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It is with good reason that there has been an outpouring of support for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Essential workers have tended to the sick, responded to emergencies, and kept the food supply intact, thus permitting the rest of society to have continued access to health care and basic necessities, and to remain safe and, for the most part, comfortable. As has been reported, Black and Latino workers make up a large share of the essential workforce, and these demographic groups have experienced higher rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths. Discrimination, disparate access to health services, higher rates of chronic illness, lower incomes, and deficiencies in housing and other social determinants of health have all contributed to the higher risk of COVID-19–related illness and death among racial and ethnic minorities.

Commentary

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic raged, state legislators continued to quietly pass laws that consolidate power in state capitals and take away local governments’ authority to protect public health. Oklahoma is the latest example.

Commentary

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which turns 10 on March 23, dramatically changed Medicaid, making it available to millions of previously ineligible low-income adults. As some states continue to debate whether to expand Medicaid and policymakers propose more far-reaching changes to the program, it is critical to provide timely evidence on how the program is working and what the potential effect of major changes would be.

Commentary

Policies for Action is entering its fifth year with a growing community of researchers across the country and a maturing pipeline of research to support critical policy development. Find out how we're expanding the quality and reach of our work in 2020.

Commentary

As shoppers prepare for the holidays with trips to the mall, supermarket, and big box stores, many workers who stock the shelves and work the registers are scrambling to piece together child care to match their unpredictable work schedules.

Commentary

A unique partnership in Minnesota is linking data about health, human services, housing, and criminal justice to increase our understanding of risk factors and protective factors for children entering foster care. But how do we ensure we tailor our research approach to fit the complicated lives of real parents, caregivers, and children?

Commentary

Housing in the United States is in bad shape. There are not enough units, and where there are units, they are often not affordable, and not in the right places. These problems are a result of the U.S. housing system, which is a complex set of people, organizations, laws, and conditions that interact to produce our current housing arrangements. This system has created a chronic shortage and affordability gap and persistently inequitable, segregated, and unhealthy living conditions for millions of Americans.

Cross-post

What could we gain if we committed to increasing diversity in research? P4A National Advisory Committee member Jewel Mullen, the associate dean for health equity at the Dell Medical School of the University of Texas at Austin, helps us explore this question.

Commentary

When it comes to supporting families through paid family and medical leave policies, the U.S. lags behind other developed nations. What explains the lack of policy action? Perhaps we have not acknowledged paid leave policy for what it really is: a critical backbone of support that follows workers through all the major moments of their lives.

Commentary

In fall 2018, we launched a new Policies for Action Research Hub at Vanderbilt to examine barriers to the healthy development and success of low-income children in Tennessee. We knew that building a strong, policy-focused research agenda would require open communication and a cooperative spirit among our state agencies and community health and education organizations.