Julia Raifman

Julia R. Raifman, ScD, SM

Assistant Professor, Health Law, Policy & Management - Boston University School of Public Health


Julia Raifman, ScD, SM conducts research on health and social policies drivers of population health and health disparities.

Her current work is focused on evaluating how policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis are shaping COVID-19, mental health, and economic precarity. She created and leads the COVID-19 U.S. State Policy Database (CUSP), tracking more than 100 state policy responses to the pandemic to facilitate rapid response research and journalism: https://statepolicies.com.

Her research during the pandemic indicates that greater state minimum wages, unemployment insurance, and paid sick leave are associated with reductions in food insufficiency. She has documented how structural racism shaped disparities in susceptibility to severe illness due to COVID-19. She has also highlighted that increased suicidal ideation during this period is concentrated among people living in low-income households. She is a collaborator on a study indicating that lifting state eviction freezes was associated with increased COVID-19 cases and deaths, a finding that helped uphold a federal eviction moratorium until the fall of 2021.

She has worked closely with media organizations including the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Public Radio, the BBC, Axios, USA Today, StatNews, and The Conversation to communicate about structural drivers of vaccine inequities and evidence that mask policies reduce the spread of COVID-19. She has written about data-driven mask policies as a potential long-term strategy to reduce the pandemic's disruptions to lives, health, and the economy.

Her research prior to the COVID-19 pandemic was focused on mental health and on HIV. In the area of mental health, she has conducted several studies of the association between LGBT rights and mental distress and between firearms policies and suicide. Her work on HIV is focused on how structural stigma and structural racism shape disparities in the burden of HIV, including implementation of pre-exposure prophylaxis. Dr. Raifman's research has been covered in the New York Times, The Guardian, National Public Radio, PBS Newshour, the Washington Post, and The Advocate.

Dr. Raifman leads the Health Inequities Strategic Research area at the Boston University School of Public Health and the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Committee in the Health Law, Policy, & Management Department. She is committed to supporting structural changes to improve diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in academia.

Dr. Raifman teaches Quantitative Methods for Health Services and Policy Research. She enjoys mentoring and is committed to promoting the success of diverse students.

Dr. Raifman received her doctoral and masters degree from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins prior to joining Boston University.


  • Harvard School of Public Health, ScD Field of Study: Global Health and Populations
  • Harvard School of Public Health, MSc Field of Study: Global Health and Populations
  • Tufts University, BA Field of Study: Biopsychology

Classes Taught

  • SPHPH843


  • Published on 12/1/2021

    Leifheit KM, Linton SL, Raifman J, Schwartz GL, Benfer EA, Zimmerman FJ, Pollack CE. Expiring Eviction Moratoriums and COVID-19 Incidence and Mortality. Am J Epidemiol. 2021 12 01; 190(12):2503-2510. PMID: 34309643.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 12/1/2021

    Leifheit KM, Pollack CE, Raifman J, Schwartz GL, Koehler RD, Rodriguez Bronico JV, Benfer EA, Zimmerman FJ, Linton SL. Variation in State-Level Eviction Moratorium Protections and Mental Health Among US Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 12 01; 4(12):e2139585. PMID: 34919134.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 10/29/2021

    Choi S, Stein MD, Raifman J, Rosenbloom D, Clark JA. Estimating the impact on initiating medications for opioid use disorder of state policies expanding Medicaid and prohibiting substance use during pregnancy. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2021 12 01; 229(Pt A):109162. PMID: 34768053.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 8/10/2021

    Choi S, Rosenbloom D, Stein MD, Raifman J, Clark JA. Differential Gateways, Facilitators, and Barriers to Substance Use Disorder Treatment for Pregnant Women and Mothers: A Scoping Systematic Review. J Addict Med. 2021 Aug 10. PMID: 34380985.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 8/7/2021

    Choi S, Stein MD, Raifman J, Rosenbloom D, Clark JA. Motherhood, pregnancy and gateways to intervene in substance use disorder. Health Soc Care Community. 2021 Aug 07. PMID: 34363426.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 7/28/2021

    Koltai J, Raifman J, Bor J, McKee M, Stuckler D. Does COVID-19 vaccination improve mental health? A difference-in-difference analysis of the Understanding Coronavirus in America study. medRxiv. 2021 Jul 28. PMID: 34341801.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 6/1/2021

    Chow JY, Nijhawan AE, Mathews WC, Raifman J, Fleming J, Gebo KA, Moore RD, Berry SA. Brief Report: Hospitalization Rates Among Persons With HIV Who Gained Medicaid or Private Insurance After the Affordable Care Act in 2014. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2021 06 01; 87(2):776-780. PMID: 33587511.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 1/4/2021

    Raifman J, Bor J, Venkataramani A. Association Between Receipt of Unemployment Insurance and Food Insecurity Among People Who Lost Employment During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 01 04; 4(1):e2035884. PMID: 33512519.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 1/1/2021

    Harlow AF, Lundberg D, Raifman JR, Tan ASL, Streed CG, Benjamin EJ, Stokes AC. Association of Coming Out as Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual+ and Risk of Cigarette Smoking in a Nationally Representative Sample of Youth and Young Adults. JAMA Pediatr. 2021 01 01; 175(1):56-63. PMID: 33104174.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 12/31/2020

    Feyman Y, Bor J, Raifman J, Griffith KN. Effectiveness of COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders varied by state. PLoS One. 2020; 15(12):e0245008. PMID: 33382849.

    Read At: PubMed

News & In the Media