SPOKANE, Wash. — A new research and policy center based at Washington State University Spokane will analyze the performance of health service systems around the world and provide information and feedback to policy makers, health care administrators and educators.

With funding through grants, contracts and private support, the WSU Center for International Health Services Research and Policy will pursue a wide-ranging mission that includes conducting comparative studies of health systems using performance and outcome measures and the creation of an international database that can be tapped for future studies.

The center will seek to identify the methods of intervention that produce improved health outcomes in countries that span the spectrum of economic well-being and build an international service program that shares the results of the research findings with the leaders of health systems internationally.

Additional goals of the new center include:

  • Address the future direction for national health systems in terms of the mix of public health vs. privatized health services and the impact on access to health care.
  • Examine the public policy implications for various countries of successful interventions and how health administrators of various countries can improve the outcomes for their population.
  • Conduct comparative studies of the health system performance and outcomes of countries.
  • Examine the major issues facing health systems and attempt to learn more about how countries differ in their approach to the delivery of health care.
  • Determine the major factors that contribute to improved health outcomes in various countries under various economic and sociopolitical conditions.
  • Assess the types of international health administration educational programs that are most effective in training administrators.
  • Generate public policy that contributes to improved health outcomes of health systems.
  • Develop future directions for various world leaders of health systems.

The center also will pursue a research agenda directed toward contributing scholarly and scientific results through peer-reviewed publications and funded research. 

A number of founding faculty members and new affiliates will lend wide-ranging expertise to the operation of the new center. They include:

Joseph Coyne, professor in WSU’s department of health policy and administration and an internationally recognized health care finance expert, will serve as the center’s director. Coyne, whose works are widely cited in leading textbooks, holds a visiting professor appointment at the Bocconi School of Management in Milan, Italy. He has served as international adviser to numerous organizations, including the French Ministry of Health, German Ministry of Health, Danish Ministry of Health, Finnish Ministry of Health and Beijing Association of Teaching Hospitals.  During the past six months, Coyne has collaborated with researchers at the University of Helsinki, the Center for Health Services Research at Bocconi University and the University of Lugano, in Lugano, Switzerland.   

Winsor C. Schmidt is a founding member in the center and department chair and professor of health policy and administration at WSU. Recognized nationwide as a leading expert on guardianship and mental health law, Schmidt is the author of Public Guardianship and the Elderly (Ballinger Publishing Company) and Guardianship: Court of Last Resort for the Elderly and Disabled (Carolina Academic Press), as well as over 45 book chapters and articles. He received the 1997-1998 College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Research Award in the social sciences from the University of Memphis, and has served as reviewer for such journals as The International Journal of Aging and Human Development.

David Sclar, pharmacoeconomist, is a founding faculty member in the center. Sclar holds the Boeing Distinguished Professorship in Health Policy at WSU Spokane, is the Boehringer Ingelheim Scholar in Pharmaceutical Economics and director of the Pharmacoeconomics & Pharmacoepidemiology Research Unit in WSU’s College of Pharmacy. He is a Queen’s Trust Visiting Professor in the Department of Health Services Research, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College School of Medicine, University of London, England, and is research faculty in the pharmacoeconomics & pharmacoepidemiology research unit, Colleges of Medicine and College of Pharmacy, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Jae Kennedy is a founding member in the center and an associate professor in the health policy and administration department at WSU.  Kennedy was a Distinguished Research Fellow for 1999-2000 at the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education.  His international research has included collaborative efforts with Canadian universities and research institutes on drug affordability and access to health care.  

Fevzi Akinci is a new member of the center, having just joined the health policy and administration department as an assistant professor in fall 2004. Akinci served four years with the Turkish Ministry of Health and is an internationally recognized health services researcher who has conducted studies of the burden of disease in countries around the world.

Mehtap Tatar is the newest member of the center and a professor at the school of health administration at Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey. Her work has included health expenditure studies in Turkey and Azerbaijan, with funding from the World Bank and in collaboration with the Harvard School of Public Health. 

Additional information about the center and WSU Spokane is available online.

Department of health policy and administration Web site: www.hpa.spokane.wsu.edu

WSU Spokane: www.spokane.wsu.edu/

Profile of Joseph Coyne: www.spokane.wsu.edu/aboutWSUSpokane/profiles/JoeCoyne.asp