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Jill Jamison Rissi, R.N., B.S., B.S.N., M.P.A., Ph.D.

Contact Information
Office: URBN 670 R
Telephone: 503.725.8217


Dr. Rissi joined the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University in the fall of 2009 where she teaches in the Masters of Public Health and Masters of Public Administration programs. 

After starting her career as an Emergency Department staff nurse, Dr. Rissi spent eight years in county government, first as a Budget & Management Analyst, and then as a Health System Administrator.  From 1999 to 2009, she was a senior staff member of a local foundation in Phoenix, AZ where she was initially hired as the Associate Director for Administration and Finance and, in 2002, became the organization's first Associate Director for Research and Policy.  Over the past several years she has been a frequent guest lecturer and co-instructor for graduate-level health policy courses, serving as an Adjunct Faculty member for Grand Canyon University's College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and Arizona State University's School of Public Affairs and College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation. 

Dr. Rissi received a Ph.D. in Public Administration from the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University in 2008, where her research focused on deliberative models of democratic governance and health policy.  In addition to a Master's in Public Administration with an emphasis on policy analysis and program evaluation, Dr. Rissi holds undergraduate degrees in physiological psychology and nursing.

Research Focus & Interests

Dr. Rissi's research interests encompass a diverse range of health system organization and policy issues, with an emphasis on the nexus of population heath and public policy formation.  A strong believer in the value of participatory models, her primary research interest is in collaborative approaches to addressing social, political and environmental determinants of health within the contexts of community, the healthcare system and broader public policy.  

Recent research projects include directing a statewide household survey designed to increase understanding of individual and population health impact of factors such as neighborhood social cohesion, physical environment, adverse childhood events, resilience and informal care-seeking behaviors, in addition to more traditional measures of insurance coverage, health status and access to care.  Other recent research projects include surveys on physician attitudes toward health system reform and professional responsibility, and emergency department utilization.  A series of public dialogues on policy preferences for health system reform which she directed later formed the basis for an in-depth interpretive analysis of the mechanisms by which deliberative democratic forums shape personal and public policy decision-making.

Dr. Rissi also has a keen interest in interpretive approaches to understanding determinants of health, the ways in which they are mediated through physical, social, cultural and political dimensions, and the governance structures which determine their allocation within communities.  By taking an interpretive approach to understanding the relationships between population health dynamics, healthcare delivery system infrastructure and public policy formation, Dr. Rissi's research explores how socially constructed meanings are attached to value-laden policy issues such as healthcare, and to the practical application of interpretive approaches to such understanding.

Community Engagements/Service

While in Arizona, Dr. Rissi served on the State Medicaid Advisory Committee, Maricopa County Audit Advisory Committee, Valley Citizens' League Board, Governor's Long-Term Care Task Force and Ryan White CARE Act Planning Council.  She is a past-president of the Arizona Nurses Association and served in appointed office with the American Nurses Association. 

Dr. Rissi is an active member of AcademyHealth where she serves on the Planning Committee for the State Health Research and Policy Interest Group.  She is also a member of the American Public Health Association, American Society for Public Administration and American Nurses' Association.

Publications & Awards

Dr. Rissi has authored a number of foundation publications on issues ranging from translation of research for practice and policy-making to integration of behavioral health and primary care, consumer-directed care and healthcare workforce issues.  In addition, she has been the lead author on technical assistance briefs for non-profit organizations addressing issues such as understanding financial statements, forging consensus and other topics.  She provides frequent invited presentations on health policy and politics, and has delivered peer-reviewed presentations on topics including the causes and consequences of chronic conditions, the relationship between emergency department utilization and primary care, and the ways in which citizen deliberation influences attitudes on health system reform.