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Robert L. Fischer, PhD

Research Professor


PhD, Vanderbilt University
MPP, Vanderbilt University
AB, Duke University

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Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel
School of Applied Social Sciences
Case Western Reserve University
10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106-7164
216/368-2711
fischer@case.edu

About

Robert L. Fischer is a Research Professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of Case Western Reserve University. He is also Co-Director of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at MSASS, and leads the Center’s efforts in regard to evaluation research. Dr. Fischer leads a range of evaluation research studies and teaches evaluation methods to students in social science administration and nonprofit management. Since 2001 he has led the Center’s research on Invest in Children, a county-wide early childhood initiative that includes home visiting, children’s health, and childcare components.Dr. Fischer is also faculty director of the Masters of Nonprofit Organizations (MNO) degree program at MSASS.
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Course List

MAND 410 Quantitative Analysis for Nonprofit LeadersMAND 422 Organizational Assessment & Program Evaluation in Nonprofit OrganizationsMAND 444 Program Design for Nonprofit Organizations

Affiliations

Co-Director, Center on Urban Poverty & Community Development — http://povertycenter.case.edu
Program Faculty, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations — www.case.edu/mandelcenter/
Board President, Ohio Program Evaluators’ Group — www.opeg.org
Faculty Associate, Schubert Center for Child Studies — www.case.edu/artsci/schubert/

The Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development

mandel center webRobert L. Fischer, Ph.D is Co-Director of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development.The Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development seeks to address the problems of persistent and concentrated urban poverty and is dedicated to understanding how social and economic changes affect low-income communities and their residents. Based in Cleveland, the Center views the city as both a tool for building communities and producing change locally, and as a representative urban center from which nationally-relevant research and policy implications can be drawn.. | Read More |


Recent Publications

Collins, C. C., Fischer, R. L., & Lalich, N. (in press). Enhancing child care for children with special needs through technical assistance. The Journal of Family Strengths. Accepted December 2013.

Small, M., Fischer, R. L., Berner, L., & Cooper-Lewter, S. (2014). Support for Sister-affiliated ministries during challenging times: Understanding a foundation initiative in two regions. Foundation Review, 5(4), 14-25.

Chaidez-Gutierrez, F., & Fischer, R. L. (2013). Reflecting on grantee accountability to funders: Exploring power dynamics with grassroots organizations in communities of color. Journal of Community Practice, 21. 304-326.

Roudebush, M. M., Fischer, R. L., & Brudney, J. L. (2013). Adding assets to needs:  Creating a community data landscape. Journal for Nonprofit Management, 15(2), 5-18.

Chelimsky, T. C, Fischer, R. L., Levin, J., Cheren, M., Marsh, S., & Janata, J. (2013). The Primary Practice Physician Program for Chronic Pain (4PCP): Outcomes of a model for community-based training and support. Clinical Journal of Pain. Publication ahead of print at The Clinical Journal of Pain.

Fischer, R. L., Peterson, L., Bhatta, T. R., & Coulton, C. (2013). Getting ready for school: Piloting universal pre-kindergarten in an urban county. Journal of Education for Students Placed At Risk, 18(2), 128-140.

Fischer, R. L., & Murphy, M. A, (2013). The harvest of ministry: Exploring the ministry of women religious in Cleveland. Journal of Religion and Society, 15,1-15.

Recent Presentations

Fischer, R. L., Brudney, J., & Roudebush, M. (2013). Expectations and experience:  The adoption and use of community data systems. Annual Conference of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action. Hartford, CT. November.

Foreman, K., Fischer, R., Greenberg, S., & Berges, M. (2013) Deep Green and Healthy Homes- Occupant Interview Study: The role of occupant behavior in achieving energy reductions and improved indoor air quality in affordable housing. Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Cleveland, OH. November.

Fischer, R. L. (2013). Upfront evaluation planning. Swanston Fund Innovations Conference. Youngstown, OH. November.

Fischer, R. L., & Coulton, C. (2013). Using integrated data to assess and monitor a community initiative on child well-being. American Evaluation Association Annual Conference. Washington, DC. October.

Fischer, R. L., Coulton, C., & Kim, S. J. (2013). How partnerships with higher education help your state agency use early childhood data for decision-making. Invited presentation. Improving Data, Improving Outcomes conference. Washington, DC. September.

Fischer, R. L., & Staib, R. O. (2013). Addressing early childhood mental health needs: Outcomes from Cuyahoga County. Cuyahoga County Conference on Social Welfare. Cleveland, OH. March.

Dorman, R., & Fischer, R. L. (2013). Invest in Children: A community update. Philanthropy Ohio. Cleveland, OH. March.

