Policy Backed by Research

Our policy positions are informed by rigorous programmatic evaluation. These positions are shared with policy makers, partners, and the media to highlight the need for sustainable solutions to pressing public health problems.

Our Policy Initiatives:

The following efforts exemplify our commitment to enhancing public health programs and public health policy in RI and beyond.

Incentive programs match Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program dollars (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Incentives significantly boost healthy eating among SNAP recipients. With support of the American Heart Association, RIPHI leads a statewide effort to make healthy food more accessible to recipients of the SNAP through our Retail SNAP Incentive Initiative. This advocacy effort focuses on a legislation appropriation to make SNAP incentives available in retail settings across Rhode Island. RIPHI oversees a coalition of over 40 organizations working collaboratively toward this effort.

Where you live impacts your health. RIPHI has helped lead the scientific effort about place-based interventions to eradicate HIV and HCV, including efforts to routinize HIV and HCV screening in community health centers. RIPHI also led an HIV and HCV screening program that screened over 10,000 people of HIV and HCV in Philadelphia, PA. This program, called Do One Thing, was featured on CNN:


RIPHI is working with the federal government and other clinical partners to help expand similar programs in geographic hotspots of HIV infection in the Deep South. 

RIPHI has also worked with the RI Department of Health to bring Food on the Move to the state’s nine Health Equity Zones. Health Equity Zones are geographically defined catchment areas in which non-profit agencies, government and private institutions work collaboratively to reduce chronic disease in Rhode Island communities. 

Hepatitis C (HCV) is the most common bloodborne virus in the United States. Hepatitis C attacks the liver and can cause liver cancer. New medications can cure most people living with hepatitis C with one, pill once a day, but access to medications has been a challenge because of their high costs. Moreover, few

RIPHI started the Rhode Island Hepatitis C Action Coalition (RIHAC), a group of providers, patients and advocates who work collectively to eradicate HCV across the state. RIHAC has been instrumental in promoting equitable access to important HCV medications for major health plans, including RI Medicaid. RIHAC is now overseen by the RI Department of Health and meets each quarter.

RIPHI also wrote Rhode Island’s first HCV surveillance report. This groundbreaking report was the first comprehensive study of HCV in the state, and found that 3-7% of Rhode Islanders are living with HCV. The report also found that HCV-related deaths quintupled during the last decade. Read more about this report here.

RIPHI is leading advocacy efforts related to engaging African American clergy in efforts to end the HIV epidemic through its Faith in Action programs. RIPHI is partnering with Brown University, HRSA, NIH and the federal Ryan White program to expand Faith in Action programs around the country.  

Dr. Nunn also testified at the President’s Advisory Council on HIV AIDS about the importance of working collaboratively with clergy to end the HIV epidemic in the South. Watch her testimony here.

Rhode Island is experiencing an unprecedented overdose crisis, ranking 11th in fatal overdoses in the country in 2018. This project aims to characterize the Downtown Providence overdose crisis, identify factors influencing the overdose crisis in Downtown, solicit stakeholder input about factors contributing to overdose Downtown, and solicit normative policy recommendations from local experts and key opinion leaders about how best to respond to the overdose crisis. Click below to read the abstract and our full needs assessment and plan.                         

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The Rhode Island Public Health Institute’s mission is to promote community health and to eliminate health disparities in Rhode Island and beyond.

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