PolicyLab has many talented alumni whose experiences here led them to pursue exciting opportunities to continue the center’s mission beyond our walls. Today, Dorothy Miller, JD, MPH, is the Director of U.S. Vaccines Public Policy at Merck, driving key public policy strategy approaches to address vaccine access and uptake barriers, including the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on routine immunization for children and adolescents. At PolicyLab, Dorothy wore many hats, which she explains significantly influenced her work today and led to a career in policy. As a research assistant, she analyzed how states implement policies that impact access to psychotropic medications and non-pharmaceutical interventions for children in foster care. Later, as a health policy associate/research scientist, Dorothy continued working on policy issues, particularly around implementation of Affordable Care Act provisions that impacted pediatrics, offering a policy lens to support other teams at the center in analyzing research implications and serving on state commissions.
Dorothy always had an interest in policy, but PolicyLab’s unique model gave her a grounding in rigorous methodology and access to experts trained in data analysis and both scientific and clinical investigation. Now, as she navigates the COVID-19 pandemic in her current role, she credits her time at PolicyLab building an understanding of what exceptional research looks like and the importance of having strong communication skills with helping her in numerous ways.
A passion for helping not just individuals, but also whole communities and populations inspired me. I love how versatile the field is—there are so many different ways that public health experts can influence health of populations.
As we adapted to the pandemic, the PolicyLab team drew on its extensive research expertise to keep caregivers and decision-makers across the country informed on COVID-19 trends, and stayed abreast of the latest evidence and guidance to get children and staff safely back in school. They also continued to drive research on pressing issues of health and health equity that will persist beyond the pandemic. Taken together, this work has been invaluable in ensuring the needs of children and families in Philadelphia and beyond are heard and will continue to be prioritized by policymakers as we look ahead.