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Yale research leads to diaper cost reduction program

March 11, 2016

Needy families will pay less for diapers under a pilot program announced by the White House March 10 and inspired by research conducted through a partnership between Yale, local mothers, the City of New Haven, and community groups.

The program will help address the budget-busting cost of diapers faced by low-income mothers, who may lack the financial resources, transportation, or Internet access to make less expensive bulk diaper purchases. Instead, many families pay up to 50 cents per diaper at neighborhood stores. A lack of diapers is one of the leading causes of stresses for young mothers, said Dr. Megan Smith, assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale who has conducted research on the issue.

“This initiative demonstrates the direct and efficient translation of research to policy, and highlights the potential for social innovation that we can harness when we foster collaboration between, scientists, policy makers, and the private sector to address social problems impacting the health of families living in poverty.”

Smith is director of the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for Mothers, or MOMS Partnership — which includes academics, city officials, and community groups who seek to meet the mental health needs of low-income mothers. Working with the Diaper Bank and National Diaper Bank Network, non-profit groups like MOMS will help distribute diapers directly to low-income families.

The White House and senior economic advisors took an interest in Smith’s research and worked with partners at the National Diaper Bank Network and private sector companies to develop an innovative pilot to address diaper need nationally.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on March 11, 2016