PRFDHR Seminar: Growing up Under Forced Displacement: Evidence from Bangladesh and Jordan, Professor Sarah Baird and Professor Jennifer Seager

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - 2:30pm to 3:45pm
Professor Sarah Baird and Professor Jennifer Seager, George Washington University – Department of Global Health
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Free but register in advance

Cumulative trauma due to displacement and exposure to violence can lead to long-run impacts on mental health, with consequences for human capital accumulation. This may be particularly true for adolescents given that this is a time of intensified emotional distress and a critical period for development. Using mixed-methods longitudinal data from the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) study on over 6,000 refugee adolescents aged 10-17 and their local peers in Bangladesh and Jordan this research explores the challenges faced by adolescents growing up under forced displacement. Specifically, taking a gender lens, Professors Baird and Seager focus on risk and protective factors that shape the mental health and resilience of refugee adolescents. They investigate the role of past exposure to violence on mental health outcomes, and the potential mitigating role of parental support and access to informal education and other programming. They also investigate heterogeneity in these relationships by country, gender, and host vs. camp (in Jordan), and compare the trajectory of refugee adolescents to non-refugee adolescents in nearby communities. Finally, Professors Baird and Seager explore the added impact of COVID-19. Ultimately, this research aims to add to the evidence base on the lives of adolescent refugees in order to improve policy and programming that addresses their specific vulnerabilities.
Sarah Baird is an Associate Professor of Global Health and Economics in the Department of Global Health at George Washington University, where she also serves as Vice Chair and Program Director for the Global Health Program Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation MPH Program. Dr. Baird is also a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for Global Development and an Affiliated Faculty at The Institute for International Economic Policy (IIEP) at the Elliot School of International Affairs. She is currently the quantitative lead for the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) program, a study that is longitudinally following girls and boys in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Jordan and Rwanda to understand what works to improve the lives of adolescents. She is also the Principal Investigator on the Connect project, which aims to increase postpartum family planning by first-time parents in Bangladesh and Tanzania. Her work has been published in leading academic journals including the Quarterly Journal of Economics and The Lancet, and featured in media outlets such as The New York Times and The Economist. Baird’s current work in Malawi, Kenya, and Uganda, investigates different policy approaches to improve outcomes for adolescents ranging from cash transfers, to Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy, to social norms change.
Jennifer Seager is an Assistant Professor of Global Health and Economics in the Department of Global Health at George Washington University. Dr. Seager is an applied microeconomist with research interests at the intersection of development and health. Some areas she has worked on include risk behaviors and STI rates among female sex workers in Indonesia, sexual and reproductive health among adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the impact of local labor market conditions on household fertility decisions.