New chair of Health Policy & Management named

Arthur R. Williams, PhD, a nationally recognized expert in health services research and management, was recently appointed the new chair of USF College of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management. Dr. Williams, whose 40 years of professional experience bridge the public and private sectors, started Jan. 14.

Chosen as professor and chair of the department following an extensive national search, Dr. Williams came to USF from Kansas City, MO. In Kansas City, he was director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Health Services Research at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, and professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri Medical School. From 2002 to 2007, he held several positions at the renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN — as chair of the clinic’s Division of Health Care Policy & Research, professor in clinical research at the Mayo Graduate School, and co-director of the clinic’s Knowledge Translation Research Unit, which focuses on translating the best available science into routine clinical practice.

Dr. Williams served on faculty of the University of Florida College of Nursing from 1984 to 1990, giving him a unique understanding of public health and health services in Florida. He has worked with the Rockefeller, Ford, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundations; city, state, and local governments; as well as major health care providers, and served as a consultant to health insurers (Blue Cross & Blue Shield) and private industry (IBM).

Arthur Williams, PhD

Dr. Williams said he looks forward to building on the strengths of the Department of Health Policy & Management to increase its stature as USF and the College of Public Health continue to make national gains.

“USF began primarily as a liberal arts commuter school and has successfully forged ahead to become to a major research university, with modest cost to the state of Florida. That’s quite a unique achievement that greatly benefits students and generates new knowledge and opportunities for economic growth, development, and job creation,” Dr. Williams said. “And for a relatively young school of public health, the USF College of Public Health has already attained an impressive top 20 ranking.” (USF is listed in the top 20 of U.S. News & World Report’s latest ranking of graduate public health programs.)

Dr. Williams has a strong track record of National Institutes of Health-funded research, including studies investigating ways to provide cost-effective, quality home care to patients after hospitalization in order to prevent or reduce the costs of rehospitalizations. His research has focused on health policy and quantitative assessments of the delivery of health care and its outcomes (including cost and quality) for patients, families and communities. For example, with the support of $1.6-million National Institute for Nursing Research grant, Dr. Williams and his spouse (Phoebe D. Williams, PhD, RN, FAAN) demonstrated that an intervention designed to address needs of siblings with chronically ill brothers and sisters and their parents led to improvements in knowledge about illness, mood, feelings of social support, and sibling behaviors over a year of observation.

While at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Williams played a key role in the institution’s successful application to establish one of the country’s first federally-funded Centers for Clinical and Translational Research. He wrote much of the community health section of the prestigious NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA).

Dr. Williams received a PhD in public policy, government and economics from Cornell University in 1981. He holds a MA degree in public finance, economic development, and econometrics from the University of the Philippines, and a MPA degree in urban administration (city management) and economic and social development from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public & International Affairs (GSPIA). He has done postdoctoral training in epidemiology and in health services administration at Johns Hopkins University, the New England Epidemiology Institute, and the Sloan Program in Health Administration(Cornell University).

His numerous honors included an award as 2001-02 Senior Fulbright Research Scholar in the Philippines, where he studied how community characteristics, such as social networks, affect the long-term health of children. With the support of a Fulbright Regional Travel Award, he also taught health outcomes research and quantitative methods at universities in the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia and consulted with the ministries of health in those countries.

Dr. Williams has authored or co-authored more than 90 articles in peer-reviewed journals and six books and monographs. He is a reviewer for several journals, including the Journal of Applied Statistics, the Journal of Health Economics, and the Journal of Behavioral Medicine. He was academically trained in five languages — Tagalog (the Philippines), Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesia), Spanish, French and German.

Dr. Williams steps in for Barbara Langland Orban, PhD, who has served as the chair of Health Policy & Management since 1998. Dr. Orban, an associate professor of health policy and management, is will focus on the college’s Master of Health Administration (MHA) program and related accreditation efforts.

Story by Anne DeLotto Baier, USF Health Communications