Each year, graduate students in the Public Policy Program participate in a policy research seminar (PRS) where they work in small teams to complete client-driven policy analysis projects. The PRS allows students to hone their skills in implementing the analytic tools of policy research and, importantly, in communicating their results to policymakers. Dr. Sarah Stafford, Director of the Public Policy Program, teaches the PRS class and serves as supervisor for all the projects. Faculty members in economics, government, and policy also serve as individual project advisors.
Under supervision and support from Schroeder Center Director, Jennifer Mellor, Ph.D., three students (Jeremie Amoroso, Tony Guth, and Lewis Woodard) completed a project on Basic Health Programs (BHPs). Their report evaluated the projected impact of optional state run BHPs, authorized under the Affordable Care Act, on family health insurance coverage and use. It is hypothesized that BHPs will encourage more families to have all members insured and increase healthcare access and use among families. The students conducted an in-depth analysis of data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) to test this hypothesis. The project was prepared for client Amerigroup Corporation, a company devoted to improving access to healthcare while reducing costs to taxpayers.
The group created a poster of their results which was presented to the Public Policy Program Board of Advisors and wrote a 56 page report of their findings. Jeremie, Tony, and Lewis presented their results to senior level staff at Amerigroup headquarters in Virginia Beach.
Jeremie, Tony, and Lewis all agree that the project helped prepare them for future job opportunities and provided them with valuable experience in health care data analysis.