Integrating racial equity and policy to improve child health introduces the Policy Equity Assessment method in Health Affairs
Kimberly Geronimo,
Bethany Romano,
Alison Earle,
Published: 12.08.2014 Updated: 01.16.2024


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 tool 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 Section 8 housing vouchers. 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.

Headshot of Pamela Joshi
Pamela Joshi
Policy Research Director
Headshot of Dolores Acevedo-Garcia
Dolores Acevedo-Garcia
Director, Professor of Human Development and Social Policy
Expert Lindsay Rosenfeld
Lindsay Rosenfeld
Erin Hardy
Erin Hardy
Senior Research Scientist , NORC

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