Schneider Institute for Health Policy is Reorganized

August 15, 2006

With the Irving Schneider and Family Building due to open this fall, the Schneider name is much on the minds of The Heller School community.  The Schneider Institute for Health Policy (SIHP), also established through the generosity of the Schneider family, is formally being reorganized in recognition of the expanding scope of its research efforts. Stuart Altman, the Dean of The Heller School, said, “We are very excited about the new building and the opportunities to expand both the research and educational programs at Heller. The timing of this change makes great sense.”

On July 1, 2006, SIHP was restructured as The Schneider Institutes for Health Policy, consisting of two Institutes:  the Institute on Healthcare Systems and the Institute for Behavioral Health.  When SIHP was created in 1978, its focus was on the financing and delivery of acute health care services. SIHP has flourished by constantly evolving in order to be a generator of new ideas and policy changes. Today, SIHP conducts domestic and international research in the broad areas of financing, organization, value, high-cost and high-risk populations, and health technologies.

The research conducted at SIHP has gone beyond acute health care. Because of the significant level of research in behavioral health care, SIHP established the Center for Behavioral Health. The importance of understanding how personal behaviors determine health status has further expanded the scope of the Center for Behavioral Health, leading to its being renamed The Institute for Behavioral Health. “Our goal is to expand the research underway at the Schneider Institutes so it more closely parallels the desire of the Schneider family to improve the health of people around the world. While maintaining our strong policy research activities on the U. S. health care system, we want to incorporate the role individuals play in determining their own health and how improvements in health status contribute to the well-being of populations around the world,” said Stanley Wallack, the Executive Director of the Schneider Institutes.

The name changes acknowledge the extensive role the Center for Behavioral Health has played at SIHP over the last decade. By reorganizing into two Institutes, SIHP both affirms the importance of behavioral health research and encourages its further expansion. Under the direction of Professor Constance Horgan, the Institute for Behavioral Health studies how individuals can stay healthy and prevent disease by better understanding the intersection of health, behavior, and systems of care. Its underlying premise is that systems and organizations can be used to promote healthier lifestyles and to assist individuals in engaging in behaviors which lead to better health. “The great potential for improving people’s health in the 21st century will come not only from medical advances but also from changes in individual behaviors,” said Horgan.

Also, the Institute on Healthcare Systems (IHS) name conveys the intention to expand the efforts of the Institute to address overall systemic change of the health system in addition to improvements within specific areas. “The U.S. health care system continues to be described as a cottage industry. A more accurate description today is a very expensive set of boutique shops. Improving quality and getting better value requires that our future research include a systems perspective, which requires an understanding of how health care organizations function and the relationship between these organizations, their health care professionals and their impact on the coordination of patient care,” according to Stanley Wallack.

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