Yale University Program

The guiding principle of the Scholars Program at Yale University was that health policy is broader than medical care policy, and that medical care policy itself is influenced by a wide range of social and economic conditions. The Program explored the full range of factors that influence health and health care policy, including the health status of the public, the structure of medicine and medical organizations, the social norms that legitimize particular government policies, and the array of public policies that affect health and health care.

The Yale Program was distinctively interdisciplinary and was designed to encourage and enable participating Scholars to think and communicate across disciplinary boundaries. It pursued this aim through the involvement of a multidisciplinary faculty and through a set of activities that covered the whole policy research process: from field experiences to research design to analysis, editing, and public presentations.

The Program’s core faculty represented the disciplines of economics, sociology, and political science, as well as the University’s professional schools of public health, management, and law. All core faculty members were involved in leading the Program’s health policy seminar.  They and other Yale faculty members provided mentorship to Scholars, who were encouraged to work with them on research questions of joint interest.

The health policy seminar met every other week and offered Scholars an unusual opportunity to talk with and to question experts from within and outside the university. As these sessions were regularly attended by many health care professionals, they offered considerable exposure to diverse perspectives. Every seminar was followed up by a less formal session for Scholars and faculty members, where issues and questions raised in the seminar were probed further in light of relevant literature and other disciplinary perspectives.

Each first and second-year Scholar also was expected to make one presentation per semester of past work, work in progress, or recently completed papers. Generally these sessions were attended by Scholars and core faculty only, providing a forum for lively interaction and criticism.

Theodore Marmor, Ph.D., served as program director from 1993 to 2003.