Past KIE Bass Connections Projects

Bass Connections at Duke supports vertically integrated teams of students and faculty across campus to engage in problem-based research built around five core themes: Brain & Society; Information, Society & Culture; Global Health; Education & Human Development; and Energy.


Engagement in self-management skills has been demonstrated to improve health outcomes, yet individual and community-based factors contributing to engagement is less clear. Spirituality, which has been associated with positive effects on mental health including coping, resiliency and fostering social networks, plays an important role in effective improvement of chronic disease outcomes among minority populations.

Our primary objective is to understand the relationship between spiritual and self-management practices among adults from Robeson County living with chronic diseases. Robeson County is home to a remarkably diverse population including the Lumbee tribe, which is the largest American Indian tribe in North Carolina and the ninth largest in the United States. Mortality rates are twice the state average for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and the county has one of the highest national rates of end-stage kidney disease.

Our specific aims are 1) to assess the spiritual and self-management practices of adults living with chronic diseases in Robeson County; and 2) to determine differences in spiritual and religious practices across major ethnic groups living in Robeson County.

Bass Connections theme: Global Health
KIE program connection: Religions and Public Life

Faculty/Staff Team Members:
Cherry Beasley, Nursing (UNC Pembroke)
David Boyd, Duke Global Health Institute
Clarissa Diamantidis, School of Medicine – General Internal Medicine
Uptal Patel, School of Medicine – Nephrology
John Stanifer, House Staff – Medicine
David Toole, Divinity School
Undergraduate Team Members
Emily Horn, Global Health
Christiana Oshotse, Global Health
Community Team Members
Ronny Bell, Epidemiology (Wake Forest)


In underdeveloped nations, advancement in economic and human development depends on growth in the transportation sector, which is dominated by imported used automobiles. In these nations, usually land—an auto-mechanic village—is allocated strictly for repair and service of automobiles. There are hundreds of such auto-mechanic villages in many cities in Ghana and Africa due to increasing human population and urban growth. In all these villages, auto-mechanics dispose used motor oil onto the ground, affecting streams, drinking water aquifers and the ecosystem. Used motor oil can be harmful to human health, the environment and the ecosystem, and can contaminate the food chain. There is an ethical need to promote behavioral changes by the mechanics in disposal and interaction with used motor oil.

This project team will collaborate with a team of faculty and students from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to assess the extent and levels of heavy metals and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) pollution in soils, drinking water resources and food crops within and near Suame Magazine, a cluster of hundreds of auto-mechanic workshops in the vicinity of Kumasi. The joint team will investigate hair samples, the potential of mechanics being exposed to heavy metals and PAH and possible effects on their health. The findings will be used in developing an educational and awareness program by directly engaging and interacting with the mechanics.

Bass Connections theme: Global Health
KIE program connection: Human Rights

Faculty Team Members:
Fred Boadu, Pratt – Civil and Environmental Engineering
Dennis Clements, School of Medicine – Infectious Diseases, Pediatrics
Suzanne Katzenstein, Kenan Institute for Ethics
Graduate Team Members:
Naa Adoley Allotey, Global Health and Cultural Anthropology
Nana Young, Bio-ethics

Community Team Members:
Marian Nkansah, KNUST
Harry Tagbor, KNUST


In 2012, despite a waiting list of more than 100,000, there were only 5,620 living kidney donors in the U.S. Only 161 of these were non-directed donors (i.e., donors who did not specify the recipient). What are the barriers to living kidney donation, and how might we increase the pool of living kidney donors? Looking closely at the current mechanisms of kidney donation and the motivations of those who do donate, especially those who donate outside their circle of family and friends, this project will explore innovative models of donation, with the aim of increasing the pool of living kidney donors. Given the large disparities between the incidence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in whites (275 per million) and African Americans (924 per million), and similar disparities in kidney transplants, the project will focus specifically on the barriers to treatment and transplants among African Americans. The project will also focus on the role that faith and faith communities play, or might play, in the recruitment of living kidney donors.

