India Policy Insights investigates variation in the quality of maternal and newborn care between smaller areas within districts in India

Maps of India showing maternal and newborn health

Researchers affiliated with the India Policy Insights initiative have published the findings of a cross-sectional study  in JAMA Network Open that reports there being more variation in maternal and newborn care quality (measured by 11 individual components of care) in smaller, “within-district” geographic areas compared to the district- and state-level, suggesting that “policy around maternal and child health care needs to be designed more precisely to consider district mean and…

HAALSI study evaluates less expensive and easier to implement method to assess salt consumption at the population level in rural South Africa

HAALSI men and women

South Africa has introduced regulations to reduce sodium in processed foods. Researchers affiliated with the HAALSI study have found that spot urine samples, a less expensive (and less complicated) method of assessing salt consumption, are a viable alternative to the standard 24-h urine collection method for evaluating the population median 24hrUNa excretion. The findings, published in the Journal of Hypertension, “could play an important role for governments and public health…

Paid sick leave has added benefit of reducing gender inequality

Head shot of Daniel Schneider

Faculty member Daniel Schneider has co-authored a research article in Health Affairs that draws from the findings of the Shift Project regarding paid sick leave for low-wage workers and gender inequality. Schneider and his co-author Kristen Harknett report that there was limited access to paid leave, especially among women. In states and localities that paid for sick leave, however, the benefit was more widely accessed and the gender disparity was…

Safeguarding the health of residential addiction treatment center workers could reduce worker turnover (and help their patients have better outcomes!)

Sign that says "Addiction Recovery"

In response to the opioid epidemic and the additional strains of the pandemic, a study published in Social Science & Medicine parses out which socio-contextual factors were found to be affecting provider health and turnover. Authors include HCPDS Director Lisa Berkman, faculty member Laura Kubzansky and former postdoctoral fellow Erika Sabbath. Photo:

Researchers make the public health case for why alcohol labels are in need of an update

Glass of red wine from Flickr

Recent Harvard Bell Fellow Anna Grummon, PhD, and her colleague Marissa G. Hall, PhD, penned a Perspective in the New England Journal of Medicine about why the well documented risks of alcohol consumption should be better explained via redesigned warning labels in order to better inform consumers. The two co-authors, along with several other colleagues, also published a study in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, that evaluated which words…

How is political party polarization affecting population health? Study delves into COVID-19 mortality rates and stress on ICU capacity from 4/21–3/22

Republican elephant and Democratic donkey

A novel study published in Lancet Regional Health – Americas by HCPDS faculty member Nancy Krieger, PhD, and her colleagues examines links between the political ideology of U.S. elected officials across all 435 U.S. Congressional districts and the COVID-19 outcomes of their constituents. Findings point to “the higher the exposure to political conservatism, the higher the COVID-19 mortality rates and stress on hospital intensive care unit (ICU) capacity.” photo: DonkeyHotey…

Study looks at the mortality impact of covid-19 pandemic on diverse sub-groups of Asian Americans

headshot of Sung Park

A pre-print (not yet peer-reviewed) article in medRxiv authored by our recent Sloan Fellow on Aging and Work Sung S. Park, PhD, and her colleagues reveals that life expectancy during the pandemic amongst the six largest Asian American subgroups ( Asian Indians, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese) is not equal. “All major Asian subgroups except Japanese experienced greater losses of life in 2019–2020 as well as cumulatively (2019-2021) than…

NBC News reports: “Conservative policies linked to higher mortality among working-age people, except when it comes to marijuana”

Head shot of Jennifer Karas Montez and Jason Beckfield

A study published in PLOS ONE by our former RWJF Health & Society Scholar Jennifer Karas Montez, PhD, our associate director Jason Beckfield, PhD, and their colleagues has found that “more liberal policies on the environment, gun safety, labor, economic taxes, and tobacco taxes in a state [and more conservative marijuana policies] were associated with lower mortality in that state.”

U.S. Surgeon General releases framework for workplace mental health and well-being

Five essentials for workplace mental health and worker well-being

Today, the U.S. Surgeon General has taken a strong step to help support the mental health and well-being of American workers by releasing a comprehensive website that outlines the five essentials that employers can focus on to help create workplaces that are “engines of well-being.” The robust website points to both the Work and Well-Being Initiative employer toolkit as well as the Work, Family & Health Network STAR toolkit from…

India Policy Insights announces the first-ever interactive policy dashboard for India’s 543 Parliamentary Constituencies

Screen shot of PC tracker

India Policy Insights (IPI), the flagship project of the Geographic Insights Lab at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, has developed a first-ever interactive policy dashboard for India’s 543 Parliamentary Constituencies (PCs). This public interactive tool provides health, nutrition, and development data that specifically aligns with the political units represented by India’s democratically elected Members of Parliament (MPs), who are responsible for overseeing effective policy implementation for their…