A Perfect Policy Marriage
“The Department and IPS are both interested in making positive change through policy, and that's what makes it a perfect marriage," says Ellen MacKenzie, PhD, the Fred and Julie Soper Professor and chair of HPM. “What they bring to the table—and what we're most excited about—is the focus on public policy across a wide range of issues.”
HPM has a long history of research in health and health care policy, while IPS is a leader in public policy, conducting research on such diverse topics as education, the environment, social issues, criminology, housing, health and international development.
Created in 1987 as a stand-alone program reporting to Johns Hopkins’ provost, IPS is nationally recognized. U.S. News & World Report ranked its two-year Master of Arts in Public Policy (MPP) 13th among such programs nationally. Its graduates go on to work in government agencies, nonprofits, corporations, consulting firms and other organizations.
“Both public policy and public health share the same orientation. They use high-quality methodologies and evidence-based interventions. Both are concerned with making a healthier society.” —Sandra Newman
The union actually began in 2010 and is almost complete. The 2012 incoming class will be the first to be granted the MPP degree by the Bloomberg School. Seventy-two students are starting the MPP degree this year—more than last year and about double the number of previous years. The School’s Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) in health policy will continue to be offered, as will the MPP, which will allow students to broaden their studies to other areas of public policy.
Donald M. Steinwachs, PhD, professor of Health Policy and Management and interim director of IPS, says the new arrangement will address several challenges associated with the Institute’s unusual stand-alone structure. For example, it will make it easier to recruit new faculty. IPS currently has five core faculty and, until now, it has had to rely on cross-appointments from other departments for its tenure-track positions. Within three years, IPS will likely add another three or four full-time faculty.
“There’s a compelling rationale [for the union],” says Sandra Newman, professor of Policy Studies, who was director of IPS for 12 years. “Both public policy and public health share the same orientation. They use high-quality methodologies and evidence-based interventions. Both are concerned with making a healthier society.”
MacKenzie says IPS will continue to address policy issues across an expansive range of topics and not focus its work on health policy alone. “After all, changes in education and housing policy, for example, can have major impacts on the health of our populations and are critical in assuring overall quality of life,” she says. “We’re very keen on keeping the breadth of IPS.”