Funded Projects

Income is considered one of the key underlying social determinants of health. However, there has been relatively limited research on the health effects of policies designed to increase income for vulnerable families.

Principal Investigator: Sylvia Allegretto - University of California, Berkeley

Childhood vaccines play a major role in minimizing the incidence of vaccine-preventable disease. While all states accommodate medical vaccine exemptions, certain states also allow for waivers on the basis of religious or philosophical objections.

Principal Investigator: Avi Dor - George Washington University

In 2016, the Chicago Police Department developed a pilot pre-arrest diversion strategy, the Westside Narcotics Diversion and Treatment Initiative (WNDTI), to respond to the opioid crisis in underserved Chicago neighborhoods. The goal was to encourage police officers to redirect low-level drug offenders (users and sellers) to treatment, instead of jail and prosecution. This strategy was modeled after a promising program in Seattle, the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD).

Principal Investigator: Harold Pollack - University of Chicago

Springfield, Massachusetts is a mid-sized city with a large community of color population experiencing socioeconomic and health inequities. Historically there has been little infrastructure in Springfield to support active transportation and recreational walking and biking, so in 2015, Springfield City Council adopted a city-wide “Complete Streets” resolution.

Principal Investigator: Kathleen Szegda - Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts

In response to research on food deserts across the country, scholars and public health practitioners are encouraging limited service food stores, like discount stores, to expand their healthy food selections and accept SNAP and WIC benefits. By becoming WIC-authorized, these stores would be required to carry a certain number of healthy food items, which can improve food access in low-income communities that may lack a full-line grocery store.

Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Racine - UNC Charlotte

Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) currently comprise nearly a quarter of US expenditures on children. The programs have the potential to significantly reduce health and socioeconomic disparities, yet little is known about the impact of these programs on later generations’ health and well-being. 

Principal Investigator: Marianne Page - UCD Center for Poverty Research, University of California Davis

The US is one of three industrialized countries without universal access to paid sick leave. Thirty-five percent of all full-time employees lack this coverage. Among low-income and part-time employees, uninsurance rates exceed 80 percent. In addition to concerns about inequality, worker well-being, and productivity, a lack of paid sick leave also contributes to the spread of disease, when ill workers are forced to choose between their health and their job.

Principal Investigator: Nicolas R. Ziebarth - Department for Policy Analysis and Management, Cornell University

Low-income housing assistance programs represent a potentially powerful policy lever to promote population health and reduce health disparities. Yet, research on the impact of federal low-income housing programs on health outcomes remains highly limited, and no study to date has adequately explored whether the monetary value of housing assistance has an impact on health outcomes.

Principal Investigator: Thomas Byrne - School of Social Work, Boston University

Starting January 1, 2018, New York State’s Paid Family Leave Act—a new state law mandating that employers provide paid family leave benefits through an employee-paid insurance policy—will be effective. This study will evaluate the impact of this law, focusing on three questions:

Principal Investigator: Barbara A. Dennison - New York State Department of Health; School of Public Health, University at Albany-SUNY

Prior research suggests that universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) programs can generate lifetime benefits, but the mechanisms generating these effects are not well-understood. In 2014, New York City made all 4-year-old children eligible for UPK programs that emphasized developmental screening. We examine the effect of this program on the health of children enrolled in Medicaid using a difference-in-regression discontinuity design that exploits both the introduction of UPK and the fixed age cut-off for enrollment.

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