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LBJ School of Public Affairs Professor Ben Sasse Joins Center for Politics and Governance As Fellow


Professor Benjamin SasseAUSTIN, Texas – October 6, 2009 –Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs professor, Benjamin Sasse, has officially joined the LBJ School’s Center for Politics and Governance (CPG) as a Center for Politics and Governance Fellow.  Sasse, who recently served as Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will teach a number of courses for the Center and help develop new curriculum that support four initiatives of the Center that include effective governance, new media in politics, state politics and policy and public affairs communication.

“We are so pleased to welcome Professor Sasse to the Center,” said Veronica Vargas Stidvent, the Center’s Director.  “He will spearhead our curriculum and provide a unique expertise to enhance our programming.  With his public service experience and extensive background in health care policy, he can directly contribute to the current healthcare discussion.”

"I am delighted to be associated with the Center for Politics and Governance,” said Sasse. “We need more interdisciplinary centers that don't allow policy ideal discussions to become so abstract that political feasibility is forgotten. Similarly, we need more conversations about politics that remember that power is a means to other ends, rather than a sufficient goal itself. CPG is exactly that kind of vibrant, special place."

At HHS, Sasse led policy development and coordination, strategic planning, and research functions across the Department's eleven operating divisions. He primarily focused on Medicare, Medicaid, and the Food and Drug Administration.  His research on the politics and economics of American healthcare looks at efforts to modernize payment systems, to migrate from "paying for more" to "paying for better" in ways that will stimulate entrepreneurial innovation from doctors, hospitals, and adjacent industries. Previously, he served as a chief of staff in the U.S. House of Representatives and as the chief of staff of the Office of Legal Policy, the internal think-tank of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Educated at Harvard, Oxford, and St. John's, Sasse, a Nebraska native received his Ph.D. from Yale, where his dissertation on domestic politics during the Cold War won the Theron Rockwell Field (best dissertation) and the George Washington Egleston (history) Prizes. He writes regularly on health business issues for publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily.

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