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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Prior research suggests that universal pre-kindergarten 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 universal pre-k programs that emphasized developmental and health screening. We examine the effect of this program on health outcomes.
High-quality, early childhood education (ECE) boosts early-life skills in disadvantaged individuals. These skills translate into better outcomes later in life, in areas like employment, education, income, and criminal activity. But ECE is also costly, and as such, it is important to have a complete picture of the social returns throughout life. In particular, it is not known whether ECE can improve health over the course of a lifetime.
Does enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) encourage families to purchase healthier foods and thereby increase the nutrition of those families enrolled in the program?
To answer this central question, this study will use an event-study design coupled with new, high-scale commercial transaction data from a grocery retailer to provide precise evidence on the effect of SNAP receipt on the amount and composition of food purchases. The study will generate evidence on the effects of SNAP enrollment from early childhood through adulthood.
The built environment and housing have pronounced effects on community health. This study will look at the reach of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) programs and their potential to produce healthier rental housing that serves low-income and vulnerable populations. The research will focus on four research questions: