National Coordinating Center

The Urban Institute

The Policies for Action program is overseen by the Urban Institute, building on the organization's wealth of experience in health, social, and economic policy, including its cross-center initiative on the social determinants of health.

As the national coordinating center, Urban works in close partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to manage the program and its network of grantees, providing strategic direction, technical assistance and training, and communication and outreach support. Urban also conducts high-impact policy research to complement the growing portfolio of Policies for Action-funded work happening across the country. Current projects include investigations of housing assistance programs, work policies, health care quality and access, income supplements, and more.

Research projects

The impact of the opioid epidemic on children, their families, and on child-serving systems (early childhood education, schools, child welfare, etc.) is not well understood. This exploratory project will examine some of the most critical dimensions, urgent challenges, and important nuances for policymakers and others, drawing on a review of the existing literature and a deeper dive into two states at the forefront of the opioid epidemic.

Federal housing assistance benefits 11 million people through three main programs: public housing, project-based Section 8 housing, and housing choice vouchers. Researchers use multiple datasets to examine the effects of federal housing assistance programs on food security, health-promoting behaviors, and health outcomes.

This series of case studies identifies and describes several emerging and promising interventions that sit at the intersection of housing and health across the country. Interventions reflect a variety of approaches and models from a diversity of communities and will span both the public and private sectors.
This study examines whether a community intervention monitoring glucose and providing diabetes appropriate food can improve health and reduce health care utilization. It builds on Feeding America’s Intervention Trial for Health-Diabetes Mellitus (FAITH-DM) study with a new follow-up round of data collection and new data analyses.

Who We Are

Co-Director

Lisa Dubay, PhD, is a Senior Fellow with the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center and co-directs Urban’s cross-center initiative on the social determinants of health. Dr. Dubay is a nationally recognized expert on the Medicaid and CHIP programs, and is currently involved in major evaluations of delivery system reform.

Co-Director

Laudan (Laudy) Aron, MA, is a Senior Fellow with the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center and co-directs Urban’s cross-center initiative on the social determinants of health. Her work focuses on how social welfare programs and policies can best support healthy human development across the life course and over time and place.

Deputy Director

Katie Deming, MS, is a Technical Assistance Specialist with the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center. As P4A's Deputy Director, she oversees the program’s operations, evaluation, and grant management processes.

Communications Director

Jillian West, MA, is the Senior Communications Manager for the Urban Institute’s cross center initiative on the social determinants of health. Through strategic communications, Jillian increases the visibility of grantee research, and forge ties between researchers, policymakers, journalists, and other stakeholders.

Program Manager

Joshua Smith serves as a Project Administrator with the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center, focusing on proposal development, consultant agreements, and budgeting.