IH Section’s Dr. Maggie Huff-Rousselle Running for APHA Executive Board!

Our own Dr. Maggie Huff-Rousselle, longtime IH Section member and leader, is again running for APHA’s Executive Board. The Executive Board has 12 elected members, with three elected annually to four-year terms. During the upcoming annual meeting in San Fransisco, the Governing Council will elect three new Executive Board members. Voters will choose from eight candidates, one of whom is Dr. Huff-Rousselle. Below is a summary of her qualifications. Please spread the word and talk to those you know who can impact the vote!

Candidate for APHA Executive Board
Maggie Huff-Rousselle, PhD, MBA, MA

  • Experience in policy-formulation & consensus-building on diverse bodies
  • Experience in management, program development, & resource mobilization
  • Bringing a global perspective to the Executive Board and situating US Health Sector Reform in context

Progressive & Pragmatic Evidence-Based Advocacy — Putting the US in Context

I will work to make us collectively more effective in advocacy that re-shapes both US and global public health policies, within and beyond the borders of our own professional boundaries.

We need evidence-based advocacy contrasting the US with other countries where health services are viewed as a collective public responsibility, not a commodity traded in the marketplace. Americans have come to think of commercial insurance companies as “health care” rather than financial intermediaries that, given commercial incentives, skim the market cream by insuring those of us least in need of services (i.e. employed, higher income). Our fragmented health “systems” exacerbate social inequities and create wastage through marketing costs, and multiple administrative and billing systems.

Similar issues pertain to US policies (or lack thereof) in relation to the pharmaceutical industry: elevated US retail costs that deny access to essential medications for many; direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs (not allowed in most developed countries) that promote block-busters over appropriate essential drugs; and inadequate post-marketing surveillance of new drugs as contrasted with other Western nations.

Many existing public health policies need an overhaul. Illustrative examples, related to reproductive and sexual health and HIV/AIDS, include: abstinence-only campaigns; policies on abortion; and an ill-informed domestic approach that has left us with scandalous HIV/AIDS statistics right in our nation’s capital. These are only examples. They call for multi-disciplinary consensus-building on both health and social issues.

My orientation is progressive but pragmatic. If we are to be credible and effective catalysts for change, our advocacy needs to be well-sculpted (politically and otherwise) to succeed in creating sustained changes. We should listen to those who do not see things as we see them, and not preach only to those of us who are already converted. Advocacy should often follow a strategically incremental approach, within and beyond the borders of our own professional boundaries. This is what I hope to help with.

Biography: Depth & Breadth of Interdisciplinary Experience

If we are to be credible and effective catalysts for change, we must not preach only to those who are already converts: we should also
listen to those who do not see the health sector and health policies as we do.

Dr. Huff-Rousselle has over 30 years of experience in consulting, teaching and research in the health sector, including eight overseas residencies and roughly 100 short term consultancies in 50 countries. Her experience encompasses: health policy, financing, and management, with emphasis on macro and micro health sector financing, social marketing, institutional development, and pharmaceutical sector policy and financing.

She has directed multi-country technical assistance projects in health sector reform and financing (including national health insurance), and in pharmaceutical sector policy and financing. In long-term positions in Asia, the Caribbean, and the Middle East, she has been instrumental in establishing five organizations working in pharmaceutical supply, reproductive health and HIV/AIDS, or training and research. Her research interests combine qualitative research with financial and marketing analysis, always with a focus on access, equity and quality.

Since 1991, Dr. Huff-Rousselle has been the President of Social Sectors Development Strategies (SSDS), a Boston-based health consulting and research company with both an international and US-focus: http://www.ssds.net. She has served on the governing council of APHA, as a section councilor, and is the founding coordinator of the APHA Pharmaceutical Interest/Working group. She has current or former faculty appointments at Boston University, Harvard University, Keele University (England), and Tulane University. She teaches graduate courses on health and social marketing, financial planning and management, and global pharmaceutical issues (The Other Drug War). Dr. Huff-Rousselle serves on the Editorial Board of The International Journal of Health Planning and Management, and has served on other bodies, such as the Technical Review Panel of The Global Fund, the Women’s League of Voters, etc. She has published over 50 articles and case studies on health sector issues in national and regional newspapers, professional magazines, and peer-reviewed journals.

She has an M.A. in Writing/Education from Goddard College, a dual-M.B.A. from Boston University in Public Management and Health Systems (focusing on the US health sector), and a Ph.D. in Management Studies from the University of the West Indies. A citizen of the US and native of Canada, she speaks French and English.

Putting Students to Work Writing APHA Policy Papers

By: Dr. Amy Hagopian 

University of Washington faculty members in the Department of Global Health have found opportunities to do double duty as teachers and APHA activists.  For two years, faculty have assigned students to write APHA position papers on important policy areas, while at the same time offering valuable learning opportunities for students.  In the last couple of years, students have written four policy papers approved by APHA’s Governing Council:

  1. Transporting nuclear waste (20107)
  2. Cleaning up the Hanford nuclear reservation (20105)
  3. Improving housing for farmworkers (adopted in 2011, not yet given a number)
  4. Creating citizenship opportunities for undocumented workers in the U.S. (number pending, adopted in 2011).

Students have also written two additional policy proposals for submission in 2012:

  1. Reducing non-point pollution run-off into coastal waters
  2. Modernizing the Clean Water Act to improve its ability to address modern point-source water pollution hazards

Now two UW faculty members, inspired by the “Occupy” movement and the brief statement of support for it adopted by the governing council at the annual meeting in DC this year, have invited two students to work on a new policy.  Faculty members Stephen Bezruchka and Amy Hagopian will work with UW graduate students Valerie Pacino and Nathan Furukawa to write a position paper on the health hazards of income inequality, but within and between nations.

Authors of the position paper are inspired by populist movements, including the ones that preceded Occupy protests–especially the Arab Spring actions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and beyond.  These efforts used narratives on income inequality, wealth inequality and social inequality to spur direct action.

We invite International Health section members with ideas about how to contribute to these position statements, or who can refer us to literature citations, to be in touch. Please contact Dr. Amy Hagopian (hagopian [dot] amy [at] gmail [dot] com) for more information.