2018 Health Policy Course

The 2018 TMC Health Policy Course is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the Texas Medical Center’s academic institutions. The course teaches students the fundamentals of U.S. health policy and provides them with the background and context they need to analyze the most pressing health policy challenges facing the country today.


The course includes 13 sessions organized by the TMC Health Policy Institute and led by experts from across the Texas Medical Center. The sessions complement students’ studies at their home institutions, from which they may earn course credit.

All sessions are held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Texas Medical Center headquarters, located on the 6th floor of 6550 Bertner Avenue, Houston, TX 77030.

Attendance is free and open to the public. Registration is not required by TMC. Students seeking credit may seek to register with their own academic institutions.

Sessions will be broadcast live on this site, which will also include an archive of session broadcasts.

For more information on the course, contact Stephen.H.Linder@uth.tmc.edu.

Course Schedule

Click on each session for details including moderators, panelists, topics to be discussed and assigned readings. Please note that instructors continue to update this information on a regular basis.

1. Beliefs and Myths About U.S. Health Care – Jan. 9

Click here for free registration.

Far too often in the world of health policy, we accept half-truths as indisputable facts. But what happens when we take a deeper dive and really scrutinize the data? Dr. Arthur “Tim” Garson, Jr., director of the TMC Health Policy Institute and author of the book Health Care Half Truths, will challenge panelists and audience members to reconsider what they think they know about health care.

For example, many of us think the U.S. has the best health care system in the world. But what do the numbers tell us? We’ve all heard over and over again that preventive care saves money. But do the dollars really add up? Garson will discuss those myths and misconceptions, and others, with experts from across Texas Medical Center in what’s sure to be a fun and informative discussion.

Discussion: 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Drinks and hors d’oeuvres: 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Follow the conversation using #HealthPolicyMyths


Arthur “Tim” Garson, Jr., MD, MPH
Director, Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute
Former Dean, Baylor College of Medicine
Former University Provost, University of Virginia


Anita G. Hufft, PhD, RN
Professor and Dean, Texas Woman’s University College of Nursing

Stephen Linder, PhD
Associate Director, Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute
Director, Institute for Health Policy, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health

Lamar Pritchard, PhD
Professor and Dean, University of Houston College of Pharmacy

Jean Raphael, MD, MPH
Founding Director of the Center for Child Health Policy and Advocacy at Texas Children’s Hospital
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine

Jessica L. Roberts, JD
Director, Health Law & Policy Institute, University of Houston Law Center
Health Policy Scholar, Center for Medical Ethics & Health Policy, Baylor College of Medicine

Michael E. Speer, MD
Professor of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine
Past President, Texas Medical Association

2. U.S. Health Policy Methods - Jan. 16

Jessica Mantel
Co-Director, Health Law & Policy Institute, University of Houston Law Center


  • Policymaking Tools
  • Federalism
  • Case Study: Medicaid

3. State and Local Health Policy Objectives and Methods – Jan. 23

Charles Begley
Co-Director, Center for Health Services Research, UTHealth School of Public Health


  • Evolving objectives
  • Mechanisms, forms, types, and sources
  • Comparison of Texas and other states

4. How Health Policy is Made - Jan. 30


  • Institutions and processes
  • Interest groups and lobbyists
  • Sources of influence


Aisha Morris Moultry
Associate Professor, School of Pharmacy, Texas Southern University


Brad Shields
Managing Associate, Texas Legislative Associates and Public Policy Consultant

Chonya Davis-Johnson
America’s 5 Minute Advocate

Edward Stemley, Pharm.D., M.S.
Director of Pharmacy, UTMB, Professional Organization

Panel Questions:

  • Explain the various stages of health policy development.
  • What are the roles of various interest groups in healthcare public policy?
  • What is the difference between presidential, congressional, and state roles in health care public policy debate, establishment, and implementation?
  • What changes have you seen in the policymaking process as a result of changes in presidential administration?
  • What are some strategies/tactics used by interest groups to influence public policy?
  • How can interest groups and political parties influence government policy in modern day America?
  • Please explain the “Iron Triangle” model of policy-making involving Congress, the bureaucracy, and interest groups.

