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.
  • Kevin Brooks, MSc, PhD, is the Director of the Program Evaluation and Health Services Research Unit and has been involved with health analytics for over a decade.
  • Sabrina Ford, PhD, LCP, is the Director of the Health Quality and Equity Unit. 
  • Thomas Renwick, BA, JD, is the Director of the Health Policy Unit, as well as the Executive Director of the Michigan Health Policy Forum. 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.
  • Dave Schneider, MPA, is a Senior Advisor and an experienced public administrator with more than 30 years’ experience dedicated to improving specialty healthcare.


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

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:

    • Community engagement and partnerships
    • Principles of health equity in policy and practice
    • Shared responsibility to inform policy and practice
    • Mutual respect for diverse talents, perspectives and expertise
    • Transparency and integrity in our actions, processes and products
    • Innovative approaches to optimize health and well-being