Welcome to the Institute for Health Policy (IHP). IHP is a unit within the College of Human Medicine (CHM), Division of Public Health. The Institute serves a unique role facilitating and supporting collaborative relationships involving different stakeholders such as university and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) partners. These collaborative activities inform policymakers, state agencies and others with a goal of optimizing health and well-being in Michigan.

IHP’s partnership with MDHHS and Michigan Medicaid reaches back over two decades. In that time, our collaborations have expanded beyond State of Michigan partners to work with hospitals, managed care organizations, primary care organizations, and other private and public community organizations. IHP is proud of our customer-focused approach to our work in support of the university’s and CHM’s emphasis on service and outreach. We prioritize our clients’ needs and remain flexible in order to meet expectations and timelines.

In addition to our administrative team, IHP operates through integration and efforts of three main units. Click on each unit’s page to learn more about core activities and the team that supports the efforts.


IHP benefits from the diverse experiences of its leadership team. Collectively, the group has nearly 150 years of experience in health delivery fields.

  • Kathleen Oberst, RN, PhD, is the Acting Director and has served IHP for nearly twenty years in both the Quality Improvement and Program Evaluation units.
  • Dana McCarthy is the Institute’s Financial Administrator bringing over twenty years’ experience to her role.
  • Dennis Paradis, MPH, leads the Health Policy unit with over forty years of health organization executive leadership experience.
  • Kevin Brooks, PhD, has been involved with health analytics for over a decade lending his expertise to the Program Evaluation unit.
  • Debra Darling, BSN, RN, directs the Quality Improvement team relying on over thirty years of experience in a variety of health care settings.


IHP’s mission is to advance knowledge of health and well-being through policy evaluation, collaborative partnerships, quality improvement initiatives, and research.

Our vision is to be a leading resource for evidence-based analysis to inform practice and public policy and improve the health and well-being of residents of Michigan and the nation.

We value

  • A supportive community of colleagues and partners
  • Shared responsibility to inform policy and practice
  • Transparency and integrity in our actions, processes and products
  • Mutual respect for diverse talents, perspectives and expertise
  • Health equity
  • Innovation

Latest News

Institute for Health Policy partners with IPPSR for Legislator Education

Special long-term project supports health and wellness

Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) will partner with the Institute for Health Policy (IHP) to create a hub for critical policy leadership, education and learning. The Michigan Health Endowment Fund announced a $434,891 grant to IPPSR on November 25, 2018.

The grant is part of a group of special projects and emerging ideas awards to 30 Michigan organizations across the state working to improve the health and wellness of state residents, the Health Fund said in its announcement.

“We are thrilled to be among the recipients,” said Arnold Weinfeld, interim director of IPPSR in MSU’s College of Social Science.

The Health Fund’s special projects and emerging ideas awards are by invitation only, and are designed to support projects with prospects for significant statewide impact on the health of Michigan residents, Weinfeld said.

IPPSR’s project builds on the successes of its long-term Legislative Leadership Program, launched in 1994.

Through the grant, IPPSR will partner with the Institute for Health Policy to create a special health track designed to enhance understanding of health challenges and policy.

Dennis Paradis, Executive Director of the Michigan Health Policy Forum will direct IHP’s participation. “We will be collaborating with the Health Endowment Fund, Michigan Health Policy Forum and key stakeholders to focus on health policy issues with specifically designed sessions for policymakers that will meld research and practice through specialized forums and expanded training sessions”, said Paradis.

The Legislative Leadership Program already invites new members of Michigan’s House of Representatives and Michigan Senate to engage in a unique policy learning experience in the brief time between election and their first legislative sessions. “This is a further enhancement of MSU building status as a hub for policy information and education,” Weinfeld said.