The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has announced grants totaling $25 million over three years to fund research on policies, laws, system interventions, and community dynamics that can improve health and well-being, with an emphasis on sectors such as transportation and housing not typically associated with health.
The grants will fund efforts to identify analytic methods that help determine whether the consequences of specific actions — both interventions and policy changes — actually improve health, well-being, and equity. Recipients include the Evidence for Action initiative at the University of California at San Francisco, which is conducting investigator-initiated research that spans the full range of topics and methodologies needed to build an evidence base for a Culture of Health; the Policies for Action initiative at Temple University, which will explore how policies, laws, and regulations in the public and private sectors can support a Culture of Health; and the University of Kentucky's Systems for Action program, which is exploring ways to better align and integrate public health delivery and financing systems with health care, social services, and other community systems.
"For decades, we have supported a research agenda that supports evidence-based approaches to solve some of the most complex health issues facing America, but we want to go even deeper to address root causes of inequitable health outcomes and possible solutions based in creative collaboration across sectors and disciplines," said Alonzo Plough, chief science officer and vice president of research, valuation and learning at RWJF. "This funding will support analyses of the impact of innovative programs and policies on overall health and well-being. We will explore topics that extend beyond the traditional understanding of health as just the absence of illness, to a broader understanding of well-being that is influenced by a range of factors affecting communities, the environment, and other social and economic determinants of health."