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KUDOS! Professor Matthew Herder appointed a Canadian Harkness Associate in Health Care, Policy and Practice
Last month, Professor Matthew Herder, the Director of the Schulich School of Law’s Health Law Institute, attended the first of 10 meetings in the United States that will take place over one year in his role as a Canadian Harkness Associate in Health Care, Policy and Practice. The meeting took place at the New York City headquarters of The Commonwealth Fund, a private American foundation that promotes a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency.
“It was really exciting to meet the 12 other Harkness Fellows who bring experience from different countries and varying backgrounds,” says Herder. “I was the lone lawyer in the room, and I felt that because of my legal training, I brought a different way of doing critical policy analysis to the table. We spent a whole day sharing our research projects and discussing health care generally and the current political environment.”
As only 10 or so individuals are selected across several Commonwealth countries each year, and I’m one of only two Canadians, it’s an honour to receive this award.
Harkness Fellowships are partnerships with The Commonwealth Fund and the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement. They allow mid-career health services researchers and practitioners from around the world to spend up to 12 months in the U.S. conducting original research and working with leading U.S. health-policy experts. “As only 10 or so individuals are selected across several Commonwealth countries each year, and I’m one of only two Canadians, it’s an honour to receive this award,” says Herder.
Impactful health policy contributions
Last fall, Herder was surprised to receive an email from senior Health Canada official David Lee, who proposed nominating him as a Harkness Associate candidate. In his email, Lee wrote: “I have been deeply impressed by your health policy work over the years on a number of fronts. From my perspective, you’ve made strong national contributions. So, you came to mind as someone I would be happy to nominate if the opportunity appeals to you. There is a lot happening internationally these days as you know, so it is a good time to work with international partners.”
As a Harkness Associate, Herder will research how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can help reduce prescription drug prices. He’ll visit Washington, D.C., twice, where he’ll meet with people in Congress. “I’ll get to speak with extremely influential government officials, past and present,” he says.
During the August 2017 to August 2018 appointment time period, Herder will remain based at the Schulich School of Law but will spend time throughout the year at Yale Law School, where his supervisor is Professor Amy Kapczynski. In addition to Washington, he’ll attend meetings in New York, Boston, and Seattle.
Applying research outcomes to Canada
When Herder is at Yale Law School, his host is the Collaboration for Research Integrity and Transparency (CRIT). In addition to Kapczynski, he’ll be partnering with Yale School of Medicine Professor Joseph Ross and Yale Law School Professor Gregg Gonsalves.
Herder believes that he will be able to apply his research outcomes to Canada. “I think we could make better use of laws we already have instead of creating new laws,” he says. “Canada has some similar policy tools as the U.S., and like the U.S., we’re underusing these tools when it comes to what can be done to lower prescription drug prices."
My role as a Harkness Associate is a really good example of working with scholars in other countries.
Next spring Herder plans to travel to Ottawa to present his Harkness research findings to Health Canada officials. “My role as a Harkness Associate is a really good example of working with scholars in other countries,” he says. “And the more I learn about the FDA, the more I can help inform regulatory practice and policy in Canada. In the future, I’d like to develop a pharmaceutical law and policy course for our law school. I hope it will make an important contribution to the Health Law Institute’s already impressive list of health law course offerings.”
Herder’s next Harkness Associate meeting will be an International Symposium in Health Policy in mid-November in Washington, D.C.
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