AcademyHealth President and CEO Speaks on Health Policy

Posted in GUMC Stories

A nationally recognized health policy researcher came to Georgetown University Feb. 29 to address students, faculty, and staff.

Lisa Simpson, MB, BCh, MPH, FAAP, president and CEO of AcademyHealth, spoke in St. Mary’s Hall about translating research into policy and practice.

“Health services research is really viewed as an applied field,” said Simpson, a pediatrician who oversees the 4,300-member organization that seeks to use health services research to improve health care.

Simpson delivered her lecture at the invitation of Georgetown University’s student chapter of AcademyHealth. The group is situated within the Department of Health Systems Administration at the School of Nursing & Health Studies.

“This is definitely a huge honor,” said Rachael Piltch-Loeb (NHS’12), a health care management & policy major who introduced Simpson. “We are glad to have you here.”

Piltch-Loeb co-chairs the student chapter along with Georgia Kozonis (G’13), a master’s student in health systems administration. Michael Stoto, Ph.D., professor of health systems administration, serves as faculty advisor.

During her address, Simpson talked about her organization, policy, types of evidence, the role of evidence in decision-making, and translating research into policy.

“The first thing you need to move policy is for policy to recognize there is a problem that needs to be addressed,” said Simpson, who illustrated her points with an obesity case study.

Simpson also advised the students to be armed with potential solutions whenever trying to change policy.

“Understanding and having available solutions is absolutely essential,” she said.

Finally, she said that it is important – when trying to move policy – to be aware of windows of opportunity, such as a national event that focuses attention on an issue, and to become a trusted source of information.

“It’s very important to build relationships with policymakers and decisionmakers,” she said.

By Bill Cessato, NHS Communications
(Published March 28, 2012)