Health services research is a multidisciplinary field of scientific investigation that examines the uses, costs, quality, accessibility, delivery, organization, financing and health outcomes of healthcare systems in the U.S. and elsewhere. Health services researchers investigate and interpret the complexities of healthcare systems. In particular, they study how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and processes, health technologies, and individual and group behaviors affect access, cost and quality of care. The research domains of health services research center on groups, organizations, institutions, communities and populations.
The PhD in Health Policy & Management prepares expert health services researchers for careers in academic settings or in public and private organizations where advanced research and analytic skills are required. It is a post-master's program and graduate-level statistics coursework is required for admission. The program consists of 3 stages with prerequisite curriculum representing 6 core areas of health policy and management. Students are expected to maintain continuous enrollment and to complete in a minimum of 4 academic years.
KUMC HP&M graduates conduct research in health policy, health services research, and public health including the causes and consequences of health disparities, how the healthcare system impacts the health and wellbeing of patients and workers, and the impacts of health policy on households with different socio-economic characteristics.
Stage 1 consists of basic courses in health policy, health care management, and quantitative and qualitative research methods. A notable feature of this stage is that students begin to participate in the research process immediately upon beginning the program through a series of five 1-credit-hour immersion courses, taken within the first 2 semesters.
Stage 2 involves specialization in a specific substantive area of either policy or management research or a combination, as well as advanced statistical analysis and research methods. Students also complete a teaching seminar and practicum.
After completion of course work, students enter Stage 3, which consists of 3 written preliminary examinations, the comprehensive oral examination and dissertation proposal defense. Students then carry out their dissertation research. For the written dissertation there are two options, the standard format and a series of 3 research papers suitable for publication. The dissertation is formatted and published according to university guidelines.
Coursework for the PhD in Health Policy and Management is offered at the KU Medical Center campus in Kansas City, Kansas. Classes for the program are held during daytime and late afternoon hours, Monday through Thursday.