Jonathan Cantor

Photo of Jonathan Cantor
Associate Policy Researcher
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in public administration, New York University; M.S. in policy analysis, Cornell University; B.S. in policy analysis, Cornell University


Jonathan Cantor is an associate policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. His key research interests are in health policies related to obesity, substance abuse, mental health, pharmaceutical use, and other health behaviors. He uses theoretical frameworks and research methods from health economics, policy analysis, and public health. He is currently leading a team of researchers in developing the first national longitudinal database of licensed substance abuse treatment facilities between the year 1975 and the present and for mental health treatment facilities for the years 2008, 2012, and 2015-present. The substance abuse data are currently being used to evaluate the effect of state Medicaid expansions on the availability of treatment, and separately on the number of disability claims within a county. Both the mental health and substance abuse database are being used to examine the availability of specialty behavioral health treatment surrounding army bases and separately for veterans. He has published articles in journals including Health Affairs, Journal of Health Economics, New England Journal of Medicine, and American Journal of Public Health. He received his Ph.D. from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.

Recent Projects

  • The Impact of Access to Substance Abuse Treatment on Disability
  • Access to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment Among the Military and Their Families
  • SNAP-Ed Evaluation Services
  • Medicare Ambulance Services Special Analysis


  • Children pick up lunch at the Olympic Hills Elementary School, after schools were closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, in Seattle, Washington, March 17, 2020, photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Food Access: Challenges and Solutions Brought on by COVID-19

    For the 14.3 million American households already experiencing food insecurity before the pandemic, shutdowns and restrictions have created new layers of hardship. Tremendous efforts are already underway to help. But the weeks to come will surely demand more creative solutions from the public and private sectors.

    Mar 31, 2020 The RAND Blog