Policy Research to Improve Health

In 2015, the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation founded the Policies for Action program to encourage broad-based research to identify policies, laws, and other regulatory tools in the public and private sectors that can contribute to the building of a Culture of Health. Administered through the National Coordinating Center at Temple University’s Center for Health Law, Policy and Practice, the program seeks to work with experts from diverse fields such as healthcare, public health, early childhood development, education, transportation, housing, architectural design, built environments, and economics to understand how policies that affect these areas also impact health.

In January 2015, the Policies for Action program released a call for proposals for research that, “… generates actionable evidence—the data and information that can guide legislators and other policymakers, public agencies, educators, advocates, community groups, and individuals. The research may examine established laws, regulations, and policies as well as potential new policies and approaches. The research funded under this call for proposals (CFP) should inform the significant gaps in our knowledge regarding what policies can serve as levers to improve population health and well-being, and achieve greater levels of health equity.”

Particular consideration will be given to projects that:

Focus on early childhood, or have lifelong, even multi-generational, benefits.

  • Are preventive rather than remedial.
  • Advance a community’s own priorities.
  • Highlight collaboration between the public and private sectors, or innovations within the private sector.
  • Address people or places or systems that have been traditionally underserved or unattended.
  • Transform or bridge major service systems, such as between health care and public health systems, or other systems that influence health in communities, such as social services or education.
  • Influence values and beliefs integral to a Culture of Health. Public policies often reflect the priorities and beliefs of the voting public—but may also in turn influence social norms, beliefs and behaviors (e.g. change in attitudes about secondhand smoke due to smoke free air laws).


Read the call for proposals for more information. Also see the Policies for Action website.