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Current Students

Robin Baker
Ms. Baker received her Masters in Sociology from Portland State University, where she focused on women who had been formerly incarcerated and their experiences reintegrating into the community, including family relations, employment and housing experiences, and opportunities to find and activate the supports necessary for successful reintegration. Since entering the Health Systems and Policy doctoral program, Ms. Baker has worked with Dr. Rissi researching the development and implementation of the Patient-Centered Primary Care Home Program in Oregon and has taught courses in health systems, leadership, and civic engagement.  Her current research interests include primary care for those with serious mental illnesses, the integration of behavioral and primary health care, and the policy and organizational factors that can impact the implementation of integrated services.
She hopes her dissertation will explore how clinics incorporate effective strategies to provide integrated care to persons living with serious mental illness and the factors that impede or facilitate the adoption and sustainability of those strategies. Ms. Baker chose the Health Systems and Policy PhD program because of the knowledgeable faculty, the rich opportunities for health care research, and its location in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Courtney Crane
Ms. Crane received two Masters degrees, one in Family Studies and one in Public Health, from Eastern Illinois University. She is interested in maternal and child health with an emphasis on maternal birth experiences and breastfeeding outcomes.
Ms. Crane is following her interests in maternal and child health and is potentially considering how policy impacts and shapes experiences of breastfeeding as well as the outcomes. She chose the Health Systems and Policy doctoral program to pursue a career in research.
  Jessica Currier
Inspired by the book Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, a biography on Paul Farmer, Ms. Currier embarked on her journey in social equality, particularly in the area access to healthcare. As a PhD student, she plans to focus on the health status of migrant workers.
In 2014, she earned an MPH from Oregon State University. Jessica also has a BA in Music Performance from Lewis and Clark College. While completing her MPH, Jessica interned with the Center for Human Resource Development in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, where she coordinated leadership trainings for senior government officials and completed a research project on equity of access to health care in rural Quang Nam Province.
Prior to her return to academia, Jessica has worked in the field of philanthropy for over ten years, primarily for the Oregon Community Foundation. In addition to her graduate studies, Jessica continues as the Program Coordinator for the Central Oregon Regional Action Initiative, an OCF sponsored initiative supporting community schools.
Outside of school, Jessica is married and a proud parent two little girls, enjoys playing the piano (when the kids let her), and running. 

Nicole Merrithew
Ms. Merrithew received her Master’s Degree in Public Health with an emphasis on Health Management and Policy from Portland State University in 2008. She is currently the Director of the Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) Patient-Centered Primary Care Home Program, a statewide medical home initiative. The goals of the program are to develop strategies to identify and measure Patient-Centered Primary Care Homes, promote their development, and encourage all Oregonians to receive care in this new model. Prior to her current role, Ms. Merrithew held positions as the Director of the Oregon Medicaid Advisory Committee, a program development analyst for the Oregon Public Employees’ Benefits Board, and a Research Assistant with Oregon Health and Science University. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Boston University.
Ms. Merrithew is interested in examining the effect that specific characteristics of primary care practices have on organizational performance, including service utilization and clinical outcomes. She is also interested in exploring outcomes associated with different approaches to setting standards of care. Through this research, Ms. Merrithew aims to inform both local and national primary care reform efforts. She chose the Health Systems and Policy program for its faculty expertise and connection to Oregon’s health reform activities.  
Samantha Slaughter-Mason
Ms. Slaughter-Mason graduated from the University of Southern California with degrees in psychology and health communications, then received her Masters in Public Health from Oregon State University, with an emphasis in international health. Ms. Slaughter-Mason currently works at the Center for Evidence-based Policy based at Oregon Health & Science University as a Program Administrator focused on stakeholder engagement in health policy development and research processes.
Ms. Slaughter-Mason is interested in medical marijuana policy development as states (and cities?) navigate complex systems. She is most interested in an opportunity to identify best-practices, strategic collaborations, and the unique challenges of implementing state policy in direct violation of federal laws. Ms. Slaughter-Mason selected the Health Systems and Policy program for its interdisciplinary approach and faculty expertise. 
Kweku Wilson
Mr. Wilson is interested in primary care access, quality and cost, the patient-centered primary care home model, health policy and health system analyses, policy implementation and evaluation, and continuous quality improvement methods. His dissertation is titled, Health Risks in Medical Homes and their Effects on Cost Sensitive Outcomes of Care: A Focus on Patient-Centered Primary Care Homes in Oregon.
Mr. Wilson chose the Health Systems and Policy program to improve his knowledge about the theories, models and principles of health policy and health system, to hone his skills in health policy research, and to gain relevant practical experience in the development and implementation of health policy in a health system environment as well as the analysis and evaluation of the effects of such policies.