About Us

Policies for Action (P4A) is a signature research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, administered through the national coordinating center at the Urban Institute. Since 2015, P4A has awarded over $15 million for research identifying policies, laws, and other system and community levers in the public and private sectors that can support RWJF’s vision, working with others, to build a Culture of Health. Along with the other three signature research programs, P4A is helping to explore the root causes of health disparities in America, and identify potential solutions to improve health, equity and well-being. 

Funded research examines policies and laws that are traditionally and directly correlated with health outcomes, but also nontraditional areas of focus that influence population health, well-being and equity—including policies and regulations from areas such as education, economics, transportation, justice, and housing. P4A is interested in learning how national, state or local policies can promote lifelong health and health equity for individuals, families, and communities; as well as what enabling factors promote the adoption and spread of good policies.

In addition to funding investigator-initiated grants through its annual call for proposals, P4A collaborates with special Research Hubs located at universities and nonprofit research organizations across the country. The hubs provide a transdisciplinary setting to develop, implement, and manage programs of strategic policy research in specific issue areas such as housing, transportation, and financing. The hubs bring expertise and experience in conducting research that matters at the local, state and national policy levels.

The P4A program builds on the Urban Institute’s wealth of experience in health, social welfare, and social and economic policy, including its cross-center initiative on the social determinants of health that brings together experts spanning health, housing, labor, income and benefits, justice, and tax policy.