Health Policy and Management

This field concerns the research that informs health policy and management. It deals both with the substantive findings of that research, and with the methodological issues that researchers face. Moreover, since health care in the United States is both a public and private sector enterprise, it encompasses a broad set of activities and issues pertaining to the quality, access, financing, management and organization of health care, at various levels.

Preparing for the Examination: An Overview

Shortly after completing the Preliminary Qualifying Examination, the student should meet with the health faculty member who chairs the doctoral comprehensive examination committee. That faculty member will work with the student to assess his/her current background and to identify a set of activities that will be useful in preparing for the exam. In addition to working with individual members of the health faculty, these activities will include:

  • Taking courses in health policy and related areas.
  • Reading current journals in the field.
  • Attending meetings and seminars where research is presented.
  • Using a set of "core readings" to tie together these activities.

The Pre-examination Conference

Approximately two months before the exam, the student should again meet with the faculty member who chairs the comprehensive examination committee. At that time, the student should be prepared to review his/her progress in preparation. Additionally, s/he should propose at least two areas (at least one substantive issue, and at least one methodologic issue) in which s/he is particularly well prepared to be examined. At that conference, the student should provide about 15 citations to seminal articles and/or books that define those substantive issues and methods.   

The Examination

The examination will cover the fields of health policy and management broadly, with particular emphasis on the topics and themes raised in the core readings, as well as the additional substantive issues and methods proposed by the student. 

The five-hour written examination will consist of two sections. The first section will be substantive, and will require the student to exhibit familiarity with a current issue in health policy and/or management, as well as knowledge of the research that might inform that issue. The second section will be methodological, and will require that the student demonstrate knowledge of an issue in design, sampling, measurement or analysis. In both cases, the student will have at least three alternative questions to choose from. It is expected that the candidate will cite specific authors and bodies of research.