Recommended Pre-Reading:


5. Access to Care and Health Insurance Coverage - Feb. 6


  • Objectives of coverage
  • Insurance coverage policies/provisions
  • Characteristics of the uninsured/underinsured
  • Gaps in coverage
  • Access barriers
  • Insurance reform


Ben Raimer, MD
Senior Vice President, Health Policy & Legislative Affairs, UTMB


Sapna Kaul Vita
Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, UTMB

John David Prochaska, Dr.P.H., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine & Community Health, School of Medicine, UTMB

Cara L. Pennel
Assistant Professor and Director of Public Health Practice, Department of Preventive Medicine & Community Health, UTMB

6. Financing, Payment, and Cost - Feb. 13

Binata Mukherjee
Director, Health Care Initiative, Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University


  • Public and private health expenditures
  • Sources of financing
  • Provider payment and payment reform
  • Cost containment policies
  • Performance

7. Quality of Care - Feb. 20


  • Definition and measurement
  • Determinants
  • Quality improvement policies
  • Value-based performance


Lee Revere, PhD, MHA
Director, Fleming Center for Healthcare Management, UTHealth School of Public Health


Ryan Walsh, MD
Chief Medical Information Officer, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Bela Patel, MD, FCCP
Vice Dean, Healthcare Quality and Professor, Division Director, Critical Care Medicine, McGovern Medical School, The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston

John Bingham, MHA
Vice President, Performance Improvement and Chief Quality Officer, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Eric Williams, MD
Chief Quality Officer-Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital

Recommended Pre-Reading

Berwick DM, Nolan TW, and Whittington J. (2008) The Triple Aim: Care, Health, And Cost: The remaining barriers to integrated care are not technical; they are political. Health Affairs, 27 (3): 759-769.

Institute of Medicine. (2001) Crossing the Quality Chasm: a New Health System for the 21st Century.

Institute of Medicine. (1999). To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System.

Das A, Norton EC, Miller DC, Ryan AM, Birkmeyer JD, and Chen LM. (2016). The Effects of Adding a Spending Measure to the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program. Health Affairs (Millwood). 2016 May 1; 35(5): 898–906.

VanLare JM, and Conway PH. (2012). Value-Based Purchasing – National Programs to Move from Volume to Value. NEJM 367(4):292-295.

8. Safety Net Programs - Feb. 27

Abida Solomon
Associate Professor, College of Nursing, Prairie View A&M University


  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • FQHCs
  • Veteran’s Administration and other federal
  • Local public/private providers and uncompensated care

9. The Public Health System - March 6

Umair Shah
Executive Director, Harris County Public Health

Rocaille Roberts
Director, Office of Policy and Planning, Harris County Public Health


  • Objectives
  • Agencies and roles
  • Coordination and conflict

10. Social Determinants of Health - March 20


  • Introduction of social determinants of health (SDH)
  • Community and clinical interventions
  • Practical application and realities of interventions
  • Structural state for supporting SDH efforts (e.g. reimbursements, community resilience)
  • Looking ahead


Angelo Giardino, MD, PhD
Senior Vice President/Chief Quality Office, Texas Children’s Hospital


Umair Shah, MD, MPH
Executive Director, Harris County Public Health

Chris Greeley, MD
Chief, Section of Public Health Pediatrics, Texas Children’s Hospital
Vice Chair for Community Health, Baylor College of Medicine

Judy McFarlane, PhD
Parry Chair in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at Texas Woman’s University, College of Nursing

Linda Highfield, PhD
Associate Professor, Departments of Management, Policy, Community Health Practice and Epidemiology UTHealth School of Public Health


  • What are the social determinants of health, and how do they fit into today’s approach to public health & healthcare?
  • What are the pros (benefits, possibilities) and cons (limitations, barriers) of screening/intervening for SDHs and ACEs?
  • How can the health community appropriately address sensitive situations (e.g. IPV, food insecurity) in an effective manner given the complexity of the situations and the limited time with community members and patients?
  • How does this translate into something practical for providers and other clinicians in their everyday work and approach to caring for community members and patients? [e.g. clinical and community efforts to address SDHs including screening]
  • What are the financial realities of screening, diagnosing, intervening on SDHs whether in a clinical setting or community efforts?
  • Additional/replacement questions
    • What can healthcare do for SDHs like housing and the built environment? (this could be the initial question to follow the introduction of what social determinants is)
    • How does screening for SDHs affect liability concerns?
    • How do you see – if at all – the evolving relationship of public health and healthcare with SDH emerging?
    • What are the dangers/cautions of SDH migrating into healthcare? What are the limits of healthcare’s involvement?
    • What are the opportunities with this migration of SDH into healthcare?
    • Are there data that screening and referring for SDH/ACEs improves the targeted behaviors/outcomes for a population (i.e. does broad screening in a pediatric office for poverty, lower the poverty rate of the community it serves)
    • Is there a different way to think about SDH than the conventional “screen-and-refer” model?

