The Perelman School of Medicine conducts a Master's of Science in Health Policy Research that prepares graduates for health services research and health policy research careers in academic, government, community, and industry settings (see www.med.upenn.edu/mshp). The program is a collaborative effort of the Wharton School, the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, and the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program. David Asch, MD, MBA, is the Executive Director of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, and serves as the faculty trainer for nephrology fellows interested in this career pathway.
The Masters of Science Program in Health Policy Research curriculum provides sophisticated training in health economics, health policy, data collection and analysis, research design, and statistics in a setting of robust support for research across many disciplines pertinent to nephrology. The two-year training program emphasizes research on policy-relevant issues in health care outcomes and comparative effectiveness, often in contexts that are collaborative and interdisciplinary. Trainees gain the skills necessary to combine their clinical expertise with their research training in order to ask and answer important questions about how care is and ought to be organized, financed, managed, and delivered. This is highly relevant to a number of areas in nephrology including, but not limited to, acute and chronic dialysis and transplantation.
The curriculum consists of a total of 12 course units, including seven core courses, the mentored research project (two credits) and three electives, drawn from schools across the University. Core courses include:
- Economics of Health Care Delivery
- Introduction to Statistics for Health Policy
- Health Services and Policy Research Methods I and II
- Applied Regression Analysis for Health Policy Research
- Fundamentals of Health Policy
- Health Services and Policy Research in Progress
The elective courses are drawn from the schools involved in the MSHP program and the Leonard Davis Institute. Existing elective courses include advanced epidemiology or biostatistics from the School of Medicine, advanced health care economics, health care policy or statistics from the Wharton School, survey design, measurement and analysis from the Annenberg School, social policy and social environment from the School of Social Policy and Practice, and social forces and demography from the School of Arts and Sciences.
All students are required to complete a final research project/thesis as part of the Master of Science in Health Policy Research curriculum and individual organizational relationships with the nonprofit sector are facilitated by the program. Scholar projects range from community-based research partnerships with primary data collection, large-scale health policy analysis based research partnerships with primary data collection and large-scale health policy analysis using national administrative datasets. All research projects are guided by small teams of faculty mentors with frequent opportunities for group feedback on research in progress. The program also connects scholars with a strong network of faculty on the campus, community leaders from Philadelphia and program alumni across the U.S.