Education Policies and Health

National, state, and local policies, as well as the characteristics of school districts and schools, impact students’ educational and economic outcomes. Our research examines how these factors also affect students’ physical and mental health, evaluating policies and interventions that may lead to more equitable short- and long-term health outcomes for students.


Leveraging a Natural Experiment to Estimate the Effects of School Racial Segregation on Cardiovascular Risk Factors among Youth and Young Adults

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors disproportionately affect Black adults, and these disparities are evident early in the life course. One possible explanation for racial disparities in CVD is that Black youth often attend highly racially segregated schools, which may limit economic opportunities and increase discrimination and stress. The goal of this research is to examine the short-term and long-term effects of school racial segregation on risk factors for heart disease. We will also assess whether specific subgroups may be more vulnerable to school segregation. This will inform the development of social and health policies and school-based interventions to address Black-White disparities in heart disease.

Funding:   NHLBI R01; Research Evaluation and Allocation Committee and Huntington Fund at the University of California San Francisco

Featured Publications:

Assessing the Impact of Educational Interventions on Reducing Disparities in Hypertension and Related Biomarkers

Improving our understanding of social factors that reduce rates of hypertension among high-risk subgroups is a critical step in reducing disparities in cardiovascular disease. Our work examines the effects of policies that increase the duration and quality of education on hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors and outcomes in the general population. This research has the potential to inform future societal strategies to reduce hypertension among high-risk subgroups and improve cardiovascular disease disparities.

Funding: NHLBI K08NHLBI R01; Research Evaluation and Allocation Committee and Huntington Fund at the University of California San Francisco

Featured Publications:

  • School racial segregation and long-term cardiovascular health among Black adults in the US: A quasi-experimental study. PLoS Med 2022. Kim MH, Schwartz GL, White JS, Glymour MM, Reardon SF, Kershaw KN, Gomez SL, Collin DF, Inamdar PP, Wang G, Hamad R. PubMed
  • Educational attainment and cardiovascular disease in the United States: A quasi-experimental instrumental variables analysis. PLoS Med. 2019. Hamad R, Nguyen TT, Bhattacharya J, Glymour MM, Rehkopf DH. PubMed
  • Quality and quantity: The association of state-level educational policies with later life cardiovascular disease. Prev Med. 2019. Hamad R, Nguyen TT, Glymour MM, Vable AM, Manly JJ, Rehkopf DH. PubMed
  • Differential associations between state-level educational quality and cardiovascular health by race: Early-life exposures and late-life health. SSM Popul Health. 2019. Vable AM, Nguyen TT, Rehkopf DH, Glymour MM, Hamad R. PubMed