The UNC Greensboro Bryan School of Business and Economics is continuing the planned expansion of its Economics Advisory Board with the addition of Dr. Monica Schmidt, Cone Health’s Executive Director of Health Economics, a move that could open the door to an ongoing and mutually beneficial partnership.
“We have internationally known researchers in addiction studies and health insurance, as well as other subfields of health economics. Our partnership with Cone Health will give us additional strength and provide students a unique opportunity to interact with health professionals and get hands-on experience with health economics research in the real world,” said Dr. Anne Royalty, head of the Bryan School’s Department of Economics.
The appointment comes a year after three new members were added to the Economics Advisory Board, a body that advises the school’s Department of Economics regarding its interactions with students, business partners, and the community.
“At the Bryan School, our high-level priorities include increasing student access to excellence and promoting research excellence. I believe this addition to our Economics Advisory Board embodies those pursuits wholly, and I remain excited about the wealth of knowledge and invaluable expertise the board provides,” said Bryan School Dean McRae C. Banks.
Currently chaired by David Jolley of Allen C. Ewing & Co. – one of the first graduates of UNCG’s master’s program in Economics – the board aims to develop, plan, and facilitate specific targeted activities that advance the Bryan School’s goals. As far as Schmidt is concerned, those goals cover a lot of common ground between UNCG and Cone Health.
“I’m very excited,” said Schmidt. “We need a pipeline of knowledgeable graduates to start filling up health economics at Cone Health. Our department is only going to grow over time and it’s going to grow because of value-based care. And that means we need people who can evaluate programs and payment models and tell us if we’re doing the right things for our patients, making sure we’re providing the best care possible.”
Royalty, who recommended Schmidt for the board, is eager to hit the ground running.
“The next steps are conversations with our faculty and Dr. Schmidt, including a visit to Cone Health for our department,” she said. “We will begin conversations about how best to get our students involved with Cone Health and possible collaborative research with faculty and students.”
A North Carolina native, Schmidt took a few information systems classes at the Bryan School before switching gears to study biology, eventually working her way to earning a PhD in Health Policy and Management in Chapel Hill.
“I loved UNCG. I really liked the atmosphere,” she said. “It’s just a beautiful campus.”
As a lifelong North Carolinian and member of the Greensboro community, Schmidt has a unique perspective on the current state of health care and what it all means for residents in the Triad.
“We have a lot of projects planned that can help us get care to the people needing care in the region. Because Cone Health is such a great testing ground for programs and quick evaluations, we believe we could offer valuable information. That’s our goal, to expand research into the larger Medicaid database that the state of North Carolina is implementing,” Schmidt said. “This could be the missing piece that creates a really robust program – especially in health services research – at UNCG.”