Paula M. Lantz, PhD

Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research

    • October 31, 2006

Position: Sociologist
Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, 1991
Cohort 1 (1994–1996): University of Michigan

Position as of June 2006
Professor of Health Management and Policy
Director, Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Research Program
Research Professor, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Mich.
(734) 763-9902
plantz@umich.edu

Unlike most Scholars, Paula Lantz, PhD, entered the Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Research program with a good deal of experience conducting health-related research.

She had a long-standing interest in issues related to women's health, clinical preventive services such as cancer screening and prenatal care, and social inequalities in health. Her dissertation research at the University of Wisconsin estimated the extent to which increases in breast cancer incidence could be attributed to increased screening for mammography. She received her doctorate in 1991.

Also unlike most Scholars, Lantz entered the program from a non-academic setting, the Marshfield Medical Research and Education Foundation in Wisconsin. She had previously worked at the Wisconsin Bureau of Public Health. She saw the Scholars program as a way to get back into an academic setting, and to learn about health policy and broaden her research to include policy topics.

Lantz used her time as a Scholar at the University of Michigan to pursue several research projects.

  • She analyzed information from a large national data set to learn more about the relationship between prenatal care and low-birthweight babies.
  • She analyzed survey data to estimate how differences in income and education correlated to women's use of mammograms and Pap tests.
  • She designed a large study, which she carried out after her scholarship ended that investigated how low-income women who were diagnosed with cancer through a federal screening program were getting treatment services.

She published several articles during her two years in the Scholars program, including:

  • "Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening in a Low-Income Managed Care Sample: The Efficacy of Physician Letters and Phone Calls" in American Journal of Public Health.
  • "Selection Bias in Prenatal Care Utilization: Linking Economic and Health Services Research" in Medical Care Research and Review.

After completing the program, Lantz remained at the University of Michigan, where she is currently a professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy and a research professor at the Survey Research Center of the Institute for Social Research. Lantz also serves as the director of the university's Robert Wood Johnson Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Research Program. She presently chairs the Department of Health Management and Policy in the School of Public Health at Michigan.

In September 2002, Lantz became the associate director of the Scholars in Health Policy Research Program at Michigan. A year later, she became the program's co-director with Michael Chernew, and in summer 2006, assumed the role of program director.

Lantz has developed several other affiliations with RWJF national programs. She serves as a core faculty member for the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program and is a member of the steering committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars Program at the University of Michigan.

Lantz continues to write extensively about health policy. Among other journals, her articles have been published in:

  • Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • Health Services Research; Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law
  • Social Science and Medicine.

Her current research projects include a longitudinal study of social determinants of health and a population-based study of treatment decisions among women with breast cancer.

In looking back at her experience in the first years of the Scholars program, Lantz recalls, "I came into the program with a great deal of experience in health-related research. Through the program, I received training and experience in doing policy-focused research. Without this, I doubt I would be on the faculty of a health policy department in a school of public health."