Kristen Lewis, Sarah Burd-Sharps, and Becky Ofrane dive into the demographic data in Measure of America’s latest report on youth disconnection, More than a Million Reasons for Hope. While the recent rebounding economy offers some good news in terms of the overall disconnection rates among young people, these remain disturbingly high for minority youth. The authors argue economic growth alone cannot erase the multiple structural barriers and institutional racism that produce significant gaps in the disconnection rates between different racial and ethnic groups, but solutions can be found through local organizations and by including youth in the conversation.
Becky Ofrane, senior program manager, coordinates various projects at Measure of America, particularly related to public health impacts, strategy, and stakeholder management. She previously served as Children’s Environmental Health Coordinator at the US EPA, with a focus on toxic chemicals policy, environmental health impacts from the built environment, human health risk assessment, and public-private partnerships. She brings a public health perspective to social, environmental, and economic spheres. Ofrane has a BS in biochemical engineering from Rutgers University and an MPH in environmental health and toxicology from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.