U.S. Health Policy Today: The Issues, The Process, and The Future

Join former Rush University Medical Center President, Peter Butler, MHSA, professor in and chairperson of the Department of Health Systems Management, and Janice Phillips, RN, PhD, CENP, FAAN, Director of Nursing Research and Health Equity and Associate Professor of Nursing at Rush University, as they delve into U.S. health policy today. Drawing on Phillip’s background influencing policy during her Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship in the U.S. Senate, among other experiences, and Butler’s nationally recognized healthcare executive experience, this course will provide a foundational understanding of U.S. health policy and how it will impact your profession and career expectations.

U.S. Health Policy Today: The Issues, The Process, and The Future will:

  • Provide an overview of the critical issues facing the U.S. health system and the policy options being considered to address the issues.
  • Identify the processes, both formal and informal for advocating and developing health policy.
  • Speculate about the future of health care, the policies that might be adopted and their consequences for the healthcare system and population at large.
  • A special focus will be given to how the social determinants of health are increasingly being factored into health policy solutions.

A lunch and learn series, the course will be taught through four, one-hour sessions, meeting weekly for four consecutive weeks. Online companion resources will include brief videos to watch prior to each class as well as a list of resources you can access to learn more about health policy. The final class will include a facilitated panel of experts to share views on the future of healthcare, particularly as it relates to the impact of social determinants of health.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the performance of the current healthcare system and what legislative and regulatory approaches are in place or being considered to improve the system.     
  • Explain how national health policy is developed using the formal processes provided by the government as well as the informal advocacy and processes used to influence the decision-makers.
  • Articulate potential future scenarios for policy, particularly those that incorporate emerging evidence of the role social determinants plan in impacting the health of a population.
  • Identify how “your” health profession and career will be impacted by emerging health policies as well as how you can influence policy yourself.


May 1, noon - 1 p.m.

May 8, noon - 1 p.m.

May 15, noon - 1 p.m.

May 22, noon - 1 p.m.


Rush University Campus (Room 971)

Box lunch included.  

NOTE: After registration you may alert us to any dietary restrictions.

Here’s what your colleagues had to say:

“The course was very informative and got to a level of detail that you won’t hear about in the media. This information is research based.”

“Great, relevant content applicable to every aspect of health Care.”


In support of improving patient care, Rush University Medical Center is accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Rush University Medical Center designates this live activity for a maximum of (4) AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

ANCC Credit Designation – Nurses The maximum number of hours awarded for this CE activity is (4) contact hours.
This activity is being presented without bias and without commercial support.

Rush University is an approved provider for physical therapy (216.000272), occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, social work (159.001203), nutrition, speech-audiology, and psychology by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation.

Rush University designates this live activity for (4) Continuing Education credit(s).


Learning Activities

Based on viewing videos and recommended readings prior to each class, students are expected to be called upon and be engaged in dialogue during each class. They will also be asked to question and comment during the fourth class that includes a panel discussion. A primary learning and evaluation tool will be a final paper that should reflect knowledge gained, the analysis of policy options, and clear and persuasive articulation of a recommended course of action.


Students will be required to view short videos provided on-line prior to each class. There will be several recommended readings for the course, and there will be a list of additional resources that can be used during the course of the class or in the future. Class participation will be 25% of the student’s assessment, and a final three page paper will be 75% of the assessment. Feedback will be provided for each. The final “grade” will be pass fail.

Assigned Submission

The final paper is the primary tool for demonstrating achievement of the course objectives. You are expected to assume that you will be running for Congress in the 2020 election, either for the House of Representatives or Senate. You are expected to prepare a three page written statement on your healthcare platform that would include the following:

  1. What do you believe are the key healthcare issues that need to be addressed?
  2. What are the key legislative and/or regulatory initiatives you would support to address these issues?
  3. Because social determinants have a demonstrated impact on health, how would you incorporate addressing social determinants in your policy platform?

The paper should be singled-spaced and no longer than three pages, excluding any references. You may draw on references provided as part of the course or found elsewhere. There are no politically wrong or right answers, but your paper needs to be supported be careful thought backed by referenceable facts.

Additional Resources

Health Care Financing

Health Policy Related Resources

The Social Determinants of Health


  • Obama, Barack. August 2, 2016. “United States Health Care Reform – Progress to Date and Next Steps” Journal of the American Medical Association 316(5): 525-532.
  • “Health Care Spending in the United States and Other High-Income Countries”, JAMA, March 13, 2018
  • Grenier, J., & Wynn, N (2018). A nurse led intervention to address food Insecurity in Chicago, Online Journal in Nursing, 23
  • Hall, M., Graffunder & Metzler, M. (2015). Policy approaches to advancing health equity. Journal of Public Health Management, 22(1 Suppl) S 50-S 59.
  • Housing and Health: A Review of the Literature
  • Shankardass, K., Muntaner, C., Kokkinen, L., Vahid Shahidi, F., Oneka, G., Bayoumi, A.M., & O’Campo, P. (2018). The implementation of Health in All Policies: A systems framework for government action. Health Research Policy and Systems,16(1):26. doi: 10.1186/s12961-018-0295-z.

Opinion Pieces

Writing Legislative Testimony