Integrating racial equity and policy to improve child health

diversitydatakids.org introduces the Policy Equity Assessment method in Health Affairs
Published: 12.08.2014 Updated: 01.16.2020

The U.S. child population is rapidly becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, yet there are persistent racial/ethnic gaps in child health. Improving and expanding policies to reduce these gaps is increasingly a mandate of government agencies. Identifying effective policies requires a rigorous approach, yet there is a lack of information about which policies improve equity. This article introduces the Policy Equity Assessment, a framework that combines policy assessment and rigorous equity methods to both synthesize existing research and identify and conduct new analyses of policies’ ability to reduce racial/ethnic inequities.

We applied the Policy Equity Assessment to three policies: Head Start, the Family and Medical Leave Act and a federal housing assistance program known as Section 8. Our results show racial/ethnic inequities in access to benefits and substantial data and evidence gaps regarding the impact of policies in improving racial/ethnic equity. These results should motivate policy makers to strengthen equity analysis.

Pamela Joshi
Pamela Joshi
Policy Research Director
Dolores Acevedo Garcia
Dolores Acevedo-Garcia
Director, Professor of Human Development and Social Policy
Alison Earle
Alison Earle
Expert Lindsay Rosenfeld
Lindsay Rosenfeld
Researcher
Erin Hardy
Erin Hardy
Early Childhood Research Director
Acknowledgement

The diversitydatakids.org project gratefully acknowledges support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.