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Grant will create fellowships for researchers with disabilities at WSU

Portrait of Dr. Jae Kennedy
Portrait of Dr. Jae Kennedy
Dr. Jae Kennedy, chair and professor of the College of Nursing’s Department of Health Policy and Administration.

Research scientists with disabilities are underrepresented in the health sciences, yet such scholars bring needed perspective to understanding and improving health policies and services for people with disabilities.

A new federal grant will help WSU hire three post-doctoral students with disabilities to become academic researchers, with the goal of having them go on to faculty positions at major universities or leadership roles in federal research agencies and nonprofit foundations.

The five-year, $750,000 award from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research will provide a competitive salary, full benefits, and support for any needed workplace assistance or adaptive technologies.

Called the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living Fellowship (CHRIL-F), the positions “will bring new scholars with disabilities to the table, and provide them the skills and support they will need to enlarge the policy debate,” said Jae Kennedy, principal investigator, professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Administration in the WSU College of Nursing.

The three fellows will be hired by WSU in staggered terms over the five-year grant, and will spend 18 months taking graduate courses, working on research grant proposals and journal manuscripts, and developing individual plans of research. They can spend three to six months of the fellowship at one or more affiliate sites, including Washington DC, Houston, or Lawrence, Kansas.

Grant funding can also be used for conference travel, which typically is more difficult and costly for people with disabilities, but which is critical for networking and presenting research work.  The specific uses of support funds will depend on the needs of the fellows hired, but could include office space reconfiguration, or hiring a personal aide or interpreter.

With this grant, “We propose building a small but sturdy pipeline for disability researchers with disabilities by designing postdoc positions specific to their needs,” Kennedy said.

Besides Kennedy, the project team includes Roberta Carlin, director of the American Association on Health and Disability; Lex Frieden, a professor of bioinformatics and rehabilitation at the University of Texas in Houston; Jean Hall, a professor and director of the Institute for Health and Disability Policy at the University of Kansas; and Elizabeth Wood, a research associate in the Department of Health Policy and Administration at WSU.

The same team makes up the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL), established by Kennedy under a $2.5 million federal grant to bring together disability advocates and researchers to investigate how the Affordable Care Act and related legislation affects the lives of adults with disabilities.

“The members of the CHRIL have personal, professional, and political experience with disability, and many contacts throughout the research and disability communities,” Kennedy said. “We are not just advocates and researchers who happen to have disabilities: disability is central to what we do and why we do it.”

Students, faculty honored with Chancellor’s Awards at 2017 Commencement Breakfast

Assistant Dean Jo Ann Dotson, left, with Anas Mohammad, right.
College of Nursing Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel, left, with Chancellor's Award winner Abel Saba, second from left, and his family at the 2017 Commencement Breakfast.
College of Nursing Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel, left, with Chancellor’s Award winner Abel Saba, second from left, and his family at the 2017 Commencement Breakfast.

Faculty, friends and family gathered Friday morning for WSU Spokane’s 2017 Commencement Breakfast, and students and faculty from the WSU College of Nursing were among those honored with Chancellor’s Awards.

They included:

  • Anas Mohammad, PhD in Nursing

    Assistant Dean Jo Ann Dotson, left, with Anas Mohammad, right.
    Assistant Dean of the WSU College of Nursing Jo Ann Dotson, left, nominated PhD student Anas Mohammad for the Chancellor’s Award.
  • Abel Saba, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Megan Strom, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Anthony Casim, Master of Health Policy and Administration

In addition, Dr. Kenn Daratha, an associate professor in the College of Nursing, received the Students’ Choice Award for Outstanding Faculty. » More …

Dr. Jae Kennedy named president-elect of disability research organization

Portrait of Dr. Jae Kennedy
Dr. Jae Kennedy

A decades-long interest in issues relating to disability has taken Dr. Jae Kennedy to a leadership position with NARRTC, an organization that advocates for increasing the quality and rigor of applied disability research. Kennedy, professor and chair of the WSU College of Nursing’s Health Policy & Administration program, was named president-elect of the organization at its annual conference last week.

NARRTC is made up of current and former grantees of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation. The federal agency funds projects to generate new knowledge on disability and rehabilitation and to encourage the adoption and use of that work. Projects include new rehabilitative technologies, and advances affecting quality of life issues such as the ability to work, be a parent and participate in community activities.

