George Wehby


A portrait of George Wehby of the Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

Title(s): Professor, HMP Doctoral Program Director
Department: Health Management and Policy
Office: N250 CPHB
Phone: (319) 384-3814

Dr. Wehby is a health economist and a health services researcher. His research focuses on studying socioeconomic, healthcare, behavioral, and policy determinants of health, especially child health, and the long term effects of early life conditions on health and human capital, using econometric methods. Dr. Wehby has conducted several studies that evaluated the effects of prenatal care, maternal health behaviors, and household investments on early child health and development. He is also interested in the interplays between child health and educational achievement. Dr Wehby has also completed several national and international studies on racial and socioeconomic disparities in child health and development. He also works on interdisciplinary studies that integrate genetics and social sciences and has pioneered several studies that use genetic information for identifying causal prenatal behavior effects on child health. Dr. Wehby has a very active externally funded research program and has received several NIH and CDC grants. Dr. Wehby directs the doctoral program and teaches courses in health economics and health services research methods.

Dr. Wehby holds secondary appointments in the Department of Economics, Public Policy Center and the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry. Dr. Wehby is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina, Gillings School of Global Pubic Health, Department of Maternal and Child Health as well as a Research Associate in the Health Economics Program at the National Bureau of Economics Research office.

PhD in Health Services and Policy focal area:

  • Health Economics

Selected Publications (out of 80+ publications):

Wehby GL, Murray JC, Castilla EE, Lopez-Camelo JS, Ohsfeldt RL. “Quantile effects of prenatal care on birth weight in Argentina.” Health Economics. 2009; 18:1307-21.

Wehby GL, Murray JC, McCarthy AM, Castilla EE. “Racial Gaps in Child Health Insurance Coverage in Four South American Countries: The Role of Wealth, Human Capital and Other Household Characteristics.” Health Services Research. 2011; 46:2119-38.

Wehby GL, Jugessur A, Moreno LM, Murray JC, Wilcox A, Lie, RT. “Genes as instruments for studying risk behavior effects: an application to maternal smoking and orofacial clefts.” Health Services and Outcomes Research Methodology. 2011; 11:54-78.

Wehby GL, Prater K, McCarthy AM, Castilla EE, Murray JC. “The impact of maternal smoking during pregnancy on early child neurodevelopment.” Journal of Human Capital. 2011; 5:207-254.

Wehby GL, McCarthy AM, Castilla EE, Murray JC. “The Impact of Household Investments on Early Child Neurodevelopment and on Racial and Socioeconomic Developmental Gaps in South America.” Forum for Health Economics & Policy. 2011; 14 (Article 11):1-58.

Wehby GL and Courtemanche C. “The Heterogeneity of Cigarette Price Effects on Body Weight”. Journal of Health Economics. 2012. 31(5):719-29.

Wehby GL, Ullrich F, and Xie Y. “Hospital Volume of Very Low Birth Weight Infants and In-Hospital Mortality: An Instrumental Variables Study”. Medical Care. 2012;50(8):714-21

Wehby GL, Castilla EE, Lopez-Camelo Jorge. “Hospital Volume and Mortality of Very Low Birth Weight Infants in South America.” Health Services Research. 2012;47(4):1502-21.

Guarnizo Herreno C and Wehby GL. “Explaining racial/ethnic disparities in children’s dental health: a decomposition analysis.” American Journal of Public Health. 2012;102(5):859-66

Nyarko K, Lopez-Camelo J, Castilla EE, and Wehby GL. “Explaining Racial Disparities in Infant Health in Brazil”. American Journal of Public Health. 2013;103:1675-84.

Wehby GL. “Child health insurance and early preventive care in three South American countries.” Health Policy and Planning. 2013;28(3):328-38.

Wehby GL and McCarthy AM. “Economic Gradients in Early Child Neurological Development: A Multi-country Study”. Social Science and Medicine. 2013;78:86-95.

Wehby GL. “Living at higher grounds reduces child neurodevelopment –Evidence from South America”. Journal of Pediatrics. 2013;162(3):606-611.

Wehby GL. “Child Health Insurance Coverage and Household Activity Toward Child Development in Four South American Countries.” Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2014;18(4):939-49.

Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder, George L. Wehby, Luisa Zuccolo, Sarah Lewis. “Alcohol Exposure In Utero and Child Academic Achievement”. Economic Journal. 2014; 124(576): 634–667.

Wehby GL, Nyarko K, Lopez-Camelo JS. “Fetal Health Shocks and Early Inequalities in Health Capital Accumulation”. Health Economics. 2014; 23:69-92.

Cristina Woodhouse, Jorge Lopez-Camelo, and George Wehby. “The Effect of Prenatal Care on Birth Weight in South America: A multi-Country Study”. PLOS One. 2014;9(3):e91292.

Wehby GL, Collet B, Barron S, Romitti P, Ansley T, Speltz M. “Academic Achievement of Children and Adolescents with Oral Clefts.” Pediatrics.2014; 133(5):785-92.

Guarnizo Herreno C and Wehby GL. “Dentist Supply and Children’s Dental Health in the United States”. American Journal of Public Health. 2014.e1-e7.

Queiros F, Wehby GL, Halpern CT. “Early Life Disabilities and Human Capital Accumulation in Young Adulthood”. Public Health Reports. 2015; 130: 213-221.

Courses Taught

  • Health Services Research Methods
  • Health Economics

Research Interests

  • Health economics
  • Household economics
  • Applied econometrics
  • Policy effects on health
  • Child health and development
  • Education and health
  • Genetics and social sciences