UNIVERSITY OF IOWA COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH MASTER OF SCIENCE (THESIS) DEGREE IN HEALTH POLICY

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2 UNIVERSITY OF IOWA COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH MASTER OF SCIENCE (THESIS) DEGREE IN HEALTH POLICY I. Purpose of the Program The mission of the Master of Science (MS Thesis) Degree in Health Policy is to provide students with content knowledge and methodological skills pertaining to the practice of health policy analysis. We recognize that policy analysis is intrinsically interdisciplinary and as such our students will acquire a range of skills that allow them to analyze and empirically evaluate policy content, formation, implementation, and outcomes. We strive to maintain a non-partisan educational environment, building our degree program upon the principles set forth by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. The vision of the Master of Science (MS Thesis) degree in Health Policy is to be nationally recognized for preparing graduates for policy analysis and research careers in a variety of settings including academic institutions, government agencies, private, non-profit, and other organizations explicitly involved with health policy. Our graduates will be prepared with subject matter expertise and a combination of qualitative and quantitative methodological skills. We also seek to prepare graduates for doctoral studies in health policy, health services research, and other closely related fields The degree offering is consistent with the mission of the University of Iowa, College of Public Health (CPH) to promote health and prevent injury and illness through commitment to education and training, excellence in research, innovation in policy development, and devotion to public health practice. The degree program also will contribute to the CPH vision of serving Iowa and the Midwest as one of the nation's premier state-assisted schools of public health. II. Present Need The faculty of the Department of Health Management and Policy determined there was sufficient need to create a MS degree in health policy. Foremost, with the continued expansion of the health care system and the perennially evolving challenges of ensuring access to high-quality, cost-effective health services, the need for individuals with rigorous training in health policy analysis will continue to increase into the foreseeable future. The MS degree program will provide opportunities for graduate students to enter into career pathways that are exciting, important, and in high demand. Second, the department observed no other degree program at the University of Iowa (or at any other university within the state of Iowa) offering such an explicit focus in health policy, and also designed the proposed MS Thesis degree program as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, the existing departmental PhD and MHA programs. Third, the department reviewed its ten-year track record of graduating more than a dozen students with MPH, MHA and PhD degrees who also completed coursework, internships and fellowships in health policy, and have since secured employment in health policy-related positions. Information obtained from interviewing some of these individuals provided further MS in Health Policy Application 1

3 evidence of the need to establish a distinct MS degree in health policy emphasizing qualitative and quantitative research skills. Last, the department recognized that, since its founding in 1999, the University of Iowa, College of Public Health, Department of Health Management and Policy has hired several faculty and developed numerous courses focused in health policy and research methodology. Indeed, the groundwork for a strong and distinct degree offering within the College of Public Health has been established. The need for this degree program can be met by the growing number of faculty who are offering courses, research and service opportunities in health policy III. Description of the Program Students who enroll in the MS in Health Policy program will partake in four types of educational experiences. First, students will complete required coursework in health policy, scientific methodology, and the essentials of public health; all together the students will complete a minimum of 48 hours of coursework over a four semester (two-year) schedule. Second, students will develop the skills necessary to conduct qualitative policy analysis and quantitative policy research by completing a set of applied learning experiences within one of several organizations, including, but not limited to: a policymaking body, an agency or department implementing health policy, an advocacy organization developing policy, or a non-profit or private organization conducting health policy research. Third, students will be provided sufficient opportunity to partake in extracurricular learning opportunities that focus on health policy. These include lecture series, seminars, and conferences. Last, the students will prepare a data-driven, empirical policy analysis to be submitted as their culminating thesis for the MS degree. The two programs that could be classified as closely allied are the current Master of Public Health (MPH) in Policy degree and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Health Services and Policy. The proposed MS degree program has been intentionally designed as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, these existing programs. While the proposed MS degree curriculum does share certain core courses with the MHA and MPH degree curriculums, the MS degree option is designed to target a distinct student population. Specifically, the MHA and MPH degree is designed as a terminal professional degree for those individuals who are currently practicing, or intend to practice, a health administration or public health career. The MPH in Policy degree is designed to prepare students to become leaders in the field of public health and the MHA degree is designed to prepare students to become leaders in health administration. By contrast, the MS degree is designed to prepare individuals for careers in government relations, policy analysis, and health services research in a variety of public and private settings. The MS degree is also designed to prepare students for further study at the doctoral level. As the Department of Health Management and Policy works to strengthen our PhD in Health Services and Policy, recruiting high-caliber students into the program is essential to growing the program and raising the profile of our department and the College of Public Health. Students in the MS degree program will be required to take some of the same courses that PhD students typically take during their first semester. Should they matriculate into the PhD program, they will receive credit for these courses and enter with advanced standing. In this way, the MS (Thesis) degree MS in Health Policy Application 2

