As NPC opens applications for its Postdoctoral Health Policy Fellowship, a post-doctoral, two-year research position that seeks to bridge the gap between health research and policy analysis, we're checking in with previous NPC fellows and interns to learn more about their experiences and careers in the years following their NPC fellowship. Chuck Shih, PhD, MHS, currently Senior Officer, Drug Spending at Pew Charitable Trusts, was the 2013-2015 NPC Health Policy Fellow as part of a partnership with the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Dr. Shih chatted with us to answer a few questions about how his time at NPC impacted his work and career.
- What did you do as an NPC intern/fellow?
I worked on several projects as the NPC fellow, including an effort to engage various stakeholders (e.g., pharmacy benefit managers, employers, providers and researchers) to assess the ethical, legal and economic considerations of drug formulary design. I also worked on a project with colleagues at George Washington University and Tufts University to develop a framework on how coverage and payment policies impact incentives for drug innovation.
- What are you doing now?
Immediately following my NPC fellowship, I accepted a position at the Pew Charitable Trusts as Senior Officer, Drug Spending. At Pew, I lead the organization’s research efforts on pharmaceutical policy, including the effect of state and federal policies on costs, patient access and incentives for innovation. As of November 2017, I have accepted a position at Biogen as the Associate Director, Healthcare Reform and Public Policy. At Biogen, I will work with the market access and public policy teams to assess the impact of policy trends.
- How did your time at NPC inform your career?
The NPC fellowship gave me the opportunity to expand my understanding of how payers consider the value of pharmaceuticals in developing policy, such as those related to patient access and cost sharing. As these concepts become more important in how payers and policymakers evaluate health care in the U.S., I firmly believe that my fellowship at NPC has given me the additional skills and experience to be a part of these ongoing policy discussions. Through the NPC fellowship, I also had the opportunity to meet with experts and thought leaders throughout the health care policy world. These interactions allowed me to expand my understanding of health care policy world as well as of career opportunities that would be a best fit for me given my interests.
- What advice do you have for a prospective post-doc fellow?
Always ask a lot of questions. The U.S. health care delivery and payment system is complicated and no single person has all the answers. If you don’t know the answer to a question, you can feel certain that others don’t either.