Office of Clinical Affairs offers residents rotation in health policy

By Ellen Moran

UMass Medical School Communications

December 29, 2014
  Jennifer Bradford
  Joyce A. Murphy, MPA, executive vice chancellor of Commonwealth Medicine; Christina Baah, MD, MPH; Jennifer Bradford, MD; Umbereen S. Nehal, MD, MPH, associate medical director of the Office of Clinical Affairs; Carolyn S. Langer, MD, JD, MPH, director of the Office of Clinical Affairs and chief medical officer of MassHealth; David Polakoff, MD, MSc, chief medical officer and associate dean of Commonwealth Medicine.

Jennifer Bradford, MD, a preventive medicine resident at UMass Medical School whose interests include addiction medicine, jumped at the chance to participate in the Office of Clinical Affairs’ (OCA) new rotation in health policy.

While working on projects with Clinical Pharmacy Services within OCA, Dr. Bradford learned how the group provides clinical leadership to the Massachusetts Medicaid program, MassHealth. OCA supports management functions that include clinical policy, pharmacy, quality, clinical analytics and oral health.

“I really had a chance to see physicians working in a field that you do not traditionally expect to see physicians working in,” said Bradford, the first resident to participate in the program. She was awarded a certificate this fall.

Residents in the health policy rotation, limited to UMass Medical School students, collaborate on a health policy project and shadow MassHealth leadership, including the chief medical officer, director of pharmacy and director of quality. The length of the course depends on each resident’s schedule. OCA is recruiting residents for the next rotation.

Bradford’s project involved applying for grant funding to study treatment protocols for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, which is withdrawal experienced by a baby whose mother took opiate or narcotic drugs during her pregnancy. The grant wasn’t accepted, but Bradford said it was a great experience and that she learned about the process of finding key stakeholders and completing an environmental scan before starting an initiative.

The rotation allows residents to become familiar with health policy matters not included in usual resident rotations and address their interests and can be tailored to each individual resident’s particular interests.

There are many opportunities, said residency creator and coordinator Christina Baah, MD, MPH, an associate medical director in the Office of Clinical Affairs. “The residents learn what it is like being a physician working in health administration and policy,” she said.Learning opportunities in the rotation include attending MassHealth meetings, learning about MassHealth pharmacy benefit operations, as well as training in prior authorization; infant mortality; asthma; chronic disease and rehabilitation hospital admissions; care coordination; and health care reform implementation and evaluation.

“I had a chance to look at what my interests were and match that with projects at the Office of Clinical Affairs,” Bradford said of the rotation.

Residents who are interested in participating in the rotation should contact Baah at Christina.Baah@state.ma.us or call her at 617-847-3472.

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