4 program is viewed as a pipeline program to identify outstanding students with both the desire and ability to succeed in our PhD program. Program Curriculum The MS in Health Policy curriculum is focused on three areas. First, our training develops an individual s ability to identify policies (e.g., court decisions, laws, regulations) across all levels and branches of government, and then deconstruct these policies into component parts (e.g., program eligibility requirements), identify valid differences across policies (e.g., different age definitions for eligibility), and consider how the policies work together or in conflict to shape health care outcomes. The ability to define and distinguish among public health policies offers an immediate application in conducting policy research. A second area of training focuses on an individual s ability to formulate public health policies. Students will learn how to deconstruct a particular policy (see above), apply different theoretical models of policy formation (deductively and inductively), and develop effective strategies to formulate viable public health policy alternatives. This focus also has an immediate impact for policy makers, the organizations that work directly with them, and research design. A third focus of the MS in Health Policy is to develop an individual s ability to conduct qualitative and quantitative research that can be useful in estimating the impact of public health policy on health care outcomes at the organizational, provider and individual level. In estimating these impacts, students account for variations across policy and implementation systems (see above), and move away from constructing policy measures as uni-dimensional constructs or onetime historical events. This focus also has an immediate impact for policy makers, particularly those who wish to understand how different policies impact health outcomes. Admissions Students will be admitted to the program in the fall semester, with spring or summer admissions determined on an individual basis. Applicants will be recruited from all disciplines and undergraduate degree programs, with particular emphasis placed on those from political science, public administration or other social sciences. Applicants also will be encouraged to learn about the degree by viewing the program web-site and interviewing departmental program administrators and individual faculty. Admission criteria for students will be consistent with other departmental masters-level degree offerings (e.g., Masters in Health Administration, MPH in Policy). In particular, applicants must have a bachelor s degree and have achieved a minimum GPA of 3.0. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are required with a minimum combined total of 300 on the verbal and quantitative (1050 old GRE scoring) and an analytical writing score of 4.0 or above. For international applicants, an acceptable TOEFL score is a minimum of 600 (250 computer-based test or 100 internet-based test) or a minimum IELTS score of 7.0 (with no subscore lower than 6.0).International applicants must take the TOEFL exam. Applicants will be required to offer a professional resume (CV), personal statement, and three letters of recommendation. MS in Health Policy Application 3

5 Student Advising At the beginning of the first semester, each student will work with a primary advisor to develop a plan of study. The student also will engage the advisor and other program faculty in securing research assistantships and pursuing professional development opportunities. After the student's first semester, the plan of study will be reviewed and revised in coordination with the primary advisor and other program faculty. Each student will complete a thesis. Program Competencies Upon completing a MS in Health Policy, students will be able to: 1. identify and analyze health policies across all levels and branches of government; 2. formulate health policy agendas and implementation strategies; 3. evaluate policy formation and outcomes using qualitative and quantitative methods; 4. incorporate public health competencies into the practice of health policy research. Competency 1: Identify and analyze policies across all levels and branches of government Learning Objectives: a. Persons will become familiar with relevant databases and other sources of information about health policies through classroom and extra-curricular experiences. o At least one of the required courses will teach students about how to use databases such as HealthStar and Lexis-Nexis, and require they successfully acquire information from these databases in order to complete class and internship assignments; o As a part of the practicum, students may complete a discrete task in which they compile historical information about a policy issue and present that information in a clear and concise manner; b. Persons will become adept at analyzing policies in terms of content, and be able to compare and contrast competing and conflicting policies across federal, state, and local jurisdictions and the three institutional branches. This includes assessing the positions of organizations most relevant to the policy. o At least one of the degree courses will require students to conduct a formal analysis of public health policies, discriminating among key terms such as program eligibility, financing, and enforcement; o As a part of the practicum or another extra-curricular experience, students may complete a discrete task in which policy content analysis and comparative evaluation is presented in a clear and concise manner; Competency 2: Formulate health policy agendas and implementation strategies Learning Objectives: a. Persons will become familiar with the theories and processes most relevant to agenda setting and policy development through classroom and extra-curricular experiences. o At least one of the degree courses will require students to define policy problems and formulate alternatives using multiple strategies and considering economic, ideological and organizational contexts; MS in Health Policy Application 4

