Funded Projects

The Policies for Action program (P4A) funds research identifying policies, laws, and other regulatory tools in the public and private sectors that can support RWJF’s mission to build a Culture of Health.

Research is conducted at institutions across the United States. The projects by our Research Hubs and other grantees investigate 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.

Funded Projects

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Housing policy is disability policy, particularly for low-income households served by federal housing programs. People with disabilities are overrepresented in federally assisted rental housing, with 407 out of every 1,000 assisted households reporting a disability.

Principal Investigator: Corianne Payton Scally - Urban Institute

The burdens of racist policies have produced vastly worse pregnancy and birth outcomes for Black and Native populations relative to White populations in the United States. Because state Medicaid programs are the largest single payer for pregnancy care in the country, changes to Medicaid policies are an important way to implement structural interventions to promote racial equity. 

Principal Investigator: Dara D. Mendez - University of Pittsburgh

The removal and placement of Indian children away from their families and communities is a central component of historical trauma. Indian child welfare practice must contend with both the restoration of balance at the level of the individual the family and the community while negotiating with a system which has been an instrument of community disruption in the past. The 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was designed to address the race equity issues in the child welfare system that historically and disproportionately harm Indigenous youth and families. 

Principal Investigator: Claudette Grinnell-Davis - University of Oklahoma

Within the local government context, municipal code enforcement involves relatively entry-level decision makers operating across a highly uneven and diverse tapestry of neighborhoods and living situations. Implicit in code enforcement practices is a blending of objective health and safety concerns with highly subjective social and cultural norms.

Principal Investigator: Andrew J. Greenlee - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Infant mortality, defined as the death of a baby after birth up to one year of age, is a national indicator of population-level health. The United States has an average infant mortality rate (IMR) of 6 deaths per 1,000 live births, a rate that is more than 70% higher than other comparable, high-resource nations.

Principal Investigator: David L. Albright - University of Alabama

The research team will work with individuals with lived experience in the justice system to contribute to a participatory action research-informed approach, with the goal of understanding how the impacts and policy changes uncovered translate into the human experience—including implications for well-being, health, and mental health. 

Principal Investigator: Brit Henderson - MDRC Center for Data Insights and Center for Criminal Justice Research

Senate Bill 535 and Assembly Bill 1550, combined, require the state to dedicate a minimum of 35 percent of revenues raised through Cap-and-Trade to communities that are environmentally overburdened and socially vulnerable. This was an explicit effort to promote health, economic, and racial equity in California's climate policy strategy. This project will research and evaluate the implementation of the $12.6 billion California Climate Investment program (SB 535 and AB 1550) in creating solutions that promote health, economic, and racial equity in environmentally disadvantaged communities.

Principal Investigator: Alvaro S. Sanchez - Greenlining Institute

This project will estimate the effects of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a policy intended to reduce inequality through financial access, on disparities in entrepreneurship, employment, and poverty outcomes by race and ethnicity, asking whether the CRA reduces racial inequality in entrepreneurship, employment, and income. 

Principal Investigator: John S. Earle - George Mason University

This study develops a national picture of home energy policies and programs, examines differences in receipt for three energy service cases, and explores barriers for households of color. Along with presenting the first cross-case comparison in the scholarly field, the research team hopes to inform discussions of improvements in energy providers' programming and prompt conversations around energy as another source of racial disparity. 

Principal Investigator: Diana Hernandez - Columbia University

This project will evaluate the impact of resolutions declaring racism a public health crisis on subsequent policy development and implementation.

Principal Investigator: Linnea I. Laestadius - University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee