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Improving State Health Outcomes: What is Most Effective?

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The goal of this one-day conference (held on April 16, 2012) aimed to bring together a group of scholars from economics, public health, and medicine to present research that will generate discussion about the best ways to improve state health outcomes and move a state from the bottom to the top of the health rankings. The conference’s guest speakers included Drs. Heidi Allen, John Rizzo, Ken Wells, and Karen DeSalvo. Dr. Heidi Allen spoke about the effects of insurance expansion. She is working on a major randomized experiment looking at the effects of insurance expansion in Oregon on health outcomes. She is particularly interested in efforts to improve state health outcomes (including the use of medical homes) and has been involved with Oregon health policy for the past five years. Dr. John Rizzo is a health economist and public health policy expert, who presented his research on obesity and health outcomes in adolescents and the implications for improving state health outcomes. Dr. Ken Wells, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, a Professor of Health Services in the UCLA School of Public Health, and Affiliated Adjunct at RAND, presented on “Improving Mental Health in Los Angeles and New Orleans: Applications of Community-Partnered Participatory Research”. Dr. Karen DeSalvo, the New Orleans Health Commissioner and Professor of Medicine at Tulane, discussed health reform over the past 6 years aimed at improving access to quality care in New Orleans since Katrina and the city’s role in the reform process. Additional speakers included health economists and health policy experts from Tulane and the community who gave presentations focusing on behavioral health, health systems reforms, and health care quality.

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