Bass Connections themes: Brain & Society, Global Health
KIE program connection: Religions and Public Life

Faculty team members:
David Toole, Divinity School, Global Health Institute, Kenan Institute for Ethics
Kim Krawiec, Law School
Ray Barfield, Medicine, Divinity
Farr Curlin, Medicine, Divinity
Kieran Healey, Sociology
Warren Kinghorn, Medicine and Divinity
Richard Payne, Medicine and Divinity

Undergraduate and Graduate Student team members:
Brett McCarty (Graduate, Theology)
Harrison Hines (Graduate, Theology and Public Policy)
Kathleen Perry (Graduate, Divinity and Global Health)
Selina Wilson (Undergraduate)
Julia Carp (Undergraduate)
Sarah Beaverson (Undergraduate)


How well do regulations actually work—and, in turn, how well do government reviews of regulatory impacts actually work? This project will study the emerging efforts of government agencies throughout the world to evaluate the actual impacts of their regulatory programs—so-called “retrospective regulatory review” (RRR). As RRR mechanisms proliferate, a number of questions arise: Who performs these reviews, and what are their goals? What are their methods? How do their findings influence regulatory policy? Through comparative analysis of case studies at the local, national, and international levels, we’ll examine how well these mechanisms are functioning, and learn how they could do better.

Bass Connections theme: Brain & SocietyInformation, Society & Culture
KIE program connection: Rethinking Regulation

Faculty team members:
Edward Balleisen (History, Public Policy)
Lori Bennear (Environmental Sciences & Policy)
Jonathan Weiner (Law, Environmental Sciences & Policy, Public Policy)
Elizabeth Brake (Fuqua)
Kimberly Krawiec (Law School)
Amy Pickle (Nicholas Institute)
Billy Pizer (Sanford School of Public Policy)
Benjamin Waterhouse (History, UNC Chapel Hill)
Undergraduate and Graduate Student team members:
Kate Baxter (Undergraduate)
Josh Bruce (PhD, Sociology)
Mercy Demenno (PhD, Public Policy)
Bochen Han (Undergraduate)
Anna Johns (PhD, History)
Sarah Kerman (Undergraduate)
Rishabh Kumar (Undergraduate)
Jackie Lin (Undergraduate)
Nancy Merlin (Undergraduate)
Neelesh Moorthy (Undergraduate)
Daniel Ribeiro (SJD, Law)
Alena Sadiq (Undergraduate)


This working group builds on the existing archive of refugee narratives from urban, refugee camp, and resettlement contexts gathered through KIE’s DukeImmerse: Uprooted/Rerouted program. Using this prior research as a point of departure, the group is studying how the resettlement process, a global and transnational program where refugees are provided settlement in countries such as the United States, affects the mental health and well-being of refugees.

While there are growing bodies of research on pre- and post-displacement, this project is innovative in that it considers resettlement as a global process which has implications for refugee health at different points, from the country of first asylum to the resettlement country. Prior research is being augmented by additional fieldwork in Jordan and Nepal. Primary focus is on the effects of displacement/resettlement on three communities: Bhutanese, Iraqis and Syrians.

Bass Connections theme: Global Health

Faculty team members:
Suzanne Shanahan, Sociology and Kenan Institute for Ethics
Eve Puffer, Psychology & Neuroscience and Duke Global Health Institute
Abdul Sattar Jawad, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies
Postdoctoral Fellow team member:
Nadia El-Sharaawi, Kenan Institute for Ethics

Read projects blogs from 2013-2014 and 2014-2015

Undergraduate and Graduate Student team members (2013-2014)
Grace Benson (Undergraduate)
Kiran Bhai (Undergraduate)
Sonia Hatfield (Graduate student – Public Policy)
Kelly Howard (Undergraduate)
Esther Kim (Undergraduate)
Malena Price (Undergraduate)
Leena El-Sadek (Undergraduate)
Jennifer Sherman (Undergraduate)
Julie Stefanich (Undergraduate)
Libby King MacFarlane (Graduate student – Global Health)
Undergraduate Student team members (2014-2015)
Maha Ahmed
Lily Doron
Leena El-Sadek
Noura Elsayed
Nali Gillespie
Michelle Khalid
Olivia Johnson
Josephine Ramseyer
Maura Smyles
Tra Tran



This project explores moral attitudes, decisions, and judgments about regular use of stimulants (both illegal and prescription, such as Ritalin and Adderall) used therapeutically, recreationally, or as cognitive enhancers. Questions include: How different are the moral judgments of users and non-users? Do differences in moral judgments explain why some people use and others do not? Are these moral judgments based on harm to self or others or, instead, on fairness or disgust at perceived impurity or unnaturalness? Does the basis of these judgments vary between users and non-users? The project will construct and administer surveys to Duke students and to the general population. These surveys will attempt to clarify whether and how people distinguish heavy use, dependence, and addiction, when they view such use as morally wrong or bad, and whether they hold stimulant users responsible for any harms they cause.  Students will learn to assess such attitudes through web-based questionnaires and tests of implicit moral attitudes (e.g., Implicit Association Test). This project is a funded jointly by KIE and Bass Connections.

