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Health Behavior, Society & Policy

Faculty Profile

  • Irina Grafova, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

  • Department of Health Behavior, Society and Policy


Socio-economic inequalities in health; financial strain; financial toxicity of cancer, health policy; healthcare spending, neighborhoods

Dr. Grafova earned her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. She also holds degrees from the New Economic School, Moscow (M.A. Economics) and Moscow State University (B.S. in Applied Mathematics and Mechanics).

Research Interests
Dr. Grafova is a health economist and her research agenda focuses on the socio-economic determinants of health, financial toxicity of cancer, health policy, health care spending, and neighborhood environment, socio-economic status and health. Her work in these areas contributes to establishing causality between the socio-economic status and health that explores the dimensions of socio-economic status beyond the traditional triad of income, wealth, and education. She has a series of work devoted to how various aspects of financial strain, such as revolving credit card debt, emergency fund availability, and financial insolvency are related to health. In her recent research, Dr. Grafova - in collaboration with Dr. Alan Monheit - examined how families experiencing an economic shock may, by necessity, be required to prioritize their health care spending among family members and specific health care services. More recently, Dr. Grafova has been involved in studies of the financial toxicity of cancer, neighborhood environment, and health. Her recent research in this area has explored the impact of neighborhoods where individuals reside on their health with particular attention devoted to self-selection bias. This research was highlighted by a Population Reference Bureau and AJPH press release. Currently, Dr. Grafova is collaborating with Dr. Michael Gusmano on a project that explores the impact of neighborhood environment on health outcomes in urban areas in middle income countries.

Select Publications
Grafova, I., Monheit, A., Kumar, R. (2020) "How do changes in income, employment and health insurance affect family mental health spending?", Review of Economics of the Household. Vol. 18

Grafova,, I., Weisz,, D., Rodwin,, V., NeMoyerd,, R., Gusmano,, M. (2020) "Amenable mortality and neighborhood inequality: An ecological study of São Paulo", World Medical & Health Policy. Vol. 12

Grafova, I., Monheit , A., Kumar, R. (2020) "How Do Economic Shocks Affect Family Health Care Spending Burdens?", Journal of Family and Economic Issues. Vol. 0

Grafova, I., Jarrín, O. (2020) "Beyond Black and White: Mapping Misclassification of Medicare Beneficiaries Race and Ethnicity", Medical Care Research and Review. Vol. 0

Grafova, I., Monheit, A. (2019) "How does actual unemployment and the perceived risk of joblessness affect smoking behavior? Gender and intra-family effects?", Review of Economics of the Household. Vol. 17

Grafova, I., Gusmano, M., Martirosyan, K., Weisz, D., Rodwin, V. (2019) "Infant Mortality in Moscow: the Perils of Progress in Russia's World City.", Journal of Urban Health. Vol. 96

Excellence in Research Award - Foundation of UMDNJ (2009) - Excellence in Research Awards recognize outstanding research activities.

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