The Schroeder Center for Health Policy at the College of William & Mary has started the 2009-2010 academic year with a new name and a new director.
Jennifer Mellor was named director of the center effective July 1, succeeding founding director Louis F. Rossiter. Mellor, the Class of 1955 Distinguished Associate Professor of Economics, came to William & Mary in 1998. She teaches health economics and graduate healthcare policy in the Thomas Jefferson Program for Public Policy. Mellor said she plans to make the center a more visible member of the campus as well as the Williamsburg community.
"I hope the Schroeder Center will become the hub of health and healthcare policy discussions for the campus and the greater Williamsburg community," she added.
First up for the community, the Schroeder Center scheduled an Oct. 28 panel discussion on healthcare reform in the auditorium of the College's admission office. The non-partisan panel will discuss what pending reforms could mean for the Medicare and Medicaid programs and populations.
On campus, Mellor has already spearheaded the creation of three undergraduate research assistantships awarded across the social sciences. Through this program, undergraduates will work with professors in the School of Business as well as the departments of economics and government conducting research on topics ranging from a comparison of healthcare information technology in Japan and the U.S. to a look at health insurance coverage for children and an examination of a prospective payment system for Medicare outpatients.
Another part of the center's new identity is a name change. Since it's founding in 2003, the center has been called the Schroeder Center for Healthcare Policy. As of Sept. 1, 2009, the center became known as the Schroeder Center for Health Policy.
"It's a subtle change," Mellor admits. "But, it's an important one.
Mellor noted that changing the name helps the center better promote the broad focus of the research being conducted by its faculty on policies pertaining to healthcare and public health. Health policy research examines not just healthcare issues but also the wide array of factors that lead to better health, she said. These factors include a variety of health behaviors, the environment and genetics.
"Recent evidence tells us that behaviors like smoking, nutrition, physical activity and others, matter significantly more than medical care in preventing premature deaths," she said. "The name change reflects a growing recognition of the importance of both medical and non-medical determinants of health."
The Schroeder Center for Health Policy is housed within the Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy. It was founded through an endowment from Cliff and Lois Schroeder.