Health Economics

Bidisha Mandal’s research and extension program examines key public health policies and issues in context of how they affect health related decision-making processes, economic outcomes, and health status. Her program has been funded by both internal and external sources.

Extension is an important service and an appropriate use of public funds for economic development. Evidence of the need and demand for Extension services in a rural community in Washington State are presented here.

The three broad categories of her current extension agenda are:

Health insurance and healthcare access

Projects include studying differential effects of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion among rural and urban populations regarding access to primary care providers and the use of preventive care due to Medicaid expansion, and impacts of the ACA’s employer mandate in the labor-intensive agriculture industry in Washington State.

Economic environment and health outcomes

Projects study the association between subjective expectations of future job loss, unemployment, and mental health outcomes. A second set of studies examine understanding associations between paid family leave, breastfeeding behavior, return to employment, and new mothers’ mental health.

Nutrition behavior

Projects include studying impacts of food-related interventions on food choices and health outcomes.  For instance, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1994 provides consistent and standardized nutrition information through food labels.  Consumers could choose more healthful foods in order to achieve better health outcomes.

Select Articles

Mandal, B. “Avoidable emergency department visits: Differences between Texas and Washington Medicaid enrollees”. Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, Fall 2019, 42(2): 142-166.

Neumiller, J.J., Mandal, B., Weeks, D., Bautista, E., Gates, B.J., Corbett, C.L. “Potential adverse drug events and associated costs during transition from hospital to home”. The Senior Care Pharmacist, June 2019, 34(6): 384-392.

Mandal, B. “Chronic Conditions and Hospitalizations: Findings from a Rural Hospital”. Washington State University Technical Bulletin, March 2019, TB62E.

Mandal, B. “The effect of paid leave on maternal mental health”. Maternal and Child Health Journal, October 2018, 22(10): 1470-1476.

Mandal, B., Brady, M., Gallardo, K.”Reactions to the Employer Mandate in Washington State’s Labor Intensive Agriculture Industry”. Washington State University Technical Bulletin, September 2016, TB33.

Mandal, B., Brady, M., Gallardo, K.”Trends in Health Insurance and Health Care Access in Rural Washington”. Washington State University Extension Technical Bulletin, August 2016, TB30.

Smith, D., Mandal, B., Riddle, L.A., Kerr, S., Atterberry, K.A., Miles, C. “Exploring pulses through math, science, and nutrition activities”. The Journal of Child Nutrition and Management, Spring 2016, 40(1).

Hill, L., Rosenman, R., Tennakoon, V., Mandal, B. “Estimating the effects of selection and attrition on prevention program outcomes in non-experimental community disseminations”. Prevention Science, December 2013, 14(6): 557-569.

Mandal, B. “Provisions of the Affordable Care Act and Washington’s Health Insurance Exchange”. Washington State University Extension Factsheet, October 2013, FS121E.

Mandal, B. “Mass lay-offs and medical expenditures”. Washington State University Extension Factsheet, March 2012, FS067E.

Wordell, D., Daratha, K., Mandal, B., Bindler, R., Butkus, S..”Changes in a middle school food environment affect food behavior and food choices”. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, January 2012, 112(1): 137-141.

Mandal, B. “Reading food labels can improve chances of weight loss”. Washington State University Extension Factsheet, January 2012, FS065E.

Mandal, B., Lee, S. “Hard at work: Breastfeeding changes between 1992 and 2007”. Northwest Public Health, Spring/Summer 2010, 27(1): 14-15.


Media & Presentations

Presentation at the Washington State Association of Counties, 2011 Extension Directors Conference, Bellevue, Washington.  “Economic Tools to Evaluate Social Science Programs

NPR interview on reading food labels and weight loss:

Seattle King5 News on reading food labels and weight loss:

Twitter feed @socscimed on March 15, 2011 on depression and job insecurity: “Increase in concern about possible job loss elevates depression among workers close to retirement more than job loss”

Presentation on Obesity Research at WSU Whatcom County Extension Office, April 2008: “A multilevel approach to model weight gain



Contact Info

Bidisha Mandal

Email Address:

Office Location:
103F Hulbert Hall
Office phone: 335-7553

Washington State University