Dr. Kristen Hassmiller Lich, research assistant professor of health policy and management at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, was selected June 9 to participate in AcademyHealth’s inaugural Systems Science Scholars Program, designed to attract advanced systems methodologists.
As the U.S. health-care system struggles to control skyrocketing costs and the burden of costly and preventable diseases, the call to address social, behavioral and environmental factors that contribute to ill health becomes more urgent. The systems science scholarship program was designed to stimulate systems-level approaches to these complex challenges.
The program seeks to foster collaboration between the scholars and health services researchers, particularly around challenges related to public health. It is hoped that these interactions will demonstrate the applicability of systems methods, while exposing more systems scientists to the challenge of transforming the U.S. health system.
Dr. Hassmiller Lich earned her doctorate at The University of Michigan’s School of Public Health in 2007 and joined the UNC Gillings School faculty that same year. She specializes in operations engineering and complex systems and has significant experience in the practical applications of systems science to prevention science research and maternal and child health.
“Dr. Lich is increasingly sought-after for her expertise in systems science modelling, and she serves as a methodologist for a number of research projects,” said Dr. Sandra B. Greene, Professor of the Practice and interim chair of health policy and management at the Gillings School. “We are proud that she has been selected by AcademyHealth for this honor.”
With support from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a selection committee composed of leaders in both systems science and population health, five scholars were selected from an international pool of applicants. Other 2015 Systems Science Scholars are Dr. T. Eugene Day (Children’s Hospital, Philadelphia), Dr. Jim Duggan (National University of Ireland at Galway), Dr. Nasim Sabounchi (State University of New York at Binghamton), and Dr. Irene Vidyanti (Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and University of Southern California).
“While the field of health services and policy research has contributed a vast evidence base, systems science has not been used to its potential to inform changes to the nation’s health care system,” said Dr. Lisa Simpson, president and chief executive officer of AcademyHealth. “I’m ecstatic about this program, these experts, and the potential for innovation to occur at the nexus of these disciplines.”
Scholars received travel stipends to attend AcademyHealth’s annual research meeting in Minneapolis June 12-16 and participate in networking events to introduce systems methods and foster collaboration around systems-level approach to population-level questions.