Sara Abiola

Sara Abiola

Sara Abiola

Assistant Professor
Health Policy and Management


600 West 168th Street
New York NY USA 10032
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Dr. Abiola's research focuses on the relationship between public policy and population health with an emphasis on food law and noncommunicable diseases, overweight, and obesity among children, adolescents, and young adults. Her most recent work includes constructing a country-level index for NCD prevention laws that aggregates existing law and policy data about food, alcohol, tobacco regulations into a single measure, developing a theoretical framework for linking laws to health-related behaviors and outcomes, and identifying factors that shape the use of evidence in public policymaking. Dr. Abiola also explores statutory and regulatory mechanisms to integrate the delivery of health and social services to address the social determinants of health and the effects of state-level laws on youth overweight and obesity. She has co-authored publications on these topics and others in the New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs, and the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics and has contributed to public health conversations on NPR Radio and Vox.



PhD, 2011, Harvard University, Interfaculty PhD Program in Health Policy
JD, 2007, Harvard Law School
BA, 2003, Yale College

Columbia Affiliations

Co-Director, Better Health Systems Lab

Areas of Expertise

Child Health and Development, Chronic Disease, Food Policy, Hunger/Food Insecurity, Obesity, Health Law, History of Public Health

Select Publications

Abiola, S, Mello, MM. Multilevel legal approaches to obesity prevention: a conceptual and methodological framework. PLoS ONE. 2019. 14(10):e0220971. Available at:
Abiola, S, Colgrove, J, Mello, MM. The politics of HPV vaccination policy formation in the United States. Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law. 2013. 38(4):645-681.
Blendon, RJ, Abiola, S, Benson, JM. Evidence-based policymaking in a polarized context: can the IPAB bridge the gap? Health Affairs Blog 2012
Mello, MM, Abiola, S, Colgrove, J. Pharmaceutical Companies' Role in State Vaccination Policymaking: The Case of Human Papillomavirus Vaccination American Journal of Public Health 102(5) 893-898 2012
Abiola, S, Gonzales, R, Blendon, RJ, Benson, JM. Public Perceptions of Government Performance with Health Services: A Survey of Twenty sub-Saharan African Countries Health Affairs 30(8) 1478-87 2011
Abiola, S. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008: "First Major Civil Rights Bill of the Century" Bars Misuse of Genetic Test Results Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics 36(4) 856-859 2008

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