Fischer, R. L. (2013). Using socio-economic data to inform health policy and practice. Invited talk. Center for Health Care Research & Policy, MetroHealth Medical Center. February.

Dorman, R., & Fischer, R. L. (2013). Early childhood services and Invest in Children. Pediatric Grand Rounds, Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. Cleveland, OH. January.


In the News


2016-2017 Research Colloquia Series Announced

Sep 8 2016

Elizabeth M. Tracy, PhD, Associate Dean for Research and Training at the Mandel School, announced the 2016-2017 Research and Training Colloquia. Part of the Centennial Speaker Series, this year’s colloquia will feature the Mandel School’s own groundbreaking research. The events are free, open to all, and include lunch. Those who want CEUs may purchase them ($10 for alumni; $25 for non-alumni). Students will receive PD hours for each colloquium and can visit with speakers immediately following their presentations.

All of the events are from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. at the Mandel Community Studies Center (11402 Bellflower) Room 108 unless otherwise noted. The 2016-2017 colloquia are:

Longitudinal Study of Prenatal Cocaine Exposure:  Methodological Issues and Findings
Wednesday, September 21 | 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.  | Mandel Community Studies Center Room 115

Dr. Gale Richardson from the University of Pittsburgh will discuss the methodological issues involved in studying drug use during pregnancy at a Distinguished Lecture Series event on Wednesday, September 21, at 12:30 p.m. in Room 108 of the Mandel Community Studies Center. She will describe her longitudinal study of prenatal cocaine exposure and highlight some of the findings from this 25-year program of research.

Gale A. Richardson, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh. Over an academic career spanning 30 years, she has published numerous peer reviewed articles on the developmental effects of prenatal cocaine, alcohol, and marijuana exposure and has an extensive record of NIH-funded research and training grants.

Career Trajectories for Women in Academic Research

As part of the Distinguished Lecture Series, Dr. Gale Richardson will meet with students, faculty and staff to describe her career trajectory in academic research and will lead an informal discussion on factors to consider in choosing a career path. This event is on Thursday, September 22, at noon to 2:00 p.m. at the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women at the Tinkham Veale University Center on campus.


Sexual Assault Kits:  Changing What We Know About Rape
Friday, October 28 | 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Starting in 2013, the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Task Force began investigating and prosecuting cases from approximately 5,000 previously unsubmitted SAKs from 1993 to 2010. For the Cuyahoga County SAK Pilot Research Project, a research team at the Begun Center at the Mandel School coded a random sample of 243 SAKs with completed investigations and either resulted in prosecution or were not pursued due to insufficient evidence. This presentation will provide an overview of the issue with unsubmitted SAKs, key findings from the research, and how these findings are being used to inform and reform rape investigations and prosecutions.

Featuring:
Rachel Lovell, PhD, Senior Research Associate, Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education
Daniel Flannery, PhD, Semi J. and Ruth W. Begun Professor and Director of the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education
Misty Luminais, PhD, Senior Research Associate and Project Coordinator, Social Justice Institute


Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction:  A Remedy That Needs More Than Medicine
Friday, November 11 | 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

A report of data from the Begun Center’s evaluation of certified drug courts in Ohio, a state that has realized large increases in opioid-related morbidity and mortality. Their sample of 404 drug court participants at intake suggests a variety of comorbid problems including mental illness, violence exposure, serious health risk behaviors and low educational, housing and employment statuses. The results will be discussed in the contexts of clinical programs and state/national policy.

Featuring:
Margaret Baughman Sladky, PhD, Senior Research Associate, Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education
Mark Singer, PhD, Leonard W. Mayo Professor of Family and Child Welfare and Deputy Director of the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education


Use of Community Data by Nonprofits:  Opportunities and Challenges
Friday, January 27 | 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Nonprofit organizations strive to build and serve the community in a variety of ways. A relatively new development to assist nonprofits with this critical task is the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) that incorporate data assembled from area nonprofit organizations. Based on in-depth interviews conducted with 18 sites in the U.S. that have adopted a prominent GIS application, this presentation explores the reasons why nonprofits adopt these systems, their inclusion of various stakeholders in their launch, and the challenges for sustaining GIS use.

Featuring:
Robert Fischer, PhD, Research Professor; Co-Director, Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development; Faculty Director of the Master of Nonprofit Organizations (MNO) Program.


Consensus-based Assessment Tool of Community Readiness and Capacity for Farmers’ Market Implementation
Friday, February 10 | 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Nutrition-related policy, system, and environmental (PSE) change interventions such as farmers’ markets have been recommended as effective strategies for promoting healthy diet for chronic disease prevention. Tools are needed to assess community readiness and capacity factors influencing successful farmers’ market implementation among diverse practitioners in different contexts. The goal of this presentation is to describe a multiphase consensus modeling approach used to develop a diagnostic tool for assessing community readiness and capacity to implement farmers’ market interventions among public health and community nutrition practitioners working with low-income populations in diverse contexts. Findings illuminate a range of implementation factors influencing farmers’ market PSE interventions and offer guidance for tailoring intervention delivery based on levels of community, practitioner, and organizational readiness and capacity.

