New Certificate in Health Policy benefits undergraduates, employers

Recognizing interest among undergraduate students to gain skills for improving the U.S. healthcare system, as well as demand among employers, the La Follette School of Public Affairs is launching a Certificate in Health Policy.

Coursework will help University of Wisconsin–Madison students build analytic reasoning and critical thinking skills as they learn about health policy in the United States, especially the policy levers that influence health equity.

“The Certificate in Health Policy will help students build a solid understanding of the ways public policy influences individual and population health,” says La Follette School Director and Professor Susan Webb Yackee. “Students will learn data and analytic skills necessary for navigating and improving healthcare systems and ‘upstream’ policies that influence health. We see this as a critical competency for UW–Madison graduates seeking employment in the health sector.”

Undergraduate students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as well as political science and other social sciences will find great value in the new certificate program.

Economics and business majors will gain a solid understanding of the drivers of healthcare costs, improving their job prospects and potential effectiveness in the insurance sector. Premedical majors will gain a deeper understanding of the policies that influence healthcare and health inequities, and graduates seeking public office will have training needed to shape equitable health policies.

The health sector represents nearly one-fifth of the U.S. gross domestic product, a measure of the value of all goods and services produced in the economy. In addition, more than 20% of U.S. adults and more than two in five children receive health insurance coverage through government-sponsored programs.

La Follette School faculty members with expertise in health policy will help students prepare to navigate these complex systems.

At UW–Madison, the health sector is the most common employer listed by undergraduates. Between 2016 and 2019, one in eight (12%) UW–Madison undergraduates reported working in the health care sector after graduation, while more than one-third of UW–Madison graduates who say they intend to pursue graduate or professional degrees plan to seek those degrees in the health professions.

The Certificate will also address existing undergraduate demand for training in health policy. One in eight (13%) of the 157 students enrolled in the La Follette School’s popular Certificate in Public Policy named health policy as a specific interest on their application.

“By increasing students’ comfort and ability to work across disciplines on key health policy issues, the Certificate program will help graduates develop marketable skills,” says Yackee. “They will become more adept as they shape solutions to complex 21st century problems.”

Interested students can register now for applicable courses in Fall 2021. The first application window is from November 1 to 30. Visit this page for more information.