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applied sociology - questions and answers

Photograph of Jammie Price

Jammie Price

Question:"What is an example of applied sociology?"

Answered by Jammie Price, Applied Sociologist, Appalachian State University 

I recently worked on a project with three students on health care insurance for children.  Nationally, nine million children do not have health care insurance.  Fortunately within the last seven years, the U.S. government mandated that all states provide public children’s health insurance to families with children 18 or younger. For a family of two, the income limit is $24,000.  For a family of five, the income limit is $43,000.  This program costs $100 a year for families with 2 or more children and $50 a year for families with one child.  However, only 50% of those who enroll in the public program re-enroll each year.  To determine why children are not being re-enrolled, in 2004 we telephone surveyed parents who did not re-enroll their children in a North Carolina program.  We asked questions about why a child was not re-enrolled, utilization of health care services, satisfaction with care, and plans to obtain medical services without health insurance. 

Most respondents had taken their child to see a provider in the last year, and most were satisfied with the care received.  Seventy-two percent of the respondents knew that their child was not re-enrolled and 28 percent did not know.  The most common reasons why parents did not re-enroll their child were because they never received the re-enrollment forms or they submitted their forms late.   Most said they would pay out of pocket now to purchase health care services for their child, not realizing that it would cost them at least $100 per visit, not including prescription medications or medical tests.   Several planned on taking their child to a free clinic, not realizing that no such clinic exists in the area.  We conclude that the goal of increasing re-enrollment among eligible children in NC requires closer case management and more readily accessible information about when, why, and how to re-enroll.  Specifically, the county, and the state, need to better market the benefits of the program, possibly via pamphlets distributed to all public school children, buildboards, and advertisements on local television and radio. The local program could also ease the re-enrollment process by offering phone service for questions about re-enrollment.   

About Dr. Jammie Price...

I currently teach sociology at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.  I teach various applied sociology courses, including a community based sociology course where students apply sociological tools and perspectives to address real issues, real time in our area.  I have several publications in applied sociology, including a text with Stephen Steele entitled Applied Sociology: Terms, Topics, Tools, and Tasks, and others on teaching applied sociology and applying sociology to health care issues.  I began applying sociology as an undergraduate student at Anne Arundel Community College.  

You may contact Dr. Price directly at PRICEJL@APPSTATE.EDU or her website at  http://www1.appstate.edu/~pricejl/