Featuring:
Eun Lye Lee, PhD, Postdoctoral Scholar, Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine
Darcy Friedman, PhD, Associate Professor, Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine
Jarrod Dalton, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine


Navigating HIPAA, FERPA and the IRB:  Leverage Big Data to Better Serve Children and Families
Friday, February 24 | 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Integrated data systems (IDS) provide significant value for needs identification, program planning, and evaluation across a broad range of social issues. In this colloquium, we highlight lessons learned about the use of Protected Health Information (PHI) from two research studies: 1) a county-funded evaluation of early childhood mental health service receipt, and 2) a longitudinal analysis of the association between lifetime lead exposure and kindergarten readiness.

Featuring:
Elizabeth Anthony, PhD, Research Assistant Professor
Robert Fischer, PhD, Researcher Professor and Co-Director of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development


Cleveland Effective Neighboring Project
Friday, March 24 | 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

“Effective neighboring” is the process of neighbors from diverse social, economic and cultural backgrounds, establishing a level of familiarity and shared expectations that enable them to live comfortably together. The goal of this project is to learn from existing examples of effective neighboring in Cleveland and determine how to promote and sustain it in more areas of our city and other cities.

Featuring:
Mark Joseph, PhD, Associate Professor; Director, National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities
Mark Chupp, PhD, Assistant Professor; Director, International Education Program


Rob Fischer Tells the Atlantic How a House Can Shape a Child’s Future

Jul 6 2016

“There needs to be much more on the quality of housing and moving up toward better housing opportunities.”

The Atlantic interviewed Dr. Rob Fischer, co-director of the Poverty Center, for “How a House Can Shape a Child’s Future” on the Center’s recent study on the effects housing conditions have on academic performance. The report, Leveraging Integrated Data Systems to Examine the Effect of Housing and Neighborhood Conditions on Kindergarten Readiness – co-authored by Fischer with Claudia Coulton, Francisca Richter, Seok Joo Kim,  and Youngmin Cho – compared literacy scores of thousands of Cleveland kindergartners with assessments on their housing. Findings showed a relationship between the amount of time children lived in tax delinquent, foreclosed, and speculator owned housing with kindergarten readiness.

Fischer told The Atlantic he believes the data indicates a need for public policy to look beyond only ending family homelessness and also examine housing conditions. “The discussion also needs to include getting people into better housing, instead of just being satisfied that they have an address.”

housing IDS lead KRA-L report coverAtlantic applauded the scope of the the Poverty Center study which tracked all children entering kindergarten in the city’s public schools. However, Fischer pointed out that obtaining data from Cleveland’s private and charter schools as well as scores from tests beyond literacy would improve understanding the relationship between housing conditions and academic readiness.

One of the worst conditions arising from bad housing can be exposure to lead paint as about 40 percent of Cleveland kindergartners have tested positive for lead poisoning sometime in their lives. Dr. Fischer believes the easiest action cities can take to improve the lives of these children is to limit their exposure to housing with lead paint. Other studies conducted by the Poverty Center and other agencies have repeatedly shown the damage lead poisoning can have the brain development of children. “Together, it is devastating to see their effects,” Fischer said on the serious disadvantages the combination of lead poisoning and bad housing will give in a child’s early life which can continue to create problems further down the road.

Download the Poverty Center’s full report and Briefly Stated on the effects of poor housing. Also read the Center’s latest news on the effects of lead poisoning and early childhood education.


Rob Fischer on Using Data to Build in Oxford Community Development Journal

Jun 3 2016

Community Development Journal 50 coverThe latest edition of the Community Development Journal from Oxford University Press features the article “Using data to build community: exploring one model of geographically specific data use in the non-profit sector” co-authored by Dr. Rob Fischer, co-director of the Poverty Center, with Dr. Jeffrey L. Brudney and Allison Russell.

The article discusses the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to incorporate data assembled by non-profit organizations to help build communities. Additional findings show that while non-profits implement GIS to foster collaboration with other organizations, realizing and sustaining this outcome can continue to be a challenge.

Read the article abstract here; registered users and partner organizations can view the full article here.

(Jeffrey L. Brudney is the Betty and Dan Cameron Family Distinguished Professor of Innovation in the Non-profit Sector at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and Editor in Chief of Non-profit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. Allison Russell is a doctoral student in social welfare at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice.)