Jody Heymann

Jody Heymann, MD, PhD, is founding director of the WORLD Policy Analysis Center and served as dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health from 2013-2018. 

As director of the WORLD Policy Analysis Center (WORLD), Heymann leads an unprecedented effort to improve the level and quality of comparative policy data available to policymakers, researchers and the public. WORLD examines health and social policies and outcomes in all 193 UN countries. WORLD’s mission is to strengthen equal opportunities worldwide by identifying the most effective public sector approaches, improving the quantity and quality of globally comparative data available, and working in partnerships to support evidence-based improvements in countries worldwide. WORLD has worked with global bodies (WHO, UNICEF, UNDESA, UNESCO, ILO, and others), civil society in over 100 countries, research groups, private sector leaders, and other global change agents. In 2023, WORLD will be launching new policy data on accelerating progress toward achieving gender equality in the economy, with data from 193 countries on topics including girls’ access to education, sexual harassment and discrimination at work, and policies that support gender equality in work and in caregiving across the life course. WORLD’s analyses of constitutions in all 193 UN member countries and their role in strengthening social and economic rights contributed to creating a Partnership for Advancing Constitutional Equal Rights. WORLD’s launches on policies affecting children reached people in 190 countries, as did their No Ceilings partnership with the Clinton and Gates Foundations on equal opportunities for women, men, girls, and boys. Heymann previously held a Canada Research Chair in Global Health and Social Policy at McGill University where she was the founding director of the Institute for Health and Social Policy. While on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, she founded the Project on Global Working Families. Heymann has received numerous honors, including election to the U. S. National Academy of Medicine in 2013 and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2012.

Heymann has authored and edited more than 500 publications, including 19 books. Selected titles include Equality within Our Lifetimes (University of California Press, 2023), Advancing Equality (University of California Press, 2020), Changing Children’s Chances (Harvard University Press, 2013), Making Equal Rights Real (Cambridge University Press, 2012), Lessons in Educational Equality (Oxford University Press, 2012), Protecting Childhood in the AIDS Pandemic (Oxford University Press, 2012), Profit at the Bottom of the Ladder (Harvard Business Press, 2010), Raising the Global Floor (Stanford University Press, 2009), Trade and Health (McGill Queens University Press, 2007), Forgotten Families (Oxford University Press, 2006), and Healthier Societies (Oxford University Press, 2006). 

Center Affiliations


  • PhD, Harvard University, Boston, MA
  • MD, Harvard University, Boston, MA

Areas of Interest

Bridging the gap between research and policymakers by translating research into policies and programs that improve individual and population health. Particular focus on policies that advance equal opportunity, health and economic outcomes.

