Social Policy Seminars: "Politics and Health in the United States"


Social Policy Seminars


Javier M. Rodríguez


Politics and health in the United States


September 25 (Wednesday), 2019


Özger Arnas Hall

(South Campus)


This presentation provides an outline on how health outcomes affect U.S. politics, and how political processes in turn affect health.  The talk presents newly discovered patterns and associations linking, for example, the political party of the U.S. president, the president’s ideology, and the party composition of state legislatures with state-level, national and race-specific infant mortality rates. It also shows how premature mortality among the poor and African Americans represents a demographic contraction that determines who is available to participate in politics and who is not, therefore affecting the maintenance of inequality and the partisan composition of the electorate. 


Javier M. Rodríguez is the Mary Toepelt Nicolai and George S. Blair Assistant Professor of Politics and Government, and co-Director of the Inequality and Policy Research Center and the Institute for Democratic Renewal at Claremont Graduate University. After receiving his Ph.D. from UCLA, Rodríguez completed his postdoctoral training at the Population Studies Center in the University of Michigan. He has published a number of important articles in multidisciplinary journals (including International Journal of Epidemiology, Health Affairs, and Social Science & Medicine among others). Rodríguez is a leading scholar in the advancement of a “political epidemiology” approach to health inequality in the U.S. His research is among the first to identify the political causes and consequences of U.S. infant mortality, black excess mortality, and premature death among the poor and working-class individuals. Rodríguez has been recently awarded research grants from the Russell Sage Foundation, the Social Security Administration, and the National Institute on Aging to probe the mysteries of the recent halt to life expectancy gains across U.S. subpopulations, and the rise in educational and income inequality in life expectancy since 1990.