We distilled and contextualized evidence to inform decision-makers' efforts to address pressing child health issues.


Leveraging Medicaid & the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to Improve Family Health Outcomes

Our work on payment reform, which spans PolicyLab’s five research portfolios, recognizes that sustainable financing models are often necessary to implement and scale the best practices identified by research. Payment reform can also be a powerful policy lever for supporting the pediatric health system to better address health equity and the adverse health effects caused by poverty and systemic racism.

Through briefs, input to rulemaking processes, and ongoing engagement with policymakers, payers, and advocates, we’re compiling the evidence and exploring levers for sustainably financing pediatric delivery system innovations that improve equitable delivery of health care, with a particular goal of leveraging Medicaid and CHIP to support healthy development and improve family health outcomes.

As part of these efforts, we released a policy brief in partnership with Reach Out and Read, providing recommendations on how states can use Medicaid and CHIP to support early literacy promotion in pediatric primary care, as well as examples of how several states are already implementing this approach.

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"PolicyLab continues to be an invaluable partner and resource to Maternity Care Coalition as we advocate for equitable Medicaid reform. With a focus on reducing racial disparities and improving birth outcomes, Maternity Care Coalition looks to PolicyLab for innovative research, actionable policy recommendations, and for a unique perspective on the intersection of maternal health policy and child health outcomes."

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Sara Jann

Director of Policy & Advocacy, Maternity Care Coalition

Engaging With Policymakers

PolicyLab works closely with stakeholders in policy decision-making to provide research expertise and inform policy efforts on a range of issues impacting families. For example:

  • After sharing our policy brief on leveraging the pediatric setting to address postpartum depression, we engaged with state Medicaid policymakers in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey on how the brief’s recommendations could inform maternity care alternative payment models being developed or tested.
  • After reading her blog post on how to make nutrition education for teens accurate, comprehensive, and inclusive, the PA Department of Health’s Health Equity Action Team invited Dr. Alix Timko to share her research and expertise on this topic during a spring 2023 meeting.
  • PolicyLab conducted formative research to better understand the perspectives of community members and policy stakeholders to inform the Philadelphia Maternal Health Community Action Network's development of a pilot of a guaranteed income program for pregnant and postpartum Philadelphians.
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Making Actionable Recommendations

Adolescent access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services has been in the spotlight this year, and our experts continue to contribute their research and expertise to inform local, state and federal policies in this space. We convened a panel of pediatricians, researchers, and experts in HIV care, STI testing, and contraception for a virtual conversation to discuss how researchers can include youth perspectives in understanding their reproductive and sexual health needs, as well as how policy can address gaps in care. On our blog, we launched a series that uses data and research to break down the downstream effects of limiting youth access to comprehensive reproductive health care.

In addition, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed a bill in 2022 supporting expedited partner therapy (EPT), which allows providers to help prevent spread of STIs by giving patients extra medication or a prescription to give to their sex partner(s). This is an issue PolicyLab, alongside many actors, has been working to advance for years, including most recently through an issue brief that offers guidance to other states looking to make a similar policy change.

Centering Youth in Supporting Access to Comprehensive Reproductive and Sexual Health Services

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Utilizing Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) to Support Pennsylvania Youth's Sexual Health

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In a Post-Roe World, Access to Contraception is Critical for Adolescents

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Access to Comprehensive Reproductive Health Care is an Adolescent Health Issue

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Informing Policymaking Processes

One of PolicyLab’s mechanisms for sharing our research with decision-makers is through submitting responses to requests for comment on proposed policies at the state and federal levels. For example, PolicyLab experts weighed in on efforts to fix the “family glitch” in the Affordable Care Act marketplace to ensure families have access to affordable health coverage, made recommendations for updates to the WIC food packages, provided feedback on a national strategy to support family caregivers, and expressed support for continuous Medicaid eligibility in the postpartum period, to name a few.

This approach offers a direct avenue to inform the policymaking process with evidence and can result in our research-based recommendations being incorporated into final regulations.

Proposed Rule on Affordability of Employer Coverage for Family Members of Employees


Proposed Rule on Revisions in WIC Food Packages


Recognizing and Supporting Kinship Caregivers: A New National Strategy Offers Opportunities


Letter to Delaware: Proposed Public Notice on Postpartum Continuous Eligibility


"The PolicyLab team served as an essential partner to decision-makers in state government as we navigated the delicate balance of best practices and pragmatism for numerous services for children and adolescents during the pandemic. PolicyLab regularly served as a resource and sounding board when government needed that assistance most."

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Tara B. Piechowicz

Vice President, GSL Government Consulting & former Deputy Chief of Staff in Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s Administration