Research can drive improvements in programs and policies (evidence-based practice), but it should also reflect the insights and complexities of the real world (practice-based evidence).
Laudy Aron is a senior fellow in the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute. Since joining Urban in 1992, she has spent over 25 years conducting research and policy analysis on a wide range of social welfare issues, including health and disability, education, employment and training, homelessness, and family violence. She directed and coedited a ground-breaking 2013 study for the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine on US Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health, which found a large and growing US “health disadvantage” relative to other high-income countries. Her work focuses on how social and economic conditions shape health and well-being, and how social welfare programs (broadly defined) can best support healthy human development across the life course and over time and place.
Throughout her career, Aron has conceptualized, designed, and fielded studies that are of greatest use to policymakers, program officials, and other interested stakeholders. Her many publications include books, book chapters, journal articles, and opinion pieces on topics ranging from social determinants of health to urban education reform. From 2007 to 2012, she served as a senior program officer with the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education at the National Academy of Sciences, and as director of policy research at the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Aron holds a BS in mathematics from McGill University and an MA in demography from the University of Pennsylvania.