Erin Trish, PhD, a health economist whose work focuses on the intersection of public policy and healthcare markets, has been named co-director of the USC Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics. She joined the Schaeffer Center in 2013 as a postdoctoral fellow and, over the last several years, has helped lead the Center as its associate director.
An assistant professor of pharmaceutical and health economics at the USC School of Pharmacy, Trish explores policies to reform healthcare markets and improve value through her research. She is a nationally recognized thought leader whose work has informed several important health policy discussions. For example, Trish’s research has influenced nationwide legislation aimed at protecting patients from surprise medical bills and informed demonstration projects focused on improving affordability for Medicare Part D patients. She has also evaluated policies to improve competition in healthcare and insurance markets.
Schaeffer Center Founding Director Dana Goldman, PhD, will continue his leadership role as co-director. In July 2021, he was named dean of the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. Goldman has directed the Schaeffer Center—a partnership between the School of Pharmacy and the Price School—since its inception in 2009.
“The Schaeffer Center’s faculty fellows, staff and students conduct outstanding, influential work that informs policy as well as scholarship,” Goldman says. “They will greatly benefit from Dr. Trish’s leadership.”
State and national agencies continue to call upon Trish’s expertise. She has testified in the California State Assembly and presented her research at numerous federal agencies, including the Congressional Budget Office, Federal Trade Commission, Council of Economic Advisors, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Her honors include the Seema Sonnad Emerging Leader in Managed Care Research Award, which is given annually to recognize an individual whose early achievements in managed care demonstrate the potential for making an exceptional long-term contribution as a leader in the field.
In addition to her USC duties, Trish continues as a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution and as a scholar with the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy. Thanks to these and other ongoing collaborations, she is well-positioned to help the Center continue to build upon its longstanding partnerships.
“Looking ahead, the work that the Schaeffer Center does has never been more critical,” says Vassilios Papadopoulos, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “Through the Schaeffer Center, we strive to increase access to and value in healthcare delivery, while helping contain costs and improve patient outcomes. These are essential ingredients in achieving our shared goal of advancing health.”
From developing innovative models to assess the value of new drugs and analyze insurance markets to advancing solutions to mitigate the opioid crisis, the Schaeffer Center has developed an evidence base to help policymakers make decisions.
In the past 12 years, the Schaeffer Center has grown to become a recognized leader in health policy, informing policy debates at the state and national level. With Trish as associate director and under Goldman’s leadership, the Center has raised over $170 million in research and programmatic funding and has risen to fourth in global health economics rankings — ahead of Stanford, Princeton, Brown and the University of Chicago. The center has more than 50 faculty fellows, including three Nobel Laureates and four new chaired professorships. The center has built a renowned data and microsimulation core to support evidence-based policy, has published more than 1,400 research articles and 50 white papers informing health policy, and nurtured partnerships with the Brookings Institution and the Aspen Institute, among other collaborations. The Schaeffer Center’s innovative initiatives include a minority training program in health economics supported by the National Institutes of Health.
“Leonard Schaeffer endowed our center to improve health and economic policy through rigorous, independent research,” Trish says. “Helping fulfill his vision means a great deal to me, and I am honored to become co-director of the Schaeffer Center alongside my mentor Dana Goldman.”
“Our success at the Schaeffer Center depends in large measure on the leadership of our distinguished advisory board, chaired by Leonard Schaeffer,” Goldman adds. “We are enthusiastic about this new chapter for the Center.”