Safety Net Policies and Health

The existence of safety net programs, like food assistance and paid family leave, provide supports for low- and moderate-income families. Our research examines whether receipt of these supports can improve health outcomes for children and adults.


Effects of WIC on Health

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides nutritional support for low-income pregnant and postpartum women and young children. The program was revised in 2009 to better align with current nutritional guidelines. Our research examines the impact of the program and its revisions on areas such as maternal nutrition, birth outcomes, and child health.

Funding: NHLBI K08;  UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health; CDC Grant U18DP006526-01-01; UCSF Preterm Birth Initiative.

Featured Publications:

  • Predictors of WIC Uptake Among Low-Income Pregnant Individuals: A Longitudinal Nationwide Analysis. Collin, D., Guan, A., Hamad, R. 
    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2023 April. PubMed
  • Effects of the revised WIC food package on women’s and children’s health: a quasi-experimental study. Guan, A., Batra, A., Hamad, R. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2022 Nov. PubMed
  • Impact of fruit and vegetable benefits on pregnancy outcomes among WIC participants: A natural experiment. Wang, G., Seligman, H., Levi, R., Hamad, R. Translational Behavioral Medicine. 2022 Sept. PubMed
  • The effect of the 2009 WIC revision on maternal and child health: A quasi-experimental study. Pulvera R, Collin DF, Hamad R. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2022 July. PubMed
  • The Revised WIC Food Package and Child Development: A Quasi-Experimental Study. Guan A, Hamad R, Batra A, Bush NR, Tylavsky FA, LeWinn KZ. Pediatrics. 2021 Feb. PubMed
  • The Impact of the Revised WIC Food Package on Maternal Nutrition During Pregnancy and Postpartum. Hamad R, Batra A, Karasek D, LeWinn KZ, Bush NR, Davis RL, Tylavsky FA. Am J Epidemiol. 2019 Aug. PubMed
  • Association of Revised WIC Food Package With Perinatal and Birth Outcomes: A Quasi-Experimental Study. JAMA Pediatr. 2019. Hamad R, Collin DF, Baer RJ, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL. PubMed

Effects of Paid Family Leave on Health

The U.S. is the only high-income country without a national paid family leave (PFL) policy, though a handful of U.S. states have implemented PFL policies in recent years. Our research examines the impact of these state policies on parental and child health.

Funding: NHLBI K08; UCSF Hellman Fellows Fund, UCSF Irene Perstein Award, and the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health. 

Featured Publications:

  • Paid Family Leave and Mental Health in the U.S.: A Quasi-Experimental Study of State Policies. Irish AM, White JS, Modrek S, Hamad R. Am J Prev Med. 2021. PubMed
  • The effect of California's paid family leave policy on parent health: A quasi-experimental study. Lee BC, Modrek S, White JS, Batra A, Collin DF, Hamad R. Soc Sci Med. 2020 Apr. PubMed
  • Paid Family Leave Effects on Breastfeeding: A Quasi-Experimental Study of US Policies. Hamad R, Modrek S, White JS. Am J Public Health. 2019 Jan. PubMed