Vol. 12 No. 5 - December, 2009

National search launched for director of health policy institute

In September, after many months of consultation with members of the UMass community, Chancellor Michael F. Collins announced plans for the establishment of the UMass Medical School Institute for Health Policy, saying, “I have been impressed with the efforts of many of our faculty members, and with the leadership and initiative of our colleagues in Commonwealth Medicine, to stimulate debate, offer constructive options and wholeheartedly participate in health care review and reform efforts. Because of their successes, I believe that we can do more and that our actions can be bolder in the health policy arena.” He called upon the campus community to work together to make this institute a reality.

In December, a national search was launched

to recruit an internationally recognized, outstanding academic health policy researcher as the founding director of the institute.

UMass Medical School, as the commonwealth’s only public medical school, is uniquely positioned to launch such an institute. A number of academic departments already make significant contributions in the health policy arena, including the departments of family medicine & community health, psychiatry and quantitative health sciences, as do Commonwealth Medicine, the Meyers Primary Care Institute and the Center for Outcomes Research, among others. This substantial volume of health care and service delivery and health care consultative work presents a unique foundation for health policy and health services research.

The new UMMS Institute for Health Policy will:

  • make formal the UMMS role as a health policy expert and advisor in the federal, regional and state health care arenas;
  • enhance communication and collaboration among health policy experts at UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care, throughout Commonwealth Medicine, as well as across the other campuses of the UMass system, by providing a centralized health policy home;
  • expand the depth and breadth of UMass health policy work and expertise; and
  • bring state, national and international recognition and distinction to the Medical School and the university overall, as a voice of leading health policy experts.

In December, a national search was launched to recruit an internationally recognized, outstanding health policy researcher as the founding director of the institute. The search committee is being chaired by Catarina Kiefe, MD, PhD, chair and professor of quantitative health sciences and professor of medicine. Details about the search, including a list of search committee members, are available on Dean Flotte’s Web pages. The director will be called upon to:

  • establish close collaborations with faculty and staff engaged in health policy work within UMMS academic departments and school entities, and with the other UMass campuses;
  • recruit tenure track faculty to be housed primarily within the Institute for Health Policy;
  • recruit associate members of the institute from related academic departments, enabling such members to access institute resources; and
  • work collaboratively with colleagues from across the Medical School as a point person for external contacts with the media, government officials and potential donors for health policy-related communications and commitments.

Look for periodic updates about the progress of Institute for Health Policy, including search updates, in future issues of Focus.