1. Based on your experience and familiarity with the Pew program, what did the fellowship really accomplish? What were the most important contributions?
I thought there were three very different accomplishments that I saw in a production modality. The program produced doctoral-and midcareer-level students who had a very particular expertise. It produced a network of these folks who were involved in different policy work around the country, and it contributed and expanded the real construct of health policy to sort of produce a certain model of how you think about and how you might do an analysis. I think the most important contribution is that it created this multidisciplinarily trained cohort of individuals who are all working in big ways to influence policy.
Doctoral programs are usually very hard to finish, and there are a whole bunch of ABDs (students who have completed all of their doctoral requirements except for the dissertation) around. At RAND/UCLA (University of California, San Francisco) the motivation to finish was very strong. The Pew programs created a strong motivation to finish, and they did that in a variety of ways. Some of it was networking with alumni. It was seeing the people that you knew in these neat jobs and writing these great papers, and you wanted to finish and join them. My class at RAND had four students, and all finished in a very timely fashion. A lot of that motivation is created by the program. I don't know how much is the selection of people or what you did along the way or being associated with RAND/UCLA, etc. But it seemed to be that the support of the Pew programs distinguished them from other doctoral programs in university settings.
What about your particular program?
Well I have to backtrack and tell you that I started in 1989 at RAND, and then in 1991, when I heard Ron Andersen was coming to UCLA, I switched to UCLA. I don't think I could have had a better program if I set out to make a perfect program. The RAND program was heavily quantitative, I had microeconomics 1 and 2, macroeconomics 1 and 2, microeconomics for regulatory policy, econometrics, and calculus, which I had never even taken before. Then I took four statistics classes to get credit for two and