Houston Initiatives

Harris County Elections

A Rice multidisciplinary team - comprised of Claudia Ziegler Acemyan and Philip Kortum (Psychological Sciences), Robert Stein (Political Science), Elizabeth Vann (Center for Civic Leadership), and Dan Wallach (Computer Science) - is collaborating with the Harris County Clerk. The team proposes to undertake a research program that will identify a series of ways for conducting elections in Harris County that protect voters and poll workers from the coronavirus. The research will be used by the County Clerk to design changes to in-person voting, both early and on Election Day.  In addition, information gleaned from their research will identify ways in which to inform voters about mail-in voting and safer ways for in-person voting.

COVID-19 Dashboards

Led by Farès el-Dahdah, director of the Humanities Research Center, a team of GIS specialists (Uilvim Ettore, Ualas Rohrer, and Bruno Sousa) at the Center for Research Computing's Spatial Studies Lab created a series of interactive dashboards for monitoring COVID-19 numbers, in HoustonTexas, and elsewhere in the world.

Impact on Houston Religious Communities

The Religion and Public Life Program, led by Elaine Howard Ecklund (Sociology), is interested in conducting a social science study on how Houston’s religious communities are responding to COVID-19. The proposed research includes analysis of social media data, a survey of and interviews with religious leaders. The team has begun tracking the responses of nearly 70 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim congregations in Houston.

COVID-19 and Cities

The Kinder Institute for Urban Research is working on several initiatives, including a study on the impact of COVID-19 on cities, especially Houston. It will also expand its “Disaster Recovery Tracker” monitoring how effectively public and philanthropic dollars in response to the crisis are being invested.

Community Impact Survey

Kinder’s Houston Education Research Consortium is leading the Gulf Coast Coronavirus Community Impact Survey in partnership with the Harris County Long-Term Recovery Committee, Harvey Home Connect and the Greater Houston Community Foundation, as well as an assessment of the critical needs facing the Houston Independent School District.

Participate in the COVID-19 Registry

Kinder is also partnering with the Rice-based Children’s Environmental Health Initiative to launch a COVID-19 registry in the style of the Texas Flood Registry initiated after Hurricane Harvey. The new registry, created in collaboration with local health departments, including the Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health, tracks the spread and impact of COVID-19, as well as uptake of suppression measures across geography and in real time. The COVID-19 survey is open to any individual 18 years or older. The survey is voluntary and takes 10 minutes to complete. Please visit registry.rice.edu/covid19 to learn more and consider enrolling in the registry. 

Public Health Measures

The Texas Policy Lab is working with Patricia DeLucia and Fred Oswald (Psychological Sciences), and one of its founding faculty affiliates, Flavio Cunha (Economics), to develop and administer a survey to better understand compliance to social distancing measures and "stay home" orders in Harris County. The goal is to leverage the information gained to develop strategies to improve and maintain the public's compliance with public health measures over the expected long-term course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Online Learning

Rice's Glasscock School of Continuing Studies offers free, online learning sessions to the Houston community through OpenRice during the pandemic and beyond.

Back in Business

The Glasscock School of Continuing Studies is partnering with the Ion to provide free and low-cost courses to help small business owners return to normal operations and recover from closures.

Housing TMC Personnel

Rice colleges to temporarily house Texas Medical Center personnel on front lines of COVID-19 fight.