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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In the U.S., the key challenge for many households is housing affordability. Households paying more than one-half of a limited total income for rent have very little left over for food, transportation, education, and other critical expenses. And these rent burdens have only been growing. In 1960, fewer than one in four renters was rent-burdened (or paid more than 30 percent of their income on rent); today that fraction is nearly half.

Principal Investigator: Sherry Glied - NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

A growing literature has documented the detrimental effects of housing instability (often generated by evictions and foreclosures) on health. Using the RealtyTrac foreclosure dataset, which includes information on every foreclosure action in the U.S. between 2006 and 2015, the research team will match foreclosures with Medicaid address data and follow units through the foreclosure process (from initial notification that a mortgage holder is behind on their payments through repossession by the lender).

Principal Investigator: Sherry Glied - NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Each day in the U.S. there are approximately half a million individuals detained while awaiting trial. This high rate of pretrial detention may be due both to the widespread use of monetary bail, and to the limited financial resources of most defendants. Less than 50 percent of defendants in the U.S. are able to post bail even when it is set at $5,000 or less. While some defendants are detained for only a few days, others are detained for the entire period prior to the final dispositions of their cases.

Principal Investigator: Sherry Glied - NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

In many jurisdictions, offenders who commit relatively minor offenses are arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the criminal law. Yet subjecting these offenders to pretrial detention, post-conviction incarceration, and searchable arrest and conviction records, may have hidden social costs.

Principal Investigator: Sherry Glied - NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

In recent decades, the “broken windows” approach to policing has led several large U.S. cities to employ the proactive policing program known as “Stop, Question, and Frisk” (SQF). The New York City Police Department (NYPD) made over 5 million such stops between 2002 and 2016.

Principal Investigator: Sherry Glied - NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Late elementary school and middle school has long been seen as a critical point in child development, and several studies have shown that students experience a decline in performance when they transition from elementary to middle or middle to high school, and that they do not recover from these dips. Local school boards may choose to operate schools as K-8 combined elementary and middle schools or as K-5 elementary schools with separate middle schools, but little is known about how this structuring of grades might influence health outcomes or behavior.

Principal Investigator: Sherry Glied - NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Leveraging more than a decade’s worth of data, the researchers will examine relationships between at-risk children’s health and education outcomes, as well as access to public services. This is vital information as states across the country, and Tennessee in particular, adopt new laws and resolutions that encompass a wide range of policy actions related to child health and education.

Principal Investigator: Melinda Buntin - Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

While multiple studies show a positive association between employment status and improved physical and mental health, it is unclear whether this relationship is causal. Building on work in Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas, the research team will analyze the effects of Medicaid work requirements on coverage rates, access to care, and employment among low-income adults.

Principal Investigator: Benjamin Sommers - Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Numerous studies have documented the ACA’s positive effects on coverage, access, and health care quality, but changes in mortality have not yet been rigorously assessed. Using data from a variety of sources, the team will assess the relationship between coverage expansion and population changes in mortality over time.

Principal Investigator: Benjamin Sommers - Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Combining claims data and income eligibility information for low-income adults in Colorado, the research team will investigate the differences in health care utilization, quality, and costs among low-income adults enrolled in Medicaid versus subsidized Marketplace coverage.

Principal Investigator: Benjamin Sommers - Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health