McBride, Students Head for Jefferson City, Washington to Study Health Reform

Faculty; Policy; Public Health; Students

Professor Timothy McBride and two other instructors are leading 15 Brown School students to experience first-hand the implementation of health care reform through meetings with influential policymakers.

The class is one of the Brown School’s innovative “Transdisciplinary Problem Solving” courses, a signature of its Masters in Public Health (MPH) curriculum.

The class traveled to Jefferson City, Mo., on February 17 and observed the MOHealthNET Oversight Committee that McBride chairs. On their way to the state capital, students spent two hours with Missouri State Senator Jill Schupp, who volunteered to take the bus with the class. She told them about the legislative experience and discussed their group projects.

“Spending that much quality time with a state legislator was incredible,” McBride said. “Sen. Schupp was very engaging and interested in the students, and they reported to me that she really gave them great insights. She even wants to receive copies of their projects when they are done.”

The students have also heard from other state and federal experts on health reform from Missouri and Illinois.

The class is planning to travel to Washington D.C., during spring break, March 8-15 in a culmination of their semester experience.  There, they plan to visit Capitol Hill, federal agencies and research institutions that analyze health reform implementation to hear first-hand about the key issues they are facing.  The trip will conclude with group presentations in a “briefing” format before a panel of experts.

“The trip to Washington should be a real highlight for the students,” McBride said. “Not only will they hear first-hand about what issues national policymakers face, but they will do what experienced health policy analysts do: present their work in a briefing format.”

The course focuses on the implementation of health reform, using perspectives from a wide range of public health, social work, and other fields to develop an understanding of the problems leading to the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.  Using this perspective, the students are developing an understanding of the policy solution developed, with an emphasis on issues faced during the implementation. 

The course draws on tools and methods learned in other parts of the curriculum, but develops new tools for the analysis of the policy implementation, drawing on fields such as public health, social work, economics, law, business, and medicine.

The class is also being team taught by Sarah Moreland-Russell, PhD, Assistant Research Professor, and Raven Ross, a doctoral student at the Brown School.  All three instructors have extensive experience working with the ACA.