Health Policy

Past Exams


Students should identify at least one framework and at least one core issue, and be familiar with it at the level of specific research. Students should be conversant with the other frameworks and core issues (not necessarily at the level of specific research, but as context). Students may identify a special topic and a patient population, but should be prepared to be examined on their core issue broadly. Students should prepare a bibliography for review at least 2 months prior to the exam. It should be submitted to the student’s sponsor and one other faculty member, who will head up the examination team.


Population Health Assessment and Improvement

  • Epidemiology
  • Health behavior
  • Public health infrastructure and intervention frameworks

Determinants of Health and Health Disparities

  • Social/behavioral determinants of health
  • SES and racial/ethnic inequities in health and health care delivery

Public Health Policy

  • Role of policy in public health
  • Effectiveness of policy in public health

Health Services Research

  • Health/Delivery Systems
  • Providers
  • Policies impacting the above

Core issues

Health Care Financing

  • Health Care Reform, Politics and Public Opinion
  • History of national health insurance reform efforts
  • Public opinion on health care reform
  • Major national insurance reform legislation, e.g. Medicare/Medicaid, CHIP, MMA/Medicare Part D, ACA

Health Insurance and Payment

  • Medicare and Medicaid design and performance
  • Trends in employer-sponsored insurance
  • Market failures in health care
  • Managed care
  • Payment models and reform

Costs and Spending

  • Contributors to spending growth
  • Practice variation and cost implications
  • Comparative effectiveness and cost effectiveness
  • Cost containment
  • Rationing

Health Care Organization and Delivery

  • Organizational forms
  • Trends in hospital-based and ambulatory care
  • Integration and consolidation
  • Organized care systems/ACOs
  • Medical homes

Quality of Care

  • Patient safety and quality improvement
  • Measurement
  • Public reporting
  • Pay-for-performance
  • Organizational change in health care

Provider–Patient Relationship and Patient Role in Health Care System

  • Agency and trust
  • Shared decision-making
  • Patient activation
  • Patient as consumer and consumer-driven health care

Public and Population health

  • Specific conditions or behaviors that influence health outcomes
  • Determinants of these conditions or behaviors
  • Role of Federal, State, Local Health Departments in addressing these conditions or behaviors
  • Interactions of these or related parties with the health delivery system