Maxwell Professor Jennifer Karas Montez Awarded Prestigious Carnegie Fellowship to Support Research on Health Disparities Among U.S. States

Syracuse, New York

Syracuse, New York, April 27, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Jennifer Karas Montez, the Gerald B. Cramer Faculty Scholar in Aging Studies in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University, has been named a 2018 Andrew Carnegie Fellow, the most generous and prestigious fellowship in the social sciences and humanities. According to an announcement by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Karas Montez and 30 other “extraordinary scholars and writers will each receive up to $200,000, making it possible to devote their time to significant research, writing and publishing.”

A sociologist and demographer, Professor Karas Montez examines the large and growing inequalities in adult mortality across education levels and geographic areas within the United States. “Our life expectancy is increasingly being shaped by where we live in the U.S.,” explains Karas Montez. “For example, in 1980, life expectancy in Mississippi and New York differed by just 1.6 years. Over the next three decades, that difference exploded to 5.5 years.”

At Maxwell, Karas Montez uses large data sets from the National Center for Health Statistics to formulate and answer a variety of compelling questions related to population health. For example: Why is the life expectancy of low-educated white women in the United States declining? Why do adults in some U.S. states develop health problems nearly two decades before adults in other states? How has the changing policy environment of states contributed to these patterns?

According to Karas Montez, in the 1950s and ’60s there were not many differences between states in their social, economic, and health policies. “But by the 1970s and ’80s, states began taking very different approaches to things like Medicaid generosity, and whether they offer a state earned-income tax credit, and how aggressively they raised cigarette taxes,” she says. The Carnegie Fellowship will allow Karas Montez to accelerate her research documenting how state policies have changed across the U.S. — the result of deregulation, federal devolution, and state preemption laws — and how residents’ well-being may have been affected.

“We at the Maxwell School are enormously proud of Jennifer’s accomplishments, and we are equally grateful to the Carnegie Corporation of New York for their unparalleled support of social science research toward the public good,” says David M. Van Slyke, dean of the Maxwell School.

Read the complete 2018 Andrew Carnegie Fellows press release, and explore Karas Montez’s recent op-ed related to health disparities and policies across U.S. states.

About the Maxwell School (@MaxwellSU)

The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs is Syracuse University’s home for innovative, interdisciplinary teaching and research in the social sciences, public policy, public administration, and international relations. It is consistently ranked among America’s top graduate schools of public affairs (U.S. News & World Report), offering highly regarded professional degrees alongside advanced scholarly degrees in the social sciences; and it is also home to Syracuse University’s undergraduate programs across the social sciences. Maxwell scholars conduct wide-ranging research through nine interdisciplinary centers, each focused on a topical area within public affairs, such as governance, social and economic policy, conflict and collaboration, public wellness, aging, energy and environment, national security, regional studies, and more. For more information, please visit

About Syracuse University

Syracuse University is a private, international research university with distinctive academics, diversely unique offerings and an undeniable spirit. Located in the geographic heart of New York State, with a global footprint, and nearly 150 years of history, Syracuse University offers a quintessential college experience. The scope of Syracuse University is a testament to its strengths: a pioneering history dating back to 1870; a choice of more than 200 majors and 100 minors offered through 13 schools and colleges; nearly 15,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students; more than a quarter of a million alumni in 160 countries; and a student population from all 50 U.S. states and 123 countries. For more information, please visit


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