According to Dr. Marionette Holmes, assistant professor at Spelman College, the homeless and previously-incarcerated population represents one of the most vulnerable demographics in the United States in terms of health care, and the cost for caring for these individuals can be staggering. For example, the monthly cost to care for those who are triply diagnosed with a mental illness, HIV positive, and substance abuse problems can range from approximately $4,000 to $40,000. In a grant research project entitled, "Examining the Health and Economic Impact of a Policy Driven Supportive Housing Program for Formerly Incarcerated Homeless Individuals in New York City," Holmes is utilizing @RISK in a cost-benefit analysis that considers the economic and health impacts of prisoners moving from incarceration to homelessness and moving from incarceration to supportive housing.
The supportive housing program Holmes examined is located in New York City, and specifically targets individuals who have cycled through both the penal and health care system more than four times over the past five years. One of the implementations of @RISK in this research is through a model that converts risky sexual behavior into HIV transmission risk and uses findings to project future HIV transmission probabilities.
Findings of the study are expected to be released in December.
Dr. Holmes has also assisted her research students with the use of @RISK. Ms. Andrea Brown, a recent graduate of the Spelman College Mathematics Department is writing a research paper entitled, “The Impact of Condom Attitudes of African American Female College Students on HIV/STD Transmission Risk,” which utilized @RISK in a cost-benefit analysis. Though the paper is still being written, the research conducted took first place in a recent research competition.