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Healthcare Policy Expert, Amanda Smith Cassidy, Speaks to W&M Students

In October 2018, the Schroeder Center hosted a visit by Amanda Smith Cassidy, an alumna of W&M’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) program and an expert in the field of healthcare policy.  Over a working lunch, Cassidy met with current students and faculty to speak about her professional career and to answer questions about her experiences in healthcare policy.

Cassidy began the meeting with an overview of her employment in healthcare policy.  Following her graduation from W&M’s MPP program in 1998, Cassidy joined Mathematica Policy Research (MPR), focusing mostly on Medicare managed care and the impacts of the 1997 Balanced Budget Act.  She then moved to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Office of Legislation, where she helped translate technical language and used analytical skills to study the impacts of various healthcare policies.  Later, Cassidy moved to Richmond and started a private healthcare consulting practice, where she worked until joining her current employer, Arnold & Porter, as a Health Policy Advisor.  She advises clients, primarily drug and device companies, about complex healthcare payment channels and helps them interact with CMS to clarify issues.

W&M students in the audience were especially interested in how Cassidy’s time in the MPP program affected her career.  Cassidy emphasized the value of using and interpreting data, and she urged students to focus on developing their skills through applied projects, such as those offered through the program’s Policy Research Seminar.  She also encouraged students to pursue opportunities through coursework that explain the regulatory and rulemaking process in order to understand the connections between statutes and their resulting policies.  To those students seeking internships and jobs, Cassidy emphasized the value of flexibility in choosing a career path and adapting to the changing nature of your work.

Cassidy also spoke on the nature of healthcare policy today.  She emphasized the widespread impacts of healthcare, both for patients and policymakers – all of whom represent constituents who are affected by healthcare policy.  Cassidy also commented on the availability of healthcare jobs, as an increasing number of employers – from consulting firms, to the public sector, to device manufacturers – need professionals with quantitative skills and knowledge of healthcare policy. 

More broadly, Cassidy described the differences between public and private sector employment and touched on, among other things, the changing nature of the workplace and the challenges of simultaneously finding new projects and completing current work as a private consultant.