Challenges to begin in October 2018:
A. The Community Adolescent Health Challenge: How might we help create a citywide community of mental and physical health for young adults?
Last summer, Princeton's Mayor, Liz Lempert, convened the leaders of several municipal agencies and other community organizations that provide frontline services to the Princeton community. In discussing adolescent mental and physical health, it became evident that there are many organizations playing important roles in supporting adolescent mental health and well being. But there was also consensus that there are still individuals, communities, and specific health challenges that are not being adequately addressed. For this Tiger Challenge, a team of Princeton University students will document the landscape of adolescent health and wellbeing in the Municipality of Princeton and design ways the town can create a robust community of health and wellbeing for all of its young adults.
B. The Dignity and Debt Challenge: How might we help protect individuals from predatory debt collection practices?
Debt collection is now a multi-billion dollar industry in the US. As nearly every kind of debt (car, student, credit card, medical, rent/utilities, etc) can be bought and sold—often for pennies on the dollar—with little-to-no regulation, the opportunities (and financial incentives) for exploitation increase. To limit abusive practices, Congress passed the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act in 1977 (FDCPA). Among its provisions, the FDCPA requires collectors to provide verifying documentation to consumers. But many debt collectors do not, often because it is simply easier to collect by threatening large numbers of consumers with lawsuits, hoping to collect from a few, than to maintain a paperwork management system that would allow them to prove the debt’s legitimacy and enforceability. However, there is some cause for optimism. Preliminary research suggests that, in 50-80% of cases, consumers and their financial coaches who request the FDCPA-mandated paperwork from collectors won’t hear from that collector again. (Sources: CFED and ACLU) For this Tiger Challenge, a team of Princeton students will work with the Dignity and Debt Network (a partnership with the Sociology Department and Social Science Research Council) and DaisyDebt.org to develop innovative ways to empower financial counselors, financial coaches, and individuals to guard against abusive debt collection practices.
C. The Supplier Equity Challenge: How might we help Princeton University achieve equity when engaging outside vendors?
Princeton’s impact on equity and diversity extends beyond its students, faculty and staff. Suppliers of goods and services to the University are an often overlooked constituency. In fact, last year, Princeton engaged over 5,000 firms and spent about $420 million with them. At present, less than 1% of those suppliers are minority-owned businesses, with whom Princeton spent slightly over $1.4 million. About 2%, are women-owned businesses, with whom Princeton spent almost $8.9 million. While Princeton has made recognized strides to improve equity in other ways, Princeton is currently undertaking efforts to increase its impact on equity through third-party contracts, and reap the benefits that increased diversity of this constituency would have on the quality of our institution. For this challenge, a team of Princeton University students will work with project partners and advisors to understand the challenges and opportunities of diversity in procurement, and ultimately design new processes and campus implementation plans to achieve equity in this under-examined dimension.
D. The Alternatives to Opioids Challenge: How might we help patients access safe, affordable, and effective means for managing chronic pain?
Across the country, the opioid abuse crisis is worsening. New emergency room data show a 30% increase in suspected opioid overdoses in 45 states between July 2016 and September 2017. No area in the U.S. is exempt from this epidemic. In order to address the role of opioids in pain management patients, policymakers in the United States have added incentives for innovations (such as telemedicine) that might decrease costs and improving access to care. For this Tiger Challenge, a team will study the system of managing care for chronic pain patients in an outpatient practice at Rowan University School of Medicine, Penn Medicine Princeton Health, Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Group (a major academic health center in New Jersey), and local Princeton physician collaborators. The team will interview key stakeholders including local clinical physicians, academics, patients, medical students, biotechnology innovators, and policymakers on the front lines of both the opioid crisis and pain care management. The team will then design an innovative way to reduce opioid addiction and overdoses.
F. Program Associates: Helping run the Tiger Challenge program. (Prerequisite: Tiger Challenge or EGR200)