6 o At least one of the degree courses will require students to create a health policy agenda featuring a clearly delineated strategy and multi-modal communications approach; o As a part of the practicum or another extra-curricular experience, students may complete a discrete task in which they define policy problems and alternatives and present a health policy agenda in multiple mediums including print or in-person testimony; b. Persons will become familiar with the theories and processes most relevant to health policy implementation through classroom and extra-curricular experiences. o At least one of the degree courses will require students to master theories of policy implementation and identify factors (e.g., economic, organizational) that shape implementation; o At least one of the degree courses will require students to create an implementation strategy pertaining to a particular health policy; o As a part of the practicum or another extra-curricular experience, students may complete a discrete task in which they advance the implementation of a public health policy using multiple mediums such as preparing white papers, memos, or testimony. Competency 3: Evaluate policy formation and outcomes using qualitative and quantitative methods Learning Objectives: a. Persons will apply and test theories of policy formation when considering how to advance or defend a particular health policy agenda. o At least one of the degree courses will require students to consider the role of historical and legal precedent, political ideology and partisan interests, and other variables when describing the advancement or defense of a health policy agenda; o As a part of the practicum or another extra-curricular experience, students may complete a discrete task in which they consider and identify key factors in policy development. b. Persons will evaluate the success or failure of a policy implementation process as tied to a particular set of outcomes such as improved individual health, population access, or cost. o At least one of the degree courses will require students to estimate the impact of a public health policy on a discrete outcome, accounting for multiple factors influencing policy implementation such as regulatory structure and enforcement; o As a part of the practicum or another extra-curricular experience, students may analyze a model of policy implementation in which policy is assumed to be a causal mechanism. MS in Health Policy Application 5

7 Competency 4: Incorporate public health competencies into the practice of health policy research Learning Objectives: a. Persons will be able to articulate the multiple perspectives of a health policy issue upon completing coursework that includes but is not limited to health economics, epidemiology, environmental health, health promotion and disease prevention, public health law; b. Persons will be able to discuss the policy process for improving the health status of select populations; c. Reflect "systems thinking" for resolving public health policy problems; d. Demonstrate leadership skills most relevant to the practice of public health policy. Course Requirements Students will be required to fulfill all Graduate College requirements. Additionally, students will be required to complete 48 semester hours of graduate-level coursework. Students will be required to complete a thesis upon completion of their coursework. A maximum of 12 s.h. of coursework may be transferred and at least 24 s.h. of coursework must be completed under the auspices of The University of Iowa after admission to the M.S. program in Health Policy. A detailed plan of study follows which includes required coursework with a focus on health policy content and skill development as well as analytical empirical skill development. Semester 1 Fall Credits HMP:5000 (174:200) Intro to Health Care Org. & Policy 3 HMP:5610 (174:243) Health Policy 3 EPI:4400 (173:140) Epidemiology I: Principles 3 BIOS:5110 (171:161) Introduction to Biostatistics 3 12 Semester 2 Spring HMP:7550 (174:228) Cost-Effectiveness & Decision Analysis 3 HMP:5650 (174:244) Health Policy Analysis 3 BIOS:5120 (171:162) Design & Analysis of Biomedical Studies 3 HMP:xxxx (174:xxx) Elective 3 12 Semester 3 Fall MPH:6100 (170:200) Essentials of Public Health Practice 1 HMP:6750 (174:245) Seminar in Health Policy 3 HMP:6610 (174:237) Legal Aspects of Health and Medical Care 3 HMP:7950 (174:259) Design Issues in Health Services Research 3 xxx:xxx Elective 2 12 MS in Health Policy Application 6

8 Semester 4 Spring HMP:5410 (174:212) Health Economics I 3 HMP:6710 (174:242) Federalism and Health Policy 3 HMP: XXX (174:249) Issues is Health Policy 1 HMP:xxxx (174:xxx) MS Thesis 3 xxx:xxx Elective 2 12 IV. Relationship to resources developed by the Committee on Institutional Cooperation Not Applicable V. Comparison with standards established by a regional accrediting association The University of Iowa College of Public Health is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). Since the proposed MS in Policy is an academic program offered by the Department of Health Management and Policy, College of Public Health, it will fall also under the CEPH accreditation criteria. VI. Program Implications The proposed MS in Health Policy will not have any implications for undergraduate work at the University of Iowa, as there is not currently an undergraduate program in Public Health. However, the program may serve as a link to undergraduate programs in Political Science, Sociology, Urban Planning and Environmental Affairs and other liberal arts and sciences. VII. Letters of Support Letters of support for the proposed MS (Thesis) degree program in Health Policy are in Appendix A. VIII. Program Faculty We have identified five faculty who currently are available to serve the proposed program, all from the Department of Health Management and Policy. Christopher Atchison, MPA, Clinical Professor Brian Kaskie, PhD, Associate Professor Keith J. Mueller, PhD, Gerhard Hartman Professor and Head Brian White, JD, Adjunct Assistant Professor Brad Wright, PhD, Assistant Professor MS in Health Policy Application 7

