Laudan Aron

Co-Director
Organization: Urban Institute

Laudan (Laudy) Aron, MA, is a Senior Fellow with the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center and co-directs Urban’s cross-center initiative on the Social Determinants of Health. She directed the groundbreaking 2013 study, Shorter Lives, Poorer Health, for the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine. That study documented a large and growing US “health disadvantage” affecting almost all Americans. Laudy first joined Urban in 1992 and has spent over 25 years conducting research and policy analysis on a wide range of social welfare issues, including health and disability, education, employment and training, housing and homelessness, and social protection and justice. Her work focuses on how social and economic conditions shape health and well-being, and how social welfare programs and policies (broadly defined) can best support healthy human development across the life course and over time and place.

  • This study will examine how social spending and Medicaid policies influence child health and development. Analysis will be based on NSCH data matched by birth cohort and state to historical government spending data from the Census of Governments. Multivariate analysis will be used to examine the impacts of state spending by developmental phase on health.
  • Greater scheduling predictability may reduce parental stress and increase child care stability, job stability, and income. Researchers will use qualitative and quantitative methods to evaluate the implementation of the Oregon law and analyze the impacts on family and child health outcomes.

  • Birth outcomes, including infant mortality and low birth weight, are shockingly poor in the U.S. Researchers will assess whether the ACA increased intended pregnancies, reduced prepregnancy smoking, and affected contraception and birth outcomes among women covered by Medicaid--and whether these changes reduced disparities across racial and ethnic groups.

  • The impact of the opioid epidemic on children, their families, and on child-serving systems (early childhood education, schools, child welfare, etc.) is not well understood. This exploratory project will examine some of the most critical dimensions, urgent challenges, and important nuances for policymakers and others, drawing on a review of the existing literature and a deeper dive into two states at the forefront of the opioid epidemic.
  • This series of case studies identifies and describes several emerging and promising interventions that sit at the intersection of housing and health across the country. Interventions reflect a variety of approaches and models from a diversity of communities and will span both the public and private sectors.
  • Nutrition and Physical Activity
    Food Pantry Packages and Diabetes Control
    This study examines whether a community intervention monitoring glucose and providing diabetes appropriate food can improve health and reduce health care utilization. It builds on Feeding America’s Intervention Trial for Health-Diabetes Mellitus (FAITH-DM) study with a new follow-up round of data collection and new data analyses.
  • This study looks at the effects of federal and state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and minimum wage policies during a mother’s pregnancy and childhood on parental and child health outcomes using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (1984-present).
  • This study examines state level regulations that are being used to promote access to care for primary care services and prescription drugs in private insurance plans. Data are being drawn from a regulatory review of all 50 states and a more in-depth review of activities in six states.
  • The health and well-being of people are intimately tied to the conditions of life in their communities—conditions that structure opportunities and pathways for lifelong and even inter-generational well-being. Philanthropic efforts to improve community health must attend to the many systems that shape life conditions by focusing not only on whom, what, or where to fund, but equally importantly, on how to fund. The Urban Institute’s recent comprehensive review of health-focused community development investments made by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation between 2013 and 2019 yielded a wide range of insights about how philanthropic investments can drive enduring systems change needed to improve community health, well-being, and equity across the nation.

    October 1, 2021