Health Policy

Where Health and Policy Meet

Department of Public Administration and Policy (DPAP) professors who specialize in health policy study how social, political, environmental, and economic conditions affect people’s health outcomes. Many SPA health policy researchers analyze the connection between public health disparities and racial inequality and how economic insecurity can exacerbate public health issues. For example, Professors Taryn Morrissey and Alison Jacknowitz have published numerous studies on the causes of food insecurity in the United States and its effects on child and maternal health. Their findings are informative for public health programs that intend to alleviate food insecurity.

Professor Erdal Tekin studies the effects of gun violence on people’s mental health outcomes and how public policies can help reduce crime and gun homicides; he is also a well-known expert on risky health behaviors such as substance abuse, smoking, and risky drinking. Professor Claudia Persico’s current research focuses on how early exposure to environmental pollution can cause inequality by affecting child and adult health, development, behavior, and academic achievement. Professor Jocelyn Johnston has several published studies on how public health programs, such as Medicaid, can be more efficiently administered. Professor Scott Bass studies long-term care policy and financing health care for the elderly.

In these times of unprecedented public health challenges, SPA health policy professors have shifted some of their work toward understanding and mitigating the health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Aparna Soni and PhD student Alexandra Rakus found that Medicaid had a protective effect for low-income people’s health outcomes during the early part of the pandemic. In a recent editorial piece, Professors Anna Amirkhanyan and Kenneth Meier discussed what determines a nursing home’s ability to protect its residents from COVID-19. They found that for-profit nursing homes tend to be understaffed and offer lower quality care which increases the risk of a covid outbreak. 

Meet DPAP Faculty in this Field