The health policy program trains students in the range of analytical skills and knowledge necessary to pursue health policy careers in private, governmental, and academic settings. Coursework and research opportunities cover health policy as it applies to the range of players in the system, including hospitals, health systems, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, clinicians, insurance companies, managed care organizations, and entrepreneurial ventures. The depth of resources and expertise at the University related to pharmaceuticals makes this an area of special interest and provides unique opportunities to explore policy and management aspects of this industry. We have a wide variety of experts representing many academic disciplines. Faculty with degrees and expertise in health policy, public policy, public health, economics, sociology, environmental science, political science, pharmaceutical outcomes research, and epidemiology teach in the program.
Because the field of health policy draws on contributions from many areas, the program is interdisciplinary by nature. It requires students to analyze issues creatively by combining different approaches to policy problems. In addition to a core of courses offered directly in health policy, students may take courses in several related fields, including pharmacy administration, pharmacoeconomics, biomedical writing, pharmaceutical business, and social sciences. Research opportunities similarly cut across disciplinary lines to draw on different kinds of expertise.
The PhD degree track prepares students to conduct independent research that is either empirically or theoretically based. The training portion of the doctoral program prepares students to demonstrate their knowledge of the existing literature, whereas, in the dissertation stage, students conduct independent research under the guidance of a faculty committee. Graduating students can apply their skill sets to research in either the public or private sector.
The health policy curriculum rests on a set of competencies that are organized into three domains, research skills, knowledge base, and policy analysis. Within these three domains, the graduate program in health policy prepares students to:
- Research Skills
- Examine both qualitative and quantitative data to determine patterns and trends.
- Understand and apply basic concepts of probability, random variation, and commonly used statistical probability distributions.
- Generate testable hypotheses and apply appropriate methods and research designs to test these hypotheses.
- Understand and apply the fundamental tenets of ethics as part of conducting research.
- Knowledge Base
- Apply knowledge gained in a specific substantive area related to health policy using expertise developed during coursework, through guidance from faculty, and independently.
- Collect and synthesize literature in a specialty substantive area.
- Complete a terminal research project that either applies knowledge (MS program) or develops new knowledge (PhD program) in a specialty area.
- Policy Analysis
- Explain how the structures, components and interactions of systems are involved with shaping health policy, public health directives, and health delivery in the U.S.
- Apply theoretical and conceptual models to empirical data, events, and dynamics as the foundation of analyses of current health policy issues.
- Analyze issues from different perspectives and use evidence-based approaches for describing policy-related decisions.
- Identify major stakeholders and their roles with relation to specific health policy issues.
- Critically assess aspects of U.S. health policy from multidisciplinary perspectives including economics, law, sociology, epidemiology, and political science.