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UHC Awarded Grant to Study Impacts of Paid Maternity and Paternity Leave in Latin America

father pushing a stroller down street

December 21, 2021

Drexel’s Urban Health Collaborative has been awarded a $250,000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to study the impacts of paid maternity and paternity leave policies on health outcomes in Latin America and their potential for the United States, a research project that will be led by Ana Ortigoza, MD, PhD, MPH, MS, senior research scientist II, Urban Health Collaborative, and Ana V. Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, Dean of the Dornsife School of Public Health and Director, Urban Health Collaborative.

The goal of this study is to examine the impact of expansions of paid maternity and paternity leave on the health of infants and adults in 366 cities from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Peru. These countries have recently implemented extensions in days of paternity and maternity leave that are different across countries and within countries across time. Parental leave policies are considered contributing to gender equity issues for several reasons. These policies often intend to secure both women’s income during leave and their return to work while promoting mother and infant well-being. These policies can also further promote gender equity by facilitating greater participation of fathers in childcare and of mothers in the labor market. This study will use data from SALURBAL project in a longitudinal design across the period of 2009-2019. Studying these policies in Latin America will help inform paid leave policies in the US, and their impact on high maternal mortality and inequities in infant mortality and adult life expectancy by socioeconomic status and race, particularly in urban environments.

This study will draw on the expertise of several investigators of the SALURBAL (Urban Health in Latin America) project, Marcio Alazraqui, MD, MPH, PhD (Argentina); Waleska Caiaffa, MD, PhD (Brazil); Nelson Gouveia, PhD (Brazil); Lorena Rodriguez, MD (Chile); Philipp Hessel, PhD (Colombia); Mónica Mazariegos, PhD (Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Costa Rica); Tonatiuh Barrientos, PhD (México); and Jaime Miranda, PhD (Perú). These experts are part of the Maternal, perinatal, child, and adolescent health (MAPECA) working group within the SALURBAL project as well as policy stakeholders in Latin America and USA and members of the Women’s Economic Imperative, a non-profit organization oriented to promote initiatives that increase opportunities for women’s economic empowerment.