Laura J. Faherty

Photo of Laura Faherty
Physician Policy Researcher; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Boston Office


M.D., Emory University School of Medicine; M.P.H. in global epidemiology, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health; M.S.H.P. in health policy research, University of Pennsylvania; B.A. in history of science, Princeton University

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Laura Faherty (she/her) is a physician policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Boston University School of Medicine, and a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Prior to joining RAND, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.

A board-certified pediatrician with a public health and health services research background, Dr. Faherty’s research focuses on maternal-child health and pandemic preparedness and response, both in U.S. and non-U.S. settings. Her current work addresses COVID-19 testing in K–12 schools; equitable COVID-19 vaccine delivery; behavioral health in the perinatal period, including opioid use in pregnancy and perinatal depression; and behavioral health surveillance in the disaster context. She recently supported the development of the 2020 Vaccines National Strategic Plan. She completed her residency and chief residency in pediatrics at Boston Medical Center and Boston Children's Hospital. Dr. Faherty received her M.D. and M.P.H. in global epidemiology from Emory University, her M.S. in health policy research from the University of Pennsylvania, and her B.A. in history of science from Princeton University. 

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine; Associate Director, Barbara Bush Children's Hospital Scholars Academy

Recent Projects

  • An Exploratory Analysis of the Association of State Policies with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
  • Evaluation of PMA2020 and Track20 (Two Global Family Planning Data Programs)
  • Depression Care to Improve Adherence to PMTCT Care Continuum and Pregnancy Outcomes in Uganda
  • Impact Assessment and Strategic Planning for the World Trade Center Health Program's Research-to-Care Model
  • COVID-19 Testing in K-12 Schools

Selected Publications

Stephen W. Patrick, Laura J. Faherty, Andrew Dick, Theresa A. Scott, Judith Dudley, Bradley D. Stein. , "Association Among County-Level Economic Factors, Clinician Supply, Metropolitan or Rural Location, and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome," Journal of the American Medical Association, 321(4), 2019

Laura J. Faherty, Heather L Schwartz, Faruque Ahmed, Yenlik Zheteyeva; Lori Uscher-Pines, "School and preparedness officials' perspectives on social distancing practices to reduce influenza transmission during a pandemic: Considerations to guide future work," Preventive Medicine Reports, 2019 (forthcoming)

Faherty, LJ; Hantsoo, L; Appleby, D; Sammel, M; Bennett, I; Wiebe, DJ. , "Movement Patterns in Women at Risk for Perinatal Depression: Use of a Mood-Monitoring Mobile Application in Pregnancy. ," Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association., 24(4), 2017

Faherty, LJ, Rasmussen, SA, and Lurie, N, "A Call for Science Preparedness for Pregnant Women in Public Health Emergencies," American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2016

Faherty, LJ, Rasmussen, SA, and Lurie, N, "Planning for Research on Children During Public Health Emergencies," Pediatrics, 137(2), 2016

Faherty, L.J., Matone, M., Passarella, M., Lorch S., "Mental Health of Mothers of Infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Prenatal Opioid Exposure ," Maternal and Child Health Journal, 2018 (forthcoming)

Laura J. Faherty, Benjamin French, Alexander Fiks, "Gender of the Clinician, Child, and Guardian and the Association with Receipt of Routine Adolescent Vaccines," Journal of Adolescent Health, 59(1), 2016

Faherty LJ, Kranz AM, Russell-Fritch J, Patrick SW, Cantor J, Stein BD., "Association of Punitive and Reporting State Policies Related to Substance Use in Pregnancy With Rates of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome," JAMA Network Open, 2(11), 2019

Honors & Awards

  • Bob Brook Scholar Award (2017), The RAND Corporation
  • Medal Award - Bronze (2019), The RAND Corporation



Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: KJZZ - (NPR) Phoenix, AZ; Reuters Online


  • A concerned young woman looks at a pregnancy test, photo by VioletaStoimenova/Getty Images

    How Policies That Punish Pregnant Women Backfire

    There is overwhelming evidence and consensus from the medical and public health communities that supportive approaches are what help pregnant women with substance use disorders. Unfortunately, the overturning of Roe v. Wade has opened the door for more policies that police and punish women rather than evidence-based solutions that we know can, do, and will save lives.

    Aug 2, 2022 Santa Monica Daily Press

  • Children stand on smiley faces to maintain social distancing in the courtyard of a school in Paris, France, May 14, 2020, photo by Benoit Tessier/Reuters

    How to Reopen Schools: Q&A with RAND Experts

    The debate over opening U.S. schools is growing more heated by the day. In this Q&A, RAND researchers discuss the different approaches for reopening, how online learning went in the spring, ways to help disadvantaged students, and more.

    Jul 23, 2020

  • Social distancing dividers for students in a classroom at St. Benedict School in Montebello, near Los Angeles, California, July 14, 2020, photo  by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    Back to School: Working Parents Will Need Help from Employers

    Reopening schools would provide much-needed child care for parents who need to work, help feed 30 million U.S. children, and prevent further inequitable learning losses. But it also means exposing more kids to the virus. How can families and employers prepare for the disruptions that lie ahead?

    Jul 17, 2020 USA Today

  • A woman visits her mother who has tested positive for coronavirus at a Seattle-area nursing home, the epicenter of one of the biggest outbreaks in the United States, in Kirkland, Washington, March 11, 2020, photo by Jason Redmond/Reuters

    U.S. COVID-19 Cases on the Rise: Q&A with RAND Experts

    COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is now in all 50 states. And more and more U.S. cases and deaths are being reported. As orders to close schools and restaurants take effect across America, RAND researchers answer some questions about the crisis.

    Mar 18, 2020

  • Sleeping baby with adult hand holding baby's hand, photo by Amax Photo/Getty Images

    Policies That Punish Pregnant Women for Substance Use Don't Help Mother or Baby

    About half of all U.S. states now have policies that criminalize substance use during pregnancy, consider it grounds for civil commitment, or consider it child abuse or neglect. But research suggests that punitive policies aren't beneficial for infants or their mothers.

    Jan 28, 2020 Tennessee Justice Center

  • A boy getting a vaccination

    On Vaccines, Trump Should Rely on Science

    Research has proven that vaccines are extremely safe and effective. The public health implications of questioning this are serious. America should take every opportunity to protect kids by vaccinating them against every vaccine-preventable disease.

    Jan 25, 2017 The Health Care Blog