Peter Muennig is a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management and a leading member of Mailman's Global Research Analystics for Population Health (GRAPH) program. His work focuses on the long-term health effects of policy reform to uncover nuances lawmakers might miss, quantifying both return on investment (ROI) and unintended consequences to provide insight on adjusting health policies for healthier lives and a healthier economy.
Muennig and his team assessed Florida's 1994 experiment to overhaul welfare, finding a deadly side effect in the reform that contrubuted to the premature death of hundreds of former welfare recipients. Policy must consider both the benefits and costs of implementation, as well as targeting programs to specific groups when needed.
Current Precision Prevention Work
Muennig continues to explore health outcomes of state-level welfare reforms. He is also using decades of data from families in the 1960s and 1970s to investigate if government-funded pre-kindergarten programs designed to boost cognitive development among low-income children also improves their health. He has found that those that participated in government-funded pre-K as children had more stable family environments, better health insurance coverage, higher earnings, and healthier behaviors as adults. Muennig's next step is to analyze U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) data to determine how and when targeting pre-K programs can be a beneficial public health investment.