May 16, 2017, AUSTIN, Texas – Three students from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin are the recipients of the 2017 Central Texas American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) James McGrew Research Award, which recognizes outstanding student research in the field of public administration and/or public policy.

The students, Haley Chambers (MPAff ’17), Christine Leal (MPAff ‘17) and Samuel Storey (MPAff ’17), have received this award for their achievements competing at the University of Pennsylvania’s National Policy Proposal Invitational with the report, “A Better Life for Low-Income Elders in Austin.”

WATCH LBJ SCHOOL STUDENTS COMPETE AT THE PENN POLICY PROPOSAL CHALLENGE

In this real-world team competition, students passionate about public policy and entrepreneurship come together to develop innovative ideas to improve the city of Philadelphia. The LBJ School team—RBJ Team–was selected from 20 schools of public policy to participate in the Invitational and landed a win in the semi-finals, defeating the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

After competing in the semi-finals, RBJ Team was among four final teams selected to present their findings to a panel of judges at the National Constitutional Center, placing second.

“The quality of the team’s work exemplifies a significant accomplishment in fulfilling the ultimate goal of the policy research project,” said Jacqueline Angel, a professor of public affairs at the LBJ School and the faculty lead on the project. “Both the practical significance of the team’s findings and the great care students put into the design and implementation of the study make them most deserving of this coveted award.”

“Both the practical significance of the team’s findings and the great care students put into the design and implementation of the study make them most deserving of this coveted award.” —Professor Jacqueline Angel

The students’ report studied the feasibility of bringing the Program for All Inclusive Care for the Elderly to Austin. The program, known as PACE, provides comprehensive integrated care to frail seniors. While student researchers found many barriers to expanding PACE in Texas, they explored other creative solutions such as private-public partnerships.

“Austin is facing an oncoming silver tsunami, a massive increase in the portion of the population that will be seniors over the next 50 years,” Storey said. “While this happens, communities are unprepared to offer services needed to allow seniors to age and receive care where they live. Our proposal provides one model for integrated, community-based care that is outside of the strict boundaries of a federal government program like PACE. By utilizing private providers, we hope that this program will serve as a model for communities around the country.”

As next steps to implementing the proposal, students will speak with financial advisors from Central Health to evaluate the financial feasibility of the project, and then work with developers to create the necessary infrastructure.

"It is reassuring to know that these future public administrators are dedicated to public service as they went above and beyond in completing and utilizing this informative research on elderly care in Austin,"said Elaine Zavala, president of the CenTex ASPA chapter.

“Austin is facing an oncoming silver tsunami, a massive increase in the portion of the population that will be seniors over the next 50 years. While this happens, communities are unprepared to offer services needed to allow seniors to age and receive care where they live. Our proposal provides one model for integrated, community-based care that is outside of the strict boundaries of a federal government program like PACE. By utilizing private providers, we hope that this program will serve as a model for communities around the country.” —Samuel Storey

Chambers, Leal and Storey received the award on May 16 during the CenTex ASPA Public Service Awards Banquet. Read more about the project and policy challenge, visit our website.

About ASPA

The American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) is the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration. ASPA is dedicated to advancing the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration. Join CenTex ASPA for the opportunity to meet people from your neighborhood, city or county. Visit aspanet.org and choose CenTex as your local chapter to join.