Read about their March 31, 2015 symposium.

Bass Connections theme: Brain & Society
KIE program connection: Moral Attitudes and Decision-Making

Faculty team members:
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (Philosophy, Kenan Institute of Ethics)
Phil Costanzo (Psychology and Neuroscience)
Edward Levin (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences)
Jesse Summers (Thompson Writing Program)
Student team members:
Rebecca Brenner (Undergraduate student)Victoria Lee (Graduate student)
Dustin Hadfield (Undergraduate student)
Kristie Kim (Undergraduate student)
Michelle Lee (Undergraduate student)
Lauren Miranda (Undergraduate student)
Anthony Oliveri (Graduate student)


While teaching at Duke Law School, Raphael Lemkin single-handedly drafted and lobbied for the passage of the Genocide Convention—approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948—as well as his landmark text Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. While writing the latter, Lemkin effectively coined the term “genocide”—referring to the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, caste, religious, or national group.” Fast-forward half a century: The term “genocide” is a mainstay of contemporary human rights discussion and policy, referring to a diverse swath of ethically charged human atrocities, from slavery to microbial disease. With diverse expertise and knowledge of linguistics, history, literature, public policy, political science, and human rights philosophy, this project aims to influence and improve international policy focused on the topic of genocide. This project is a funded jointly by KIE and Bass Connections as well as through Humanities Writ Large.

Read about their April 16, 2015 workshop.

Bass Connections theme: Information, Society & Culture
KIE program connection: Human Rights

Faculty project members:
Bob Cook-Deegan (Public Policy, Global Health)
James Chappel (History)
Ruth Grant (Political Science and Philosophy)
Malachi Hacohen (History)
Priscilla Wald (English)

Staff team members:
Suzanne Katzenstein & Michaela Dwyer (Kenan Institute for Ethics)

Postdoctoral team member:
Christine Lillie (Cognitive Neuroscience)

Student team members:
Ivana Bago (Graduate student, Art, Art History and Visual Studies)
Matthew Cole (Graduate student, Political Science)
Sophia Durand (Undergraduate)
Brittany Nanan (Undergraduate)
Laura Roberts (Undergraduate)
Megan Steinkirchner (Undergraduate)
Daniel Stublen (Undergraduate)
Rachel Sun (Undergraduate)



The subject of non-simultaneous, extended, altruistic donor (NEAD) chains in the arena of kidney transplants concerns the problem of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), which each year in the U.S. leads to 90,000 deaths and costs Medicare $28 billion. Even more, ESRD highlights the health disparities of African Americans and Hispanics, among others, and it raises a host of important questions across a wide variety of disciplines (chief among them: medicine, law, religion, public policy, global health, and various disciplines within the brain sciences). This project pulls together a team from medicine, divinity, law, sociology, and the brain sciences both to pose and to answer a series of questions that NEAD chains bring to the fore, including: What motivates the small number of people willing to give a kidney to a complete stranger? Are the agreements between donor pairs contractual and enforceable? Can Non-simultaneous, extended, altruistic donor chains become international? This project is a funded jointly by KIE and Bass Connections.

Bass Connections theme: Global Health
KIE program connection: Religions and Public Life

Faculty team members:
David Toole (KIE, Divinity and Global Health)
Kim Krawiec (Law)



This project is studying  how large scale crises change perceptions of risk, both among elites and ordinary citizens, and then how these shifts in risk perceptions do (or do not) influence changes in regulatory policies.  With the help of an international, multidisciplinary team of scholars, this team is exploring these broad questions through three clusters of case studies  — about financial crashes, off-shore oil spills, and nuclear accidents.  The team is compiling recommendations concerning the best way for governments to learn from disasters/crises, such as creating additional permanent investigative bodies such as the United States National Transportation Safety Board and Chemical Safety Board as well as independent agencies that specialize in the assessment of crisis situations such as financial collapses and lesser market panics, offshore oil blow-outs and narrowly averted spills, nuclear meltdowns and near-meltdowns, or crises and near-crises in other policy domains.

Bass Connections theme: Brain & SocietyInformation, Society & Culture

Faculty team members:
Edward Balleisen (History)
Lori Bennear (Nicholas School of the Environment and Economics)
Kim Krawiec (Law)
Jonathan Wiener (Law)

Student team members:
David Cheang (Master’s candidate, Nicholas School for the Environment)
Jonathon Free (PhD. candidate, History)
Megan Hayes (Master’s candidate, Nicholas School for the Environment)
Emily Pechar (PhD. candidate, Nicholas School for the Environment)
Kate Preston (undergraduate majoring in Public Policy)