9 IX. Expected Enrollment We expect enrollment to increase over time, with a minimum number of two students entering during the first year of operation and growing to a minimum of five students entering during the fifth year of operation. IX. Statement of additional needed budget support The Department of Health Management and Policy will provide all necessary support for this program, from the following sources: Faculty currently teaching the core courses for this program Faculty who will serve as advisors and thesis reviewers Student services from the staff of the Department (two full time and one student assistant provide support for the Department s graduate programs) An annual budget allocation from department sources, including University Foundation accounts dedicated to student support. The allocation will be used as determined by the Quality Improvement Committee for the program, to include a combination of graduate student assistantships, scholarships, support for student educational opportunities, and administrative support if the program meets growth targets. X. Assessment of future needs, commitments, and opportunities Demands for analytical talent to inform policy development in health care delivery, finance and organization are expected to grow as the nation s delivery system undergoes fundamental change during the next decade and beyond. Policy makers and organizations that support the health care enterprise will require analysts trained in both policy development and rigorous research methods because decisions will need to be evidence-based and policies will require evaluation that can quickly reject or improve new approaches. Bren Low summarized the future needs well in his letter of support: Given the current challenges facing the healthcare system, there will be continued demand for bright, qualified individuals that can generate create policy solutions to decrease costs and improve care. Taylor David Heim gave us an explicit challenge: My company [SAS Institute] can continue to hire graduates from other Universities, or we can take a serious look at well-qualified candidates from the University of Iowa with a MS Degree in Health Policy it is your choice. MS in Health Policy Application 8

10 Appendix A Letters of Support

11 Muskie School of Public Service Graduate Program in Public Health P.O. Box 9300, Portland, Maine (207) , FAX (207) , TTY (207) October 4, 2013 Keith Mueller, PhD Head, Department of Health Management and Policy College of Public Health, University of Iowa 105 River St. Iowa City, IA Dear Dr. Mueller: Thanks for sharing your department s proposal to establish an MS degree in Health Policy. Our MPH program started as a CAHME accredited MS degree in health policy and management so I am very familiar with the proposed curriculum. My understanding of the proposed degree program is that it will provide the substantive and methodological training needed to launch successful careers in policy research and policy analysis specific to health policy. I agree completely with the proposal s assumptions regarding the need for more methodologically trained policy analysts who can understand and examine the rapidly changing and increasingly complex health policy and health system changes. I see increasing opportunities for such graduates in not-for-profit health systems, research organizations, and government. Further, students from this program will be wellpositioned to be competitive for doctoral programs in health policy and health services research. Thank you for sharing this proposal and providing an opportunity for me to offer my enthusiastic encouragement and support. I look forward to monitoring its future success. Sincerely, Andrew F. Coburn, Ph.D Professor (Research) and Director Population Health and Health Policy A member of the University of Maine System

12 October 7, 2013 Keith Mueller, PhD Head, Department of Health Management and Policy College of Public Health, University of Iowa 105 River St. Iowa City, IA Dear Dr. Mueller (Keith): I am writing in support of your department s proposed Master of Science (MS) degree in Health Policy. This degree appears to provide an excellent complement to the other degree programs offered by your department. My understanding of the proposed degree program is that it will provide the substantive and methodological training needed to launch successful careers in policy research and policy analysis specific to health policy. Given the complexities of health policy and the radical changes underway in healthcare finance, delivery, and policy, there is an increasing demand for young professionals with those skills. Your proposed program is well designed to prove the appropriate blend of training in health policy and development of strong methodological skills. Further, should students decide to matriculate into PhD programs to develop research careers, perhaps in university settings, your MS degree will advantage them in seeking admission to high quality programs. If there is any additional material I can provide let me know. Good luck on this. Sincerely, Timothy McBride Professor Brown School Washington University in St. Louis Washington University in St. Louis, Campus Box 1196, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, Missouri (314) , Fax: (314) ,

13 June 28, 2013 Keith Mueller, PhD Executive Director, Department of Health Management and Policy College of Public Health, University of Iowa 105 River St. Iowa City, IA Dear Dr. Mueller: I am providing my full support for the proposed MS degree in Health Policy degree. Not only does this degree provide an excellent complement to the others offered by your department but it also will contribute to the preparation of highly desirable and uniquely qualified job candidates in the field of health policy My understanding of the proposed degree program is that students will enter the workforce with expert knowledge in health policy and also possess the methodological skills required for the sort of quantitative and qualitative analysis that often occurs in the workplace. Additionally, the understanding and deconstructing of legislation, federal rules, and court decisions is extremely important for students to master, given the current environment of implementing the ACA. In my current position as a Senior Project Manager at the National Quality Forum, I certainly would value individuals who exhibit these competencies. Also, as an alum of the University of Iowa MHA/MPH program, I would be willing to serve a mentor for these students, help them with professional development and job placement. The University of Iowa Department of Health Management and Policy is taking a great step forward in developing this degree. It will bring our department closer to the top programs in the country and also will fill a critical need to produce well trained graduates who will pursue careers in health policy I wish you best as you go forward with these plans. Please do not hesitate to call me should you require additional information. Sincerely, Allison Ludwig

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