Federal Agency Director To Inaugurate U.Va.’s Center for Health Policy


The University of Virginia’s Center for Health Policy, created last year as a joint program of the School of Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, will hold its inaugural event Tuesday from 6 to 7 p.m., in Garrett Hall’s Great Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Carolyn M. Clancy, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Center for Health Policy’s mission, according to its director, Dr. Arthur Garson Jr., University Professor and professor of public health sciences and public policy, is to conduct rigorous, non-ideological, non-partisan, evidence-based research to find the most effective and efficient solutions to public health problems; to educate the next generation of those who will study, teach and influence health policy; and to inform public debate and influence decisions on health policy, both in the United States and abroad.

“By many measures, both health and medical care in the United States compare poorly with other countries,” said Garson, former U.Va. provost and former dean of the School of Medicine, who has advocated evidence-based research on cost-effective methods of prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

“We have out-of-control costs and waste up to one-third of our dollars spent on health,” he said. “We have inordinate expenses in the last year of life that do not serve our patients and their families well. We have unreliable quality of care, with overuse by patients and providers but underuse of many preventive measures. We have mounting rates of diseases that are self-inflicted. We have a health care workforce too small to meet foreseeable demands, and we have impaired access to affordable care for more than 50 million people with an inadequate safety net that relies to a great extent on changing state budgets.

“As these and other problems related to health take on increasing importance, we have the opportunity to produce innovative approaches to research, to teach the next generation and actually to change policy based upon evidence. Most health policy thinking has been frozen into various camps, each of which defends its favored positions and attacks almost all ideas coming from others. The country desperately needs unbiased thinking about how to change policy to help solve our pressing health policy problems.”

The center fosters working groups to discuss various research topics and help formulate new approaches and answers to important health policy questions, Garson said. Current areas of concentration include:

  • Health care workforce
  • Personal engagement in health
  • Improvement of Medicaid’s cost, quality and system design
  • Difficult decisions in public health

Affiliation with the center is open to U.Va. faculty, post-doctoral fellows and students, as well as visiting faculty and scholars.

The center’s 17 fellows are:

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