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Schroeder Center Recognizes Students for Studies in Health Policy

The Schroeder Center is pleased to announce the recipients of its inaugural Health Policy Awards for Student Scholarship program. As part of the Schroeder Center’s mission to increase health policy research at William & Mary, these new awards encourage and support student research and analysis in the field of health policy. William & Mary student applicants submitted a briefing memo addressed to a U.S. Senator or state representative on a health policy topic of their choosing.  Based on their exceptional memos, this year’s student Health Policy Award winners are Ryan Buckland, Irina Calos, Amber Will, and Jordan Bowman.

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.”

The Schroeder Center is delighted to recognize these William & Mary students for their exceptional policy briefing memos into a variety of health policy issues. In January 2014, the Schroeder Center will invite students to submit memos for the second Health Policy Awards for Student Scholarship program.