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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Spring 2009

T C 330 • Health Policy Internship

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42785 M
4:00 PM-6:00 PM
NA 0

Course Description

This Service Learning Course gives students in medicine, law and government first hand experience in public health policy formation in the Texas legislature. Selected students will be placed in assistance of leading Senators and State Representatives. Duties may involve research on issues, responses to constituents, communication with interest groups and government agencies, support for drafting and interpreting bills, and for tracking and influencing their advancement. The time commitment is ten to fifteen hours per week. Students' time will be divided between work at the Capitol, outside research, and seminars in which they present and discuss health-related bills and amendments.

Grading Policy

(1) Minimum of ten hours per week in direct assistance to the office of State Senator or Representative
(2) Oral presentations on bills and issues at weekly seminars
(3) Completion of term paper of 2000 words or more describing the background and purpose for a particular bill, and the bill's deliberation and progress toward enactment


Students will read bills introduced in the 80th legislative session and the most significant background documents related to their legislative deliberation. They will also prepare and complete a list of supplementary readings that include academic publications, empirical reports and popular discourse on the topic addressed by the bill(s). Illustrations of scholarly readings from previous classes include research publications on the price elasticity of tobacco products and the impact of tobacco taxes on adolescent smoking onset, health disparities and the costs of disparities in the provision of preventive services for children, and the effects of credentialing and continuing education requirements on the supply and competence of health care providers.

About the Professor:
Alfred L. McAlister received his B.S. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1972 and his Ph.D. in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University in 1976. Before returning to Texas in 1982, he taught for five years at the Harvard School of Public Health. As a faculty member at the University of Texas School of Public Health, he has received grants and awards from the National Institutes of Health and the Carnegie Corporation totaling more than seventeen million dollars. These have supported action-oriented and policy-related research and publications concerning cardiovascular disease and cancer prevention, HIV infection control, ethnic relations, homicide and collective violence. He has worked extensively in international public health projects, with twenty years of frequent service with the National Public Health Institute of Finland. Professor McAlister also has more than two decades of experience in public health programs with bi-national populations on the Texas-Mexico border. Leisure-time interests include modern South Texas folklore, fishing and coastal marine exploration. Raised in Austin, Professor McAlister is married to Marjatta McAlister and has three children.


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