W&M’s Schroeder Center for Health Policy celebrates its 15th anniversary


Dr. Jennifer Mellor, Director of the W&M Schroeder Center for Health Policy, introduces the alumni panel to kick off the discussion (Photo: Lauren Pudvah, MPP)

This month, the Schroeder Center for Health Policy celebrated its 15th anniversary by bringing together past and present W&M MPPs. The highlight of the event may have been an alumni panel that spoke to how different career paths were enriched by skills learned in the MPP program. As our graduating students seek employment and our first-year students seek internship placements, our alumni wisdom couldn’t have been more pertinent.

The panel discussion was titled “W&M Shapes Health Policy” and featured Ashley Gray* (MPP ’14), Massey Whorley* (MPP ’08), Joanna Young* (MPP ’07), Michael Cassidy* (MPP ’99), and Carol Blackford* (MPP ’95). The alumni highlighted skills they obtained from the W&M MPP program that have made them successful in their careers across different policy sectors.

The MPP program’s strong economic and quantitative focus, encouragement of effective and thoughtful communication, law class requirements, and solid foundation classes were just a few things they said give them a leg up in their careers. This panel was a great way to get our current MPP students thinking about what strengths to highlight as they are on the job or internship search!


More information on our featured alumni:

* Ashley Gray, ’14, Director of State Affairs, Medicaid, BlueCross BlueShield Association; Since graduation, Ashley has had 4 senior level positions in the Government, Non-Profits, NGOs, and a Trade Association. She is a top flyer who is frequently found on the 30 under 30 or 40 on 40 lists.

* Massey Whorley, ’08, Senior Policy Advisor, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam; In the 10 years since graduating Massey has been senior staff at JLARC, TCI and the VA state Governor’s Office for Terry McAuliffe and now Ralph Northam.

* Joanna Young, ’07 Senior Director, Avalere Health; Joanna is has made her career in DC working in for-profit and not-for-profits firms focused on data analytics.

* Michael Cassidy, ’99, Founder, President and CEO, Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis; TCI has grown from a small startup into the state’s leading independent voice on state fiscal and economic policy issues.

* Carol Blackford, ’95, Director of Hospital and Ambulatory Policy Group, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Carol is an SES level senior manager with a 20+ year career in federal service.


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Thank you to the students, faculty, and alumni who made the event such a success! 

Stay tuned for more MPP events. In the meantime, don’t forget to follow W&M MPP on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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