can't see the images? view this message online.

Center for Policy Studies

Public Affairs Discussion Group

Hype, Hope, and Health Policy

Joseph White, Ph.D. - Department Chair, Department of Political Science, Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy, Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and the Director of the Center for Policy Studies at Case Western Reserve University
Friday January 20, 2012
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Dampeer Room
Kelvin Smith Library
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

Happy New Year! The Friday Public Affairs Lunch resumes on January 20, and we have most of what I hope will be an interesting and varied schedule. If you have ideas to fill in the TBAs, please e-mail me at

This week's topic is something that, frankly, drives me crazy. So I'll try to explain why and see if anyone can help me understand it - or thinks I shouldn't be so concerned.

We'd like to think that academic experts engage in rigorous analysis of public policy, giving politicians and other policy-makers information that helps them make informed judgments. In my experience, however, a lot of what I read in health policy journals is more like advertisements for a product than serious analysis. Even the serious analyses of proposals often end with exhortations that we have to find a way to make them work even though there's no evidence that we can.

I'll give a few examples from the alphabet soup that dominates the debate - such as ACO's, P4P, EBM and EHR. I'll speculate on what fuels the cycle of hype, hope, and failure. Maybe we'll find, in our discussion, that the pattern of hype and hope which I describe seems familiar to people in other fields. Or maybe it will seem like a necessary part of progress. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained - and maybe a bunch of salesmanship is needed to get people to venture. Then again, perhaps there is something fundamentally wrong with what happens when scholarship meets policy-making.

I'll be curious to see what others think.

Very best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

About Our Guest...

Professor Joe White came to Case in 2000 and became Department Chair in 2003. He previously was Associate Professor of Health Systems Management in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University, and before that was first Research Associate and then Senior Fellow in the Governmental Studies Program of the Brookings Institution. He received his A.B. in Political Science from the University of Chicago and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. White’s research focuses on the U.S. federal budget, the U.S. health care system, Social Security, and comparing health care systems in rich democracies. His most recent work includes analyses of the cost control provisions and politics of the U.S. health care reform; of budgeting by both Presidents Bush and Obama; and of the role of experts in health policy debate.

Where We Meet

The Friday Public Affairs Lunch convene each Friday when classes are in session in the Dampeer Room of Kelvin Smith Library from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm. The Dampeer Room is on the second floor of the library. If you get off the elevators, turn right, pass the first bank of tables, and turn right again. Occasionally we need to use a different room; that will always be announced in the weekly e-mails.

Parking Possibilities

The most convenient parking is the lot underneath Severance Hall. We regret that it is not free. From that lot there is an elevator up to street level (labeled as for the Thwing Center); it is less than 50 yards from that exit to the library entrance. There is also on-street parking on both East Drive and Bellflower. Both are fairly short walks from the library.

Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

January 27: The December Dilemma: Non-Christians and the Culture of Christmas. Deepak Sarma, Associate Professor of Religious Studies

February 3: Taxing Fracking: If Ohio Will Have a New Energy Boom, Shouldn’t It Have New Energy Taxes? Wendy Patton, Senior Project Director, Policy Matters Ohio

February 10: Can We Legislate Ourselves Thinner? Jessica Berg, Professor of Law and Biomedical Ethics

February 17: Is Childhood Obesity a New Form of Child Abuse? David Crampton, Associate Professor, Mandel School of Applied Social Science

February 24: TBA

March 2: Does the Fire Department Have a Hose? The IMF and World Bank in the Financial Crisis. Kathryn C. Lavelle, Ellen and Dixon Long Associate Professor of Political Science

March 9: Germany and the European Union. Ken Ledford, Associate Professor of History

March 16: Spring Break - No Discussion

March 23: China’s Political Transition. Paul Schroeder, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science

March 30: Just Do It or Just Say No? The Politics of Sex Education. Mark Carl Rom, Associate Professor of Government and Public Policy, Georgetown University

April 6: TBA

April 13: Russia’s Presidential Election. Andrew Barnes, Associate Professor of Political Science, Kent State University

April 20: TBA

April 27: TBA
January 17, 2012

If you would like to reply, submit items for inclusion, or not receive this weekly e-mail please send a notice to:

Upcoming Events

Ethics and the Global Economy

Mr. Marc A. Stefanski, CEO of 3rd Federal Savings & Loan, January 24th at 4:00pm, Inamori Center, Crawford Hall (ground floor).

Mr. Stefanski is planning to discuss issues ranging from what it's like for a local bank to compete in the global market to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Case Western Reserve University President Barbara Snyder will introduce Mr. Stefanski, Mr. Stefanski will make brief remarks (about 10 minutes), and then Professor Shannon French will conduct a short "interview" with him before opening the floor to questions from the audience. We hope you will be able to join us. Mr. Stefanski is especially eager to engage with CWRU students. Refreshments will be provided.

The Evolution and Future of Global Climate Change Institutions

Alexander Thompson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University, Tuesday March 6, 2012, 4:30-6pm, Room 309, Clark Hall, Case Western Reserve University. Free and Open to the Public. Sponsored by the Center for Policy Studies at Case Western Reserve University with the generous support of Ms. Eloise Briskin.

January 2012







































About the Friday Lunch Newsletter

If you would like to reply, submit items for inclusion, or not receive this weekly e-mail please send a notice to:

Visit the Public Affairs Discussion Group Web Site.

Center for Policy Studies | Mather House 111 | 11201 Euclid Avenue | Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7109 | 
Phone: 216.368.2424 | Part of the: College of Arts and Sciences
© 2012 Case Western Reserve University | Cleveland, Ohio 44106 | 216.368.2000 | legal notice