Separately, Kennedy and doctoral candidate Elizabeth G. Wood won this year’s best paper award at NARRTC’s annual meeting for their work, “Medication Costs and Adherence of Treatment Before and After the Affordable Care Act: 1999-2015.” Not taking prescribed medication because of the cost is an important health problem that’s been growing since the 1990s, Kennedy noted. Their research found a coincidence between health policy changes, such as the introduction of Medicare Part D prescription coverage and the Affordable Care Act, with a reduction in cost-related nonadherence (CRN). » More …

WSU Professor joins social insurance advisory group

HPA Professor Jae Kennedy

Professor Jae Kennedy joins social insurance advisory group

SPOKANE, Wash. – Jae Kennedy, a professor of Health Policy and Administration at Washington State University Spokane, has accepted membership into the National Academy of Social Insurance, which contributes research and expertise to the policymaking process for Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, worker’s compensation and other social insurance programs.

“I have spent my entire career working in the disability policy arena, and am very honored to be recognized by the Academy for my research and advocacy efforts,” Kennedy said. “Particularly as Congress considers major changes to our social insurance systems, it is important to have objective, nonpartisan and scientific analyses available to policymakers.” » More …

Show Me the Money: Economic Evaluations of Opioid Use Disorder Interventions

Sean Murphy

Sean Murphy

Strong economic evidence supports use of methadone maintenance therapy

This brief was originally published on the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics website on May 25, 2016

Sean Murphy, Daniel Polsky, Zachary Meisel, Julia Mitchell

This brief summarizes a new systematic review of economic evaluations of treatments for substance use disorders. The review reveals strong evidence that methadone maintenance therapy is an economically advantageous form of treatment; the economic evidence for buprenorphine and naltrexone treatments is more limited.

Opioid misuse has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2014 more than 18,900 people died from an overdose of prescription pain relievers and 10,575 people died from an overdose of heroin, which amounts to 78 Americans dying from opioid overdose each day. The societal costs associated with opioid misuse may be as high as $92 billion annually, when health care, labor, and criminal justice costs are taken into account. » More …

Sean Murphy Published in New England Journal of Medicine

Sean Murphy

Sean MurphyAssistant Professor Sean Murphy in the Health Policy and Administrative Department at WSU College of Nursing has jointly authored a paper that was published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine. The article, “Opioid Relapse Rates Fall with Long-Term Use of Medication for Adults in Criminal Justice System,” was published online on March 31, 2016 and is based on research and analysis conducted in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, NYU Langone Medical Center, Brown University, Columbia University Medical Center and Friends Research Institute. » More …

Study to Examine Affordable Care Act, Those with Disabilities

Jae Kennedy

By Eric Sorensen, WSU

A Washington State University researcher will lead a $2.5 million examination of the federal Affordable Care Act’s impact on what may be the largest group in need of its services: people with disabilities.


Jae Kennedy“Their service needs are different and their health needs are more intensive,” said Jae Kennedy, professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Administration, College of Nursing, WSU Spokane. “There are a lot of reasons why this is an important population to study and make sure that the legislation is living up to its promise.”

The ACA, he said, has aspects of care coordination and care management that “could potentially erode some of the freedoms that some people with disabilities currently enjoy. There’s reason to be skeptical. A lot of other so-called reforms haven’t benefited important segments of the disability community.”

Most experience disability sometime

While many of them reject the term, people with disabilities have been called the nation’s largest minority. Some 57 million Americans have a disability, by the U.S. Census’ definition. More to the point, said Kennedy, “Disability affects nearly all of us at some point in our lives, usually towards the end but often earlier.” » More …

New Year, New Master’s Degree

This January, WSU Spokane’s Department of Health Policy and Administration (MHPA) officially joined the WSU College of Nursing, adding to and enhancing graduate degree offerings. “Students will gain access to complementary courses and electives across programs (the MHPA and the college’s existing Master of Nursing program). Research collaboration across disciplines will continue for faculty and students, adding to the interprofessional education foundational to the WSU Spokane Health Sciences campus,” said Cindy Fitzgerald, associate dean for academic affairs.

The MHPA has been offered since 1995 at WSU Spokane, and the Department of HPA was established in 2002, making it the first Department to be established and located at an urban campus. Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) in 2000 and re-accredited in 2012, the MHPA program has graduated more than 150 students to date.

The MHPA program at WSU is highly personalized and exceptionally rigorous, requiring a 3-credit internship and an individual project or thesis. Class sizes are small (12-20 students) and require active engagement in course discussions, guest lectures, site visits, and group projects. The curriculum is designed to facilitate both full- and part-time participation for working
professionals, with courses scheduled on weekday evenings (typically 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.). Graduates of the program work in a wide range of career fields including hospital management, public health, managed care, group practice management, financial management, and more. » More …