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

This study will examine how social spending and Medicaid policies influence child health and development. Analysis will be based on NSCH data matched by birth cohort and state to historical government spending data from the Census of Governments. Multivariate analysis will be used to examine the impacts of state spending by developmental phase on health.
This study looks at the effects of federal and state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and minimum wage policies during a mother’s pregnancy and childhood on parental and child health outcomes using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (1984-present).
This study examines state level regulations that are being used to promote access to care for primary care services and prescription drugs in private insurance plans. Data are being drawn from a regulatory review of all 50 states and a more in-depth review of activities in six states.

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.

Senior Communications Manager

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.