Alison B. Comfort, PhD

Health Economist, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences

Dr. Alison B. Comfort is a health economist whose research focuses on better understanding the role of health technologies, specifically pregnancy tests, in improving reproductive and maternal health outcomes and assessing the role of price and other factors to influence uptake of health products, such as contraceptives and anti-malarial bed nets. More broadly, Dr. Comfort is interested in conducting rigorous impact evaluations of interventions to improve reproductive health and maternal and child health, both in the United States and in developing countries. At the Bixby Center, she is working with the Beyond the Pill program to conduct implementation science research on provider training and patient education in clinic settings in the United States to increase contraceptive provision, including through school-based health centers.

Dr. Comfort has led several randomized controlled trials, including an impact evaluation to assess the effect of providing community health workers with free pregnancy tests for distribution to improve provision of hormonal contraceptives and receipt of antenatal care counseling in Madagascar. She has evaluated the long-term effects of in-utero conditions on maternal survival later in a woman’s life using secondary data from several African countries. She has also conducted several studies related to malaria, including an impact evaluation investigating the effect of price on demand and use of bed nets. In India, she is looking at the consequences of being uninsured on access to health services and health spending and the implications for longer term poverty. She speaks French, Spanish and Malagasy, and previously served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar.


Areas of interest:

  • Contraception
  • Education and training
  • Health insurance
  • Impact evaluations
  • Malaria
  • Maternal health
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproductive health


Honors and awards:

  • Audience Choice Award for pregnancy tests research, UCSF’s Maternal Neonatal Child Health Shark Tank Presentation, 2016
  • Daniel Bell Award for Outstanding Social Science Research, Abt Associates, 2014



  • Amherst College, Bachelor’s in Economics and Spanish
  • Harvard University, Doctorate in Health Policy (Economics concentration)