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Using Innovation and Technology to Improve City Services

July 3, 2015 Comments off

Using Innovation and Technology to Improve City Services
Source: IBM Center for the Business of Government

In this report, Professor Greenberg examines a dozen cities across the United States that have award-winning reputations for using innovation and technology to improve the services they provide to their residents. She explores a variety of success factors associated with effective service delivery at the local level, including:

  • The policies, platforms, and applications that cities use for different purposes, such as public engagement, streamlining the issuance of permits, and emergency response
  • How cities can successfully partner with third parties, such as nonprofits, foundations, universities, and private businesses to improve service delivery using technology
  • The types of business cases that can be presented to mayors and city councils to support various changes proposed by innovators in city government

Professor Greenberg identifies a series of trends that drive cities to undertake innovations, such as the increased use of mobile devices by residents. Based on cities’ responses to these trends, she offers a set of findings and specific actions that city officials can act upon to create innovation agendas for their communities. Her report also presents case studies for each of the dozen cities in her review. These cases provide a real-world context, which will allow interested leaders in other cities to see how their own communities might approach similar innovation initiatives.

Rounding Out the Contraceptive Coverage Guarantee: Why ‘Male’ Contraceptive Methods Matter for Everyone

July 1, 2015 Comments off

Rounding Out the Contraceptive Coverage Guarantee: Why ‘Male’ Contraceptive Methods Matter for Everyone
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Highlights

• Contraceptive methods used by men—currently, vasectomy and male condoms—provide preventive health benefits for women, by helping them to prevent unplanned pregnancies and space wanted ones.
• Vasectomy and condoms were left out of the Affordable Care Act’s guarantee of contraceptive coverage without out-of-pocket costs, despite their proven health benefits and long history of inclusion in other public and private programs.
• There are multiple potential pathways to rectify this oversight, most notably state-level actions to clarify and expand the ACA’s guarantee, and new recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force; however, all of those have obstacles.

U.S. Abortion Reporting Systems Should Be Strengthened, Not Subverted to Promote Antiabortion Agenda

June 30, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Abortion Reporting Systems Should Be Strengthened, Not Subverted to Promote Antiabortion Agenda
Source: Guttmacher Institute

The current U.S. abortion surveillance system yields reliable statistics on abortion incidence and patient characteristics, thanks to the joint efforts of state and federal governments and the Guttmacher Institute. Still, a new analysis in the Guttmacher Policy Review argues that this system should be strengthened in two key ways: First, the state and federal governments should collect data in a more complete and timely manner. Second, government abortion surveillance at the state and federal levels must be focused solely on collecting basic incidence and demographic data needed for legitimate public health purposes.

While very effective in informing public health policies and programs, the current U.S. abortion surveillance system is a patchwork. Most states report aggregate abortion data to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but reporting from some of them is incomplete and California, Maryland and New Hampshire do not report to the CDC at all. The Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit that funds its abortion surveillance work through private sources, supplements these government collection efforts through its own periodic census of abortion providers and survey of abortion patients.

Law Enforcement Assessment of the Violent Extremism Threat

June 30, 2015 Comments off

Law Enforcement Assessment of the Violent Extremism Threat (PDF)
Source: Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security (Duke University/University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)

Key Findings & Methods:

  • Law enforcement agencies in the United States consider anti-government violent extremists, not radicalized Muslims, to be the most severe threat of political violence that they face.
  • They perceive violent extremism to be a much more severe threat nationally than the threat of violent extremism in their own jurisdictions.
  • And a large majority of law enforcement agencies rank the threat of all forms of violent extremism in their own jurisdictions as moderate or lower (3 or less on a 1-5 scale).
  • These findings emerge from a survey we conducted with the Police Executive Research Forum in 2014, with funding from the National Institute of Justice. The sampling frame was all 480 state, county, and municipal law enforcement agencies with more than 200 sworn officers, plus 63 additional county and municipal agencies with 200 or fewer sworn officers in selected jurisdictions that experienced an incident or prosecution for violent extremism in recent years. The survey yielded responses from 339 of the larger agencies (a 71 percent response rate) and 43 of the smaller agencies (a 68 percent response rate), for a total of 382 law enforcement agencies (a 70 percent response rate), including 35 state agencies, 141 county agencies, and 206 municipal agencies, whose combined jurisdictions cover 86 percent of the U.S. population.

Trends in State Courts 2015

June 30, 2015 Comments off

Trends in State Courts 2015
Source: National Center for State Courts

Leadership and technology are the central themes of Trends in State Courts 2015, an annual NCSC publication dedicated to making courts aware of key trends that affect not only court operations, but also society. Articles discuss numerous aspects of court leadership, such as judges and court administrators as “productive pairs,” collaboration between stakeholders inside and outside of courts, and engagement of court staff. A special section looks at topics in state of the judiciary messages and how interest in them has risen or fallen between 2010 and 2015. Court technology topics include developing an online benchbook, using online portals to help self-­represented litigants, and archiving records via the “cloud.” Other articles examine how Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District became a “high­functioning court,” accessibility and fairness in Nevada, and more.

Quantifying Hope: Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys

June 29, 2015 Comments off

Quantifying Hope: Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys
Source: BMAfunders (Open Society Foundations and Foundation Center)

Quantifying Hope: Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys analyzes U.S. funding trends for Black men and boys and describes recent initiatives in the field of Black male achievement.

Following up on the analysis in Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys, the 2015 research brief shows a distinct trend toward increased U.S. foundation funding for organizations and programs that are working to improve the life outcomes of Black males.

Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants in the United States

June 26, 2015 Comments off

Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants in the United States
Source: Migration Policy Institute

As of 2013, approximately 1.02 million immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region resided in the United States, representing 2.5 percent of the nation’s 41.3 million immigrants. Migration from the MENA region to the United States, motivated mainly by political instability in the region and economic opportunities abroad, began in the 18th century and has occurred in three phases.

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