Based on your experience and familiarity with the fellows and the programs, what did the Pew Health Policy Program accomplish?
The Pew Health Policy Program raised the sensitivity to policy issues and the ability to handle policy issues. Everyone who entered and completed the course work (not just those who completed the degree) were trained to handle policy issues.
Those fellows that finished the degree at Michigan all went on to positions with considerable influence. (many fellows came into the program in positions that already had considerable influence).
What are the lessons learned?
There is a market for the kind of a training program that Michigan developed, even with limited support. There is a very responsive market for this kind of a training program with adequate support.
It is possible and productive to explore policy issues in a seminar-style course with nontraditional students.
It is important to remember that Michigan had already experimented with a nontraditional training program; the challenge was to transfer it to a doctoral level.
What is the Pew legacy?
The health policy community is so big and so diverse that it is difficult to speculate about the value added by training a small cohort of people. The community is many times bigger than the output stream.
Nonetheless, since we started the program approximately 15 years ago, there has been a noticeable increase in willingness to use factual analysis and careful empirical data as a basis for conclusions.
If you were going to give advice to another university attempting to initiate a similar program, what would you say?
There is a small market for this type of training. It will never be a large market. There is an immense burden placed upon students in this type of program.
One needs to look for benefits in the context where a few can make a difference.