"I became very interested in how illness, disability, health behavior, health care, and death in one individual could have consequences for other individuals to whom they are connected. I had difficulty persuading funders that the effects were plausible or of sufficient magnitude. This award was instrumental in helping me get this project off the ground."—Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD
For two decades, the Investigator Awards program has built the foundations of health policy by supporting innovative projects, unlikely to receive funding elsewhere, by researchers in sociology, history, political science, law, and ethics, among others.
Dates of Program: 1993 to 2014
Description: RWJF became concerned that it was not discovering future leaders in health policy. Many in the field also considered health policy research too narrowly focused and data driven to inform the critical challenges facing the nation.
Its response: In 1991, RWJF began the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, which relies on a competitive application process to support researchers in numerous fields who think creatively about the most important problems affecting American health and health care.
The program aims to build the foundations of future health policy. Grants range up to $335,000 over two to four years.
"The award came at a turning point for me. No one was interested in funding research on discrimination in health care, only short-range 'practical' solutions that swept these larger and more controversial problems under the rug."—David B. Smith, PhD
"This award set Jo Phelan, PhD, and myself off on an entirely new research agenda that has dramatically shaped our careers.”—Bruce Link, PhD
The program has awarded more than $56 million to 224 investigators pursuing 175 projects. Through August 2013, Investigators have published 91 books, 173 book chapters, and 965 articles in more than 150 journals.
Investigators have shed light on longstanding health challenges, such as the social determinants of health, the impact of firearms on public health, the organization of physician practices on the quality of medical care, and hospital nurse staffing levels on patient outcomes.
Investigators have influenced health care reform. For example, in her dissenting opinion asserting that the Supreme Court should have upheld the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cited the work of investigators Theda Skocpol, PhD; Mark Hall, JD; and Andrea Campbell, PhD.
Numerous investigators have received outside awards for work pursued under the program. For example, many have received Distinguished Investigator Awards from AcademyHealth, and more than 40 have been elected to the Institute of Medicine.
#RWJF Investigators bring sociology, history, poli sci, law, ethics, etc. to field of health policy.
- The Health Care Safety Net in a Post-Reform World
- Social Security and Mortality: The Role of Income Support Policies and Population Health in the United States
- Seizing Opportunities Under the Affordable Care Act for Transforming the Mental and Behavioral Health System
- Replicating High-Quality Medical Care Organizations
"The award allowed me to entirely change the focus of my research and investigate a topic that has received little scrutiny despite high prevalence: mobility problems among adults with chronic conditions."—Lisa I. Iezzoni, MD
While the need to address disparities in care is well known, few strategies for reducing disparities have been studied systematically.
RWJF examines the types of competitive foods - foods and beverages schools offer outside of meal programs - available in our nation's school...
Recent studies have demonstrated a connection between low-socioeconomic status and poor health in children. This study builds upon previous ...
This study examined the impact that race has on the prevalence of self-reported diabetes for Hispanic and non-Hispanic people. Data from the...
In this article, the authors consider the social, structural and symbolic effects of the recent and rapid spread of legal gambling in the Un...
Immigrants and their children are one of the fastest growing components of the U.S. population. One in five Americans under the age of 18 is...
Most studies investigating links between social capital and health have relied on work by Robert Putnam who conceptualized social capital as...
The present article considered cardiovascular patients' adherence to physicians' medication recommendations. Nonadherence was defined as fol...
This study examined the prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among children in the United States. Also of interest ...
The current article explored risk factors for iron deficiency for toddlers in the United States with a focus on Hispanic toddlers. Data from...
The research presented in this article compared the density and concentration of pro-tobacco media messages in African-American and White ma...
This article describes efforts to use information on influenza burden and vaccine efficacy to estimate how influenza vaccine recommendations...