Welcome to the Institute for Health Policy (IHP). IHP is a unit within the College of Human Medicine (CHM). 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 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.
  • Kathy Stiffler, BS, MA, serves as the Senior Health Policy Advisor and the Executive Director of the Michigan Health Policy Forum. She brings over 30 years of health organization and health policy executive leadership experience to the Institute.
  • Kevin Brooks, PhD, is the Director of Program Evaluation and Health Services Research and has been involved with health analytics for over a decade.
  • Tom Renwick, BA, JD, serves as the interim Director of the Quality Improvement and Health Policy Units. He has worked in the behavioral health care field for more than 35 years, with a broad range of experience that includes both direct service provision and the development, funding and oversight of public behavioral health services.


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

2019 Novel Coronavirus

IHP is actively supporting the university’s efforts regarding the Coronavirus public health situation. To support the call for social distancing, IHP staff are working remotely. They can be reached via email and email contact information is located on the People tab of this webpage.

The College of Human Medicine provides additional information and recommendations here: http://humanmedicine.msu.edu/News/2020/covid-19.htm. Specific actions we can take collectively include:

• Stay home if you are sick, full stop.
• Seek care by calling your physician’s office early for a respiratory illness.
• Cover coughs and sneezes with your sleeve at the elbow or use a disposable tissue.
• Keep your hands away from your face.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
• Wash your hands with soap and water. If you don’t have soap and water, you can use a 60% alcohol hand sanitizer.
• Social distancing – as much as possible meet by video or phone and reduce or cancel events. This means no hugging or shaking hands – it is time to bow, nod your head, or wave. Try to literally increase the space between you and other people.

For more information, check out the links below:

State of Michigan
Ingham County Health Department