Bioscience and Health Policy

“Science impacts public policy in all important areas and is directly impacted by policies created at the local, state, and national levels. Funding and regulation of science, technology, engineering and math education have a major influence on the quality of the science and engineering workforce. Science is also critically needed to inform policies in areas such as energy and climate change, threats to the environment, and dealing with biological pandemics, to name a few. Sound policy making depends on the policy makers having access to current understanding of science and technology. Thus, graduates from this program who understand science and technology are vital to the policy making process at all levels in government. While scientists are often called upon to testify at hearings, that is no substitute for having technically competent staff and officials who interact with the creation of policies daily. Since government policies influence the business world, companies will need graduates from this program who understand the technical issues as well as the policy-making process.”

The Bioscience and Health Policy track will give students a deep background in biological sciences complemented by courses in sociology, economics and policy studies to foster their understanding of the role of science in policymaking and the role of public policy in science. In addition to science courses, students will take an overview course in Science Policy and Ethics, a management course and a seminar jointly with the students involved in the other tracks. Furthermore direct access to the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy will allow students to work closely with policy scholars as well as meet with many of the leaders in science and technology policy. This program focuses on training bioscience and health policy analysts, providing them with the tools to face the complex challenges inherent in the bioscience research, public health, and the U.S. healthcare systems and health-related industries.

–Neal Lane, PhD, Senior Fellow, Baker Institute
Malcolm Gillis University Professor
Rice University

Overview

The objectives of this interdisciplinary degree are:

  • To equip students with advanced bioscience skills
  • To achieve dual professional competency in science and policy analysis and development
  • To teach quantitative skills and data analysis
  • To equip students with leadership, communication and research skills to conduct independent studies enabling them to understand and formulate public policy recommendations
  • To gain exposure in a real life experience in technology policy development by participating in an internship
  • To train students how to integrate their science knowledge into creating better policies and practices

This program deepens your background in science and broadens it with courses in business, management, sociology, economics and policy studies to foster your understanding of the role of science in policymaking and the role of public policy in science. The coursework provides communication training, professional development, policy writing and study skills enabling you to develop specific policy recommendations. You also acquire the tool-set to become knowledgeable in the formulation and execution of public policy. The direct access to the Baker Institute allows you to work closely with policy scholars, meet with many of the leaders in science and technology policy, and attend discussions on the latest topics in bioscience and health policy. You can tailor your studies to your career focus and adjust your courses to fit interests in policy, health care management, bioinformatics, data analytics/science, technology transfer and/or prepare better for medical school.

Faculty involved in the Bioscience and Health Policy Program:

Janet Braam, Track Director, Biosciences - Interim Dean of Wiess School of Natural Sciences
Susan Cates, Track Advisor, Biosciences
Kirstin Matthews, Track Advisor, James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy
Dan Wagner, Track Advisor, Biosciences
George Bennett, Biosciences
Peter Rossky, Chemistry
Peter Hartley, Economics
Kathleen Matthews, Biosciences