Legislative Education Initiative

About this Project

State legislatures across the country must make health policy and financing decisions regarding access to care, health status, and insurance coverage, all of which impact their constituents. The Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) has been offering objective information on health policy, financing, and insurance coverage to the Georgia General Assembly for two decades. Since 2008, GHPC has offered a unique legislative education initiative, applying systems thinking to state health policymