Purpose of the Health Policy Awards for Student Scholarship
An important objective of the Schroeder Center for Health Policy is to support and expand health policy research at the College of William & Mary. The Health Policy Award for Student Scholarship builds on existing efforts to increase health policy research at the College by focusing support to undergraduate and graduate students.
The Health Policy Award for Student Scholarship is designed to encourage students to write about health policy topics of interest to them. The writing is intended to replicate the type of work health policy analysts conduct as they analyze and evaluate available information and make critical policy recommendations.
The Schroeder Center for Health Policy uses the following definition of “health policy” to both guide its own work and to grant research and scholarship awards: Health policy research and analysis is the study of national, state, and/or local government policies or programs that aim to promote the health of people, improve access to healthcare, and increase the quality, equity, and efficiency of care delivery. The Schroeder Center recognizes the important contributions and perspectives that various academic disciplines bring to the study of health policy issues. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Scholar in Health Policy Research program provides examples of the ways in which certain disciplines approach health policy issues (see http://healthpolicyscholars.org/disciplines-program).
2013 Award Recipients
The Schroeder Center is delighted to recognize these William & Mary students for their exceptional policy briefing memos into a variety of health policy issues:
Ryan Buckland (B.A., Public Policy, 2013), won first place for his memo, “Geriatrician Shortage – Loan Forgiveness Grant Program to Close the Gap Between Geriatrician Supply and Demand and Ensure Cost-Effective, Quality Care for the Nation’s Elderly.” Using statistics from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Ryan showed that the United States spends a considerable amount of healthcare dollars on adults ages 65 and over. Ryan’s research focused on the need to increase the supply of geriatricians to help this population – with an estimated additional 28,250 geriatricians needed by 2030. To alleviate this geriatrician shortage, Ryan argued that U.S. Senator Warner (Virginia) support a loan forgiveness program to encourage medical students and primary care residents to become geriatricians by reducing some of their medical school debt.
Irina Calos (M.P.P., Public Policy, 2014) received the second place award for her memo, “Sequestration Effects on Cancer Medication Funding.” Irina’s memo focused on the issue of cancer clinics turning away patients needing chemotherapy as a result of the sequestration’s 2 percent Medicare funding cut. To ensure that cancer clinics continue to provide Medicare patients with uninterrupted and necessary oncology treatment, Irina proposed that U.S. Senator Schumer (New York) consider three options: 1) “support legislation that would exempt oncology services from the 2 percent Medicare funding cut;” 2) contact the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to request a revised “implementation of the sequestration cuts as they apply to Medicare Part B drugs;” and 3) reintroduce legislation to correct discounts to the average sales price of chemotherapy drugs.
Two students, Amber Will (M.P.P. and J.D., Public Policy and Law, 2016) and Jordan Bowman (M.P.P. and J.D., Public Policy and Law, 2014) both earned third place. Amber’s policy memo, “Access to Birth Control: Worthwhile Endeavor,” advised U.S. Senator Kaine (Virginia) to “provide legislative support in passing the Access to Birth Control Act (ABCA), which would prevent pharmacists” from denying women access to emergency contraception. To support her position, Amber cited information published in Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Journal of Law and Health on teenage pregnancies and negative effects stemming from unintended pregnancies and summarized information from the FDA on the safety of emergency contraception. Amber argued that some of the costs associated with unwanted pregnancies could be alleviated by the Access to Birth Control Act.
Jordan’s memo, “Insure the Uninsured: Implementing the ACA’s Medicaid Expansion and Maximizing Take-up Rates,” explored the benefits of expanding Medicaid in Virginia, arguing that expansion would “provide important health care access for individuals who cannot otherwise afford health care” at a minimal cost to the state. Jordan also argued to support policies that increase the percentage of eligible people who use Medicaid , because not all eligible persons currently take advantage of the low cost health insurance. Jordan offered two options to encourage those needing Medicaid benefits to apply: 1) support programs to educate adults on the benefits of Medicaid and 2) provide both “online and paper application to the program.”
2014 Award Cycle
In January 2014, the Schroeder Center will invite students to submit memos for the second round of Health Policy Awards for Student Scholarship.