New Orleans, La. — AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana, a Medicaid managed care health plan serving Louisiana, and the LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health, today announced the creation of a new fellowship program that each year will allow up to seven LSU Health New Orleans medical students who are also enrolled in the Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree program to spend four to eight weeks in the policy offices of Washington, D.C. organizations. The AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana Health Policy Fellowship Program is funded by a gift from AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana to the LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health. It will provide the school's M.D./M.P.H. students with working knowledge of health policy at various stages, including research and analysis, advocacy, development and implementation.
The fellowship program was created by and will be managed by Peggy Honoré, D.H.A., the AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana endowed professor at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health. Dr. Honoré considers the establishment of the fellowship as a "major milestone to providing the emerging generation of LSU Health-trained physicians with applied front row experiences critical to understanding the policy context in which health care and public health are practiced in America. It also provides a concrete illustration of a method to bridge gaps between the two disciplines of health care and public health and will draw attention to the need for greater emphasis in Louisiana on venues for structured dialogue and dissemination of information on health policy topics."
"We are proud to support this effort to improve the quality of health care in Louisiana. This is one example of how we are working to build a healthier state," said Kyle Viator, market president for AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana. "Health care professionals who understand how public policy impacts their work will be able to deliver the best care to their patients."
LSU Health New Orleans M.D./M.P.H. students will benefit greatly from experience as health policy fellows in a professional organization solidly engaged in the fundamental aspects of the health policymaking process. It provides students with skills necessary for roles as successful policy advocates as well as for formulating innovative solutions to complex problems in the health care and public health system.
"Policy is considered as a cornerstone of public health," said Dean G. Smith, Ph.D., dean of the LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health. "It is universally acknowledged as a core function and essential service of the public health system."
The M.D./M.P.H. program was designed as an interdisciplinary educational program for students who envision a career that incorporates public health principles into the practice of medicine. It serves as a model for implementing national calls for integrating health care and public health practice. A goal of the M.D./M.P.H. is to bridge the medical knowledge of physicians with an understanding of the complex non-clinical, policy, and community conditions that influence the health of populations.
"The fellowship will provide additional opportunities for LSU Health New Orleans M.D./M.P.H dual degree students to develop critical skills and to apply themselves in meaningful health policy environments," says Benjamin Springgate M.D., M.P.H., director of the LSU Health New Orleans M.D./M.P.H. dual degree Program, and clinical associate professor of Medicine and Health Policy and Systems Management at LSU Health New Orleans.
"Improving public health requires effective policy solutions" notes Georges C. Benjamin, M.D., executive director, American Public Health Association. "Strengthening the capacity of public health practitioners to better understand, advocate for and implement those solutions will go a long way to ensuring safer, healthier communities."
About LSU Health New Orleans
LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans educates Louisiana's health care professionals. The state's health university leader, LSU Health New Orleans includes a School of Medicine, the state's only School of Dentistry, Louisiana's only public School of Public Health, and Schools of Allied Health Professions, Nursing, and Graduate Studies. LSU Health New Orleans faculty takes care of patients in public and private hospitals and clinics throughout the region. In the vanguard of biosciences research in a number of areas in a worldwide arena, the LSU Health New Orleans research enterprise generates jobs and enormous economic impact. LSU Health New Orleans faculty has made lifesaving discoveries and continues to work to prevent, advance treatment, or cure disease. To learn more, visit http://www.lsuhsc.edu , http://www.twitter.com/LSUHealthNO, http://www.facebook.com/LSUHSC .
About AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana
AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana is one of five Medicaid managed care plans that participate in Louisiana's Bayou Health program. AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana helps Louisiana families get proper care and stay well. AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana works with communities in need to achieve positive health outcomes throughout the state. For more information, go to http://www.amerihealthcaritasla.com.
About AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies
AmeriHealth Caritas is part of the Independence Health Group in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. AmeriHealth Caritas is one of the nation's leaders in health care solutions for those most in need. Operating in 19 states and the District of Columbia, AmeriHealth Caritas serves more than 5.8 million Medicaid, Medicare and CHIP members through its integrated managed care products, pharmaceutical benefit management and specialty pharmacy services, behavioral health services and other administrative services. Headquartered in Philadelphia, AmeriHealth Caritas is a mission-driven organization with more than 30 years of experience serving low-income and chronically ill populations. For more information, visit http://www.amerihealthcaritas.com.