Selected Publications

  • Heymann SJ, Sprague A and Raub A. Equality within Our Lifetimes: How Laws and Policies Can Close—or Widen—Gender Gaps in Economies Worldwide. University Press of California. (Forthcoming). 
  • Heymann SJ, Varvaro-Toney S, Raub A, Kabir F, and Sprague A. Race, Ethnicity, and Discrimination at Work: A New Analysis of Legal Protections and Gaps in All 193 UN Countries. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal. (Forthcoming).
  • Raub A and Heymann SJ. Assessing National Action through Emergency Paid Leave to Mitigate the Impact of COVID-19-Related School Closures on Working Families in 182 Countries. Global Social Policy. September 2022.
  • Heymann SJ, Moreno G, Raub A, and Sprague A. Progress towards Ending Sexual Harassment at Work? A Comparison of Sexual Harassment Policy in 192 Countries. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice. August 2022.
  • Heymann SJ, Raub A, Waisath W, Earle A, Stek P, and Sprague A. Paid Leave to Meet the Health Needs of Aging Family Members in 193 Countries. Journal of Aging & Social Policy. August 2022.
  • Heymann SJ and Sprague A. Paid Leave and Beyond: The Urgency and Feasibility of Addressing Structural Inequalities Across Race, Gender, and Class. American Journal of Public Health. June 2022.
  • Sprague A, Heymann SJ and Raub A. The ERA in Global Context: Gender Equality in Constitutions Worldwide and the Potential of More Comprehensive Approaches. Columbia Journal of Gender and Law. May 2022.
  • Mendoza M, Brewer T, Smith H, Stein M, and Heymann SJ. Lessons from United States School District Policies and Approaches to Special Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Inclusive Education. April 2022.
  • Raub A and Heymann SJ. Supporting Children’s Health Needs: An Analysis of Paid Leave Policies in 193 Countries. Global Public Health. April 2022.
  • Waisath W, McCormack M, Stek P and Heymann SJ. Dismantling Barriers and Advancing Disability-Inclusive Education: An Examination of National Policies Across 193 Countries. International Journal of Inclusive Education. April 2022.
  • Bhuwania P and Heymann SJ. Tuition-Free Secondary Education and Women’s Attitudes Toward Intimate Partner Violence: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa. Social Science and Medicine Population Health. March 2022.
  • Chai A, Ríos-Salas V, Stek P, and Heymann SJ. Does Enhancing Paid Maternity Leave Policy Help Promote Gender Equality? Evidence from 31 Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Gender Issues. December 2021.
  • Brewer TF, Zhang M, Gordon D, Chung RYN, Dejene N, Fonta CL, Grieve T, Halleröd B, Harris R, Lanau A, Leibbrandt M, Mekonen Y, Muguni B, Najera H, Nandy S, and Heymann SJ. Housing, Sanitation and Living Conditions Affecting SARS-CoV-2 Prevention Interventions in 54 African Countries. Epidemiology & Infection, July 2021.
  • Heymann SJ, Raub A, Pierce B, McCormack M, Post C, Sprague A. Preventing Immigration Detention of Children: A Comparative Study of Laws in 150 Countries. The International Journal of Human Rights. July 2021.
  • Heymann SJ, Sprague A, Earle A, McCormack M, Waisath W, Raub A. US Sick Leave in Global Context: US Eligibility Rules Widen Inequalities Despite Readily Available Solutions. Health Affairs. July 2021.
  • Mays V, Cochran S, Sprague A, Heymann SJ. Social Justice is Not the COVID-19 Vaccine Alone: It is Addressing Structural Racism through Social Policies that Shape Health. American Journal of Public Health. July 2021.
  • Raub A, Khachadourian V, Wong E, Sprague A, Heymann SJ. Ending Sexual Harassment at Work: Creating a Baseline on Laws in 193 Countries. Human Rights Quarterly. May 2021.
  • Heymann SJ and Sprague A. Long Past Due: Why Adopting National Paid Sick Leave is Critical to Health and to Reducing Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities. JAMA Health Network. May 2021.
  • Heymann SJ, Wong E, Waisath W. A Comparative Overview of Disability-Related Employment Laws and Policies in 193 Countries. Journal of Disability Policy Studies. April 2021.
  • Ly Alison, Sprague A, Pierce B, Post C, Heymann SJ. Immigration Detention in the United States: Identifying Alternatives That Comply with Human Rights and Advance Public Health. American Journal of Public Health. April 2021.
  • Raub A, Heymann SJ. Progress in National Policies Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals: Policies that Matter to Income and Its Impact on Health. Annual Review Public Health. April 2021.
  • Raub A, Sprague A, Waisath W, Nandi A, Atabay E, Vincent I, Moreno G, and Heymann SJ. Utilizing a Comparative Policy Resource from the WORLD Policy Analysis Center Covering Constitutional Rights, Laws, and Policies across 193 Countries for Outcome Analysis, Monitoring, and Accountability. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice. March 2021.