Reading Assignments:




11. Ethical Dilemmas in Health Policy - March 27

Joslyn “Joey” Fisher
Associate Professor, Baylor College of Medicine


  • Rationing
  • End-of-life care
  • Other selected topics

12. Health Care Workforce - April 3

Trevor Burt
Vice President, Education Administration, Methodist Hospital System


  • Supply and demand of physicians and mid-level practitioners
  • Licensing and regulation
  • Education and training

13. National Health Reform - April 10

Stephen Linder
Associate Director, Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute
Director, Institute for Health Policy at UTHealth School of Public Health


  • Medicaid funding and coverage expansion
  • Insurance regulation and mandates
  • Taxes and tax subsidies
  • Federal budget
  • Impact on Texas

2018 Health Policy Course Partners


Course Details

Course Directors:

Arthur Garson, Jr., MD, MPH, Director, TMC Health Policy Institute

Stephen H. Linder, PhD, Co-Director, TMC Health Policy Institute

Course Goal: The TMC Health Policy Institute Health Policy course will train teach students (participants) about fundamental key concepts related to the development, implementation, and evaluation of (U.S.) health policy in an innovative format.

Course Objectives: By the end of the semester, students will be able to:

  • Describe the complex roles of the many participants in policymaking,
  • Summarize and discuss key components of healthcare policy, and
  • Assess competing positions on selected health policy controversies.

Course Overview: The TMC Health Policy Institute Health Policy course is an inter-institutional, inter-professional introductory health policy course for graduate students or advanced undergraduate students.

The Health Policy Institute will produce 13 seminar sessions (see topics below.) Each session will be led by an individual from a TMC member institution, and will select 3-4 others from TMC member institutions to participate in the seminar, to include diverse, inter-professional perspectives from local experts in the form of panel discussions, debates, and other interactive teaching modalities. Recommended pre-session readings will be provided ahead of time to course participants. The course is organized in three parts: (1) Policy Institutions and Processes (2) Policy Topics in US Health Systems issues (3) Emerging Topics & Controversies in Health Policy.

Course Leadership and Evaluation: Each participating institution will have a local course director who will be responsible for planning the course in terms of which TMC sessions to include (i.e. one institution may decide to include 10 TMC HPI course sessions and have 3 additional sessions of their own), and which additional readings, meetings, and other course work will be required. Assessment, evaluation, grading, and feedback will be entirely under the purview of the institution-specific course director and the institution’s curriculum committee.

Target Audience/Participants: This course is designed for students in all areas served by the TMC (such as nursing, pharmacy, medicine, PhD in research and advanced undergraduates); however, the TMC course will also be open to the public.

Time: Sessions meet once weekly (Tuesdays) for 13 weeks January 2018 – April 2018. Sessions run 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Location: Texas Medical Center headquarters at 6550 Bertner Ave., 6th Floor, Houston. Additional live broadcasts and recording will be posted on this website. Audience participation will be encouraged; for students taking the course for credit who are watching streaming video will be permitted to ask questions using distance technology.

Light refreshments will be served.

Cost: Free for participants

Steering Committee: Chuck Begley, Trevor Burt, Joslyn (Joey) Fisher, Tanweer Kaleemullah, Peggy Landrum, Jessica Mantel, Aisha Morris, Binata Mukherjee, Ben Raimer, Frances (Lee) Revere, Rocaille Roberts, Umair Shah, Abida Solomon, Sujit Sansgiry

Teaching Assistant: Adele Semaan

Course Directors

Students interested in obtaining course credit from their home institution for participation in the TMC Health Policy Course are encouraged to contact the appropriate faculty member listed below.

Course Director E-Mail TMC Institution
Gautam Nayer gnayer@yahoo.com University of St. Thomas
Cecilia Ganduglia Cazaban Cecilia.M.GandugliaCazaban@uth.tmc.edu UTHealth School of Public Health
Gloria Rose gmrose@pvamu.edu Prairie View A&M University
Sharisse Hebert sahebert@pvamu.edu Prairie View A&M University
John Prochaska joprocha@UTMB.EDU UTMB
Susan Ruppert Susan.D.Ruppert@uth.tmc.edu UTHealth School of Nursing
Nina Fredland nfredland@twu.edu Texas Woman’s University
Robin Toms rtoms@twu.edu Texas Woman’s University
Peggy Landrum plandrum@twu.edu Texas Woman’s University
Terry Kirk tdkirk2@Central.UH.EDU University of Houston College of Nursing
Aisha M. Moultry morris_ma@TSU.EDU Texas Southern University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences