Who: Katherine Baicker, 45
New role: Dean of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. The school analyzes policies related to various social issues, including healthcare.
Background: Baicker was most recently the C. Boyden Gray professor of health economics at Harvard University. Throughout her career, Baicker has studied healthcare policy with a particular emphasis on Medicaid, health reform and quality of care.
Importance of research: As health policy continues to be a highly contentious subject, the need for solid, rigorous examinations of programs is essential, Baicker said. “When you think about all the different effects health policy has, it is a complicated question with competing goals. If you don't have a tool kit to think it through carefully, it is very hard to develop policies that achieve goals.”
New payment models: Baicker said population health and alternative payment models, such as accountable care organizations and bundled payments, need to be examined further. “I think everyone is motivated to do the right thing (for patients) if the financial incentives motivate that.”