NCIOM Graduates Second Class of Legislative Health Policy Fellows

News | January 16, 2020


Michelle Ries, MPH
Project Director, North Carolina Institute of Medicine

917.656.8593 (cell)

group of people poses for photo in wood-paneled restaurant room

Morrisville, NC (Jan 16, 2020) – On January 13, 11 members of the North Carolina General Assembly representing both parties and a range of experience graduated from a three-session program better equipped to face the health policy issues facing their constituents. Participants attended presentations from various experts during sessions at the North Carolina Institute of Medicine that focused on systems thinking, drivers of health, health care costs, the North Carolina safety net, and more.


At Monday’s graduation luncheon, Susan Dentzer, senior policy fellow at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, provided one final talk to the participants, on moving from “volume to value” in health care.


“The Legislative Health Policy Fellows program provides a fantastic opportunity to hear from subject matter experts on a variety of health-related topics,” said Sen. Jim Perry (R-Lenoir, Wayne). “I was impressed by the breadth and depth of the information provided in the program.”


The legislators didn’t just learn about health policy challenges and opportunities – they participated in the creation of an issue brief on moving to value-based care in North Carolina. The issue brief, available on the NCIOM website, lays out the current state of health care spending in the U.S. and in our state, examines alternative payment models, and provides examples of value-based models of care that could be implemented in North Carolina.


“The NCIOM Legislative Health Policy Fellows program was invaluable,” said Rep. Rachel Hunt (D, Mecklenburg). “It should be required for all legislators.”


Session presentation topics included the drivers of health (i.e., social, economic, behavioral, and community factors); the role of health care infrastructure and services in the state’s economy; the drivers of health care costs, Medicaid and Medicare in North Carolina; youth mental health and school-based mental health services; among others.


Participants also heard from former Arkansas State Rep. John Burris about his experience with Medicaid expansion and health policymaking and from Rep. John Nygren of Wisconsin regarding lessons and strategies from addressing the opioid epidemic in his state.


“One of the reasons we do what we do at the institute is to bridge science and experts with the policymaking process,” said Adam Zolotor, MD, DrPH, president and CEO of the NCIOM. “The Legislative Health Policy Fellows program is an opportunity to introduce experts to our legislators and spend a few days trying to take the politics out of health policy and focus on the issues. We love to see experts being peppered with questions from our legislators and to see consensus of ideas emerging across party lines.”


The Legislative Health Policy Fellows program is funded by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, Cone Health Foundation, and The Duke Endowment.


NCIOM 2019 Legislative Health Policy Fellow Graduates:

Representative Kelly Alexander, D, District 107- Mecklenburg

Senator Deanna Ballard, R, District 45 - Alleghany, Ashe, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes

Representative Lisa Barnes, R, District 7 - Franklin, Nash

Representative Mary Belk, D, District 88 - Mecklenburg

Representative Christy Clark, D, District 98 - Mecklenburg

Representative Rachel Hunt, D, District 103 - Mecklenburg

Representative Verla Insko, D, District 56 - Orange

Senator Jim Perry, R, District 7 - Lenoir, Wayne

Representative Wayne Sasser, R, District 67 - Cabarrus, Stanly

Senator Vickie Sawyer, R, District 34 - Iredell, Yadkin

Representative Julie von Haefen, D, District 36 - Wake


For more information about the NCIOM Legislative Health Policy Fellows program, including full meeting agendas and speaker information, please visit our website at




The North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) is an independent, quasi-state agency that was chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1983 to provide balanced, nonpartisan information on issues of relevance to the health of North Carolina’s population. For more information, visit