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Students Complete Summer Health Policy Fellowships

For the second consecutive summer, William & Mary and Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) students connected on issues around health policy, public health, and health services research as part of the SC-BI (Scooby) research program. The program gets its name from its sponsors, the Schroeder Center for Health Policy at William & Mary, and the Brock Institute for Community and Global Health at EVMS. For seven weeks in June and July, a select group of students conducted their own research project, attended talks by expert researchers, and made connections with various faculty and students at the partner organizations.

This year’s group of William & Mary students all lived up to the challenge of conducting research using administrative data from Virginia hospitals. Grace Nowadly (Economics, 2017) used patient discharge records to study opioid hospitalizations. Andy Loh (Economics and Computational Applied Mathematics, 2017) used patient readmission records to compare different methods of risk adjustment in the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP). Aidan Fielding (Economics, 2017) used hospital records for childbirth and delivery to examine whether obstetricians adopt their peers’ practice patterns when it comes to deciding whether to perform a cesarean section.

Visits to EVMS helped round out the William & Mary students’ research activities. Dr. Andy Plunk, a researcher who specializes in substance abuse, shared his expertise with Grace Nowadly on several occasions. Aidan Fielding met with, and attended a patient visit, with Dr. John Brush, the acclaimed author of The Science of the Art of Medicine, and an expert in the ways physicians learn. Andy Loh had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with Susan Schriever, the director of Quality, Accreditation, Patient Safety, & Infection Prevention at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital (SNGH).

The EVMS students had similar experiences during site visits to the William & Mary campus, where faculty from the departments of Psychology, Kinesiology and Health Sciences, and Economics offered feedback on the students’ research. This year’s trio of EVMS students included Stephan Duran, Lauren Marshall, and Andrew Ojeda. Stephan is a medical student, and Andrew is in the EVMS medical masters program. Lauren is a 2014 William & Mary graduate now attending EVMS for a masters in public health.

The summer fellowships culminated with a series of research presentations at EVMS on July 28th. This year’s fellows were funded by a grant from Sentara Healthcare.