Thomas C. Sorensen Seminar: Health Policy


To fully comprehend the machinery of contemporary health policymaking and to understand the broad political dynamics that have conditioned American health policy, policymakers must integrate information from multiple and varied sources. This seminar familiarized participants with the institutional and economic complexity of the American health care system through the study of the interaction between the key players in health care financing and organization—employers, private insurance carriers, government regulators, health care providers, and consumers. Participants also explored the cultural and ideological underpinnings of modern conceptions of health and the recurrent ethical dilemmas facing health care providers, patients, and policymakers.

Seminar leaders:
Magda Peck is professor and associate chairperson for Community Health and Chief, Section on Child Health Policy in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She is the director of Health Policy and Planning at UNMC’s Munroe Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation. Dr. Peck also is the CEO, executive director, and founder of CityMatCH. Dr. Peck received her Sc.M. and Sc.D. from the Harvard University School of Public Health. She is a graduate of Leadership Omaha, was the recipient of the 1997 Greater Omaha YWCA Outstanding Woman of Distinction Award, and received the 1999 Whitney Young Award of the Urban League of Nebraska. Also, in 1999, Dr. Peck was the first recipient of CDC’s new Maternal, Infant, and Child Health Epidemiology Award for “Building Data Capacity for MCH at the National Level.”

Alice Schumaker is an assistant professor of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s College of Public Affairs and Community Service. She received a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, an M.P.A. from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She serves as the director of the Nebraska Municipal Clerks’ School and Academy, a certification program for municipal clerks. Her research interests are community development and capacity building in rural communities and urban neighborhoods, and health care policy and delivery systems. She currently administers grants in the areas of youth violence reduction, neighborhood capacity building, and community development block grant administration training.

Leon Vinci is the health director for the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department in Lincoln, Nebraska. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Wesleyan University and an M.P.H. from Yale University, School of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. He is an alumnus scholar of the CDC Public Health Leadership Institute (Class IV) and the Leadership Lincoln Executive Series (Class XI). Mr. Vinci is active with the Nebraska Partnership of Local Health Directors and is a trustee on the Lincoln Community Health Endowment Board. He is also a board of director for NACCHO (National Association of City and County Health Officials). He served as president of the New England Public Health Association (1992-1993) and is a past president of the Connecticut Association of Directors of Health.