  • Sprague A, Raub A, Heymann SJ. Providing a Foundation for Decent Work and Adequate Income During Health and Economic Crises: Constitutional Approaches in 193 Countries. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. October 2020.
  • Heymann SJ, Bose B, Waisath W, Raub A, McCormack M. Legislative Approaches to Non-Discrimination at Work: A Comparative Analysis Across 13 Groups in 193 Countries. Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion. July 2020.
  • Bose B, Heymann SJ. Do Inclusive Education Laws Improve Primary Schooling Among Children with Disabilities? International Journal of Educational Development. June 2020.
  • Omidakhsh N, Sprague A, Heymann SJ. Dismantling Restrictive Gender Norms: Can Better Designed Paternal Leave Policies Help? Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy. June 2020.
  • Heymann SJ, Raub A, Waisath W, McCormack M, Weistroffer R, Moreno G, Wong L, Earle A. Protecting Health During COVID-19 and Beyond: A Global Examination of Paid Sick Leave Design in 193 Countries. Global Public Health. May 2020.
  • Gadoth A, Heymann SJ. Gender parity at scale: Examining correlations of country-level female participation in education and work with measures of men’s and women’s survival. EClinical Medicine. March 2020. 
  • Omid N, Heymann SJ. Improved child marriage laws and its association with changing attitudes and experiences of intimate partner violence: A comparative multi-national study. Journal of Global Health. March 2020. 
  • Chai A, Nandi A, Heymann SJ. Association of Increased Duration of Legislated Paid Maternity Leave with Childhood Diarrhea Prevalence in Low- and Middle-income Countries: A Difference-in-differences Analysis. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. February 2020.
  • Heymann SJ, Sprague A, Raub A. Advancing Equality: How Constitutional Rights can Make a Difference for Everyone. University Press of California. January 2020. 
  • Rozhenkova V, Allmang S, Ly S, Franken D, Heymann SJ. The Role of Comparative City Policy Data in Assessing Progress Toward the Urban Sustainable Development Goals Targets. Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning. December 2019. 
  • Bose B, Heymann SJ. Effects of Tuition-Free Primary Education on Women's Access to Family Planning and on Health Decision-Making: A Cross-National Study. Social Science and Medicine. Published online before print. October 2019. 
  • Wong E, Jou J, Raub A, Heymann SJ. Comparing the Availability of Paid Parental Leave for Same-Sex and Heterosexual Couples in 34 OECD Countries. Journal of Social Policy. September 2019: 1- 21. 
  • Guzman N, Raub A, Earle A, Heymann SJ. The State of Child Labor Protections in 193 Countries: Are Countries Living up to their International Commitments? International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. August 2019: 609 – 626. 
  • Heymann SJ, Levy J, Bose B, Rios-Salas V, Mekonen Y, Swainathan H, Omidakhsh N, Gadoth A, Huh K, Greene M, Darmstadt G. Improving health with programmatic, legal, and policy approaches to reducing gender inequality and changing restrictive gender norms. The Lancet. June 2019. 
  • Berrang-Ford L, Biesbroek R, Ford JD, Lesnikowski A, Tanabe A., Wang F, Chen C, Hsu A, Hellmann J, Pringle P, Grecequet M, Amado J, Huq S, Lwasa S, Heymann SJ. Tracking Global Climate Change Adaptation Among Governments. Nature Climate Change, 9(6), 440. May 2019. 
  • Milovantseva N, Earle A, and Heymann SJ. Monitoring Progress Towards Meeting the United Nations SDG on Pre-Primary Education: An Important Step Towards More Equitable and Sustainable Economies. International Organisations Research Journal. 2018 Jan 1;13(4).
  • Koski A and Heymann SJ. Child Marriage in the United States: How Common Is the Practice and Which Children Are at Greatest Risk? Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 2018; 50(2), 59-65. 
  • Kidman R and Heymann SJ. Prioritizing Action to Accelerate Gender Equity and Health for Women and Girls: Microdata Analysis of 47 Countries. Global Public Health. 2018; 1-16. 
  • Arthur M, Earle A, Raub A, Vincent I, Atabay E, Latz I, Kranz G, Nandi A, and Heymann SJ. Child Marriage Laws around the World: Minimum Marriage Age, Legal Exceptions, and Gender Disparities. Journal of Women, Politics & Policy. 2018; 39(1): 51–74. 
  • Conklin A, Ponce N, Crespi CM, Frank J, Nandi A, and Heymann SJ. Economic Policy and the Double Burden of Malnutrition: Cross-national Longitudinal Analysis of Minimum Wage and Women’s Underweight and Obesity. Public Health Nutrition. 2018; 21(5):940-7. 
  • Heymann SJ, Stein MA, and Moreno G, eds. Disability and Equity at Work. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.