforce training programs for low-income adults? For background on Year Up and the findings, check out the first video in this series. Watch now.

Michelle Blocklin Answers Questions About an Innovative Evaluation of a Childhood Obesity Initiative
Childhood obesity is a serious public health challenge and early childhood is a critical time for preventing obesity. As part of Abt's Ask an Expert series, Michelle Blocklin, Senior Associate/Scientist, answers questions about Abt's evaluation of the Reducing Early Childhood Obesity (RECO) initiative, supported by First 5 LA. RECO used a variety of strategies including education, media campaigns, financial incentives, gardens and parks, and policy changes, to help reduce childhood obesity. These strategies also required innovative approaches to evaluate the impact of the investments. Watch the video

Jonathan Dorn Explains Changes to the Latest Update of eGRID
Abt’s Jonathan Dorn answers questions about Abt's latest upgrade to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) eGRID database—which provides data on power generation, air pollutant emissions, and emission rates for power plants in the United States. Jonathan also explains how COVID-19 has affected energy use, and how stay-at-home orders are likely shifting electricity use from businesses to homeowners. Watch the video

April Warren Discusses the Role of Social Enterprises in Global Health, and How They are Adapting to COVID-19
In this Ask an Expert video, Abt Senior Technical Advisor April Warren explains how social enterprises adapted to COVID-19. Social enterprises, which focus on social impact as a part of their core business and have a revenue-generating business model, have innovated in three ways. They changed their approach to delivery of health products such as medicine to consumers; delivery of health services by using telemedicine; and delivery of healthcare information by, for example, putting more information on their platforms. Watch the video

Laura Peck Answers Questions About Evaluation Research and the Coronavirus Pandemic
Evaluations of programs and projects must continue despite the pandemic. Laura Peck answers several questions about how to account for the effects of the pandemic on project outcomes and determine whether COVID-19 or a project was responsible for the findings. It’s less of a problem for a randomized controlled trial because the test group and the control group experience the same conditions. But for other kinds of evaluations, the pandemic can be a threat to the evaluation’s internal validity. Laura provides some insights and resources on how to deal with this serious methodological issue. Watch the video

Walter Campbell and Melissa Nadel Answer Questions About COVID-19 and Prison Release
Reducing prison and jail populations is often viewed as a way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Walter Campbell and Melissa Nadel explain that it’s not always the best solution. A community may not have housing, jobs, and health services to support someone released. That person could end up on the street and back in jail, spreading the disease in both places and making things worse, not better. And some detention facilities may be able to maintain social distancing and treat those with COVID-19. The best answer will vary from state to state and even county to county. Watch the video

Part 2:  Michael Link Answers Questions about Collecting Data During COVID-19
Conducting a survey in the middle of a pandemic is a delicate task—and can make the data collectors—and respondents--uncomfortable. How should data collectors handle it? Michael Link provides some advice. If the survey has nothing to do with COVID-19, data collectors can use the standard text to introduce the survey. If the survey is about COVID-19, however, they should use special language and even provide a hotline number if the topic causes distress for the respondent. Watch the video

Part 1:  Michael Link Answers Questions about Collecting Data During COVID-19
Why collect data in the middle of a pandemic? Michael Link explains that the information may be more important now than ever. It’s critical to know the facts on the ground to address the far-reaching issues we’ll face in the post-pandemic world. We need baseline information so we can understand issues, from the effects of interrupted education to working from home. That information is needed to marshal resources and develop plans to address the myriad issues that will emerge. Watch the video

Alexis Marbach Answers Questions on Intimate Partner Violence and COVID
COVID-19 increases the risk of intimate partner violence (IPV) in a number of ways. Alexis Marbach, an IPV survivor, explains that shelter-in-place means that people experiencing IPV have more exposure to perpetrators, are isolated from supportive friends and families, and have less privacy for text messaging and emails. What can be done? Increase shelter beds. Train people such as frontline health workers, police, and grocery store employees about resources available to help those experiencing IPV. Watch the video

Jessica Kerbo Discusses Incorporating Graphic Facilitation Into the Virtual Event Landscape During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Virtual events are likely to be the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic. That means event planners face a serious issue: how to makeg sessions appealing. Innovative graphics can help. In this Ask an Expert video, Abt graphic artist Jessica Kirbo gives tips on how to incorporate graphics into presentations. Event planners should meet with an artist to discuss key points and other messages to convey with graphics. It’s also important to decide on the dissemination method so that the artist develops a graphic appropriate for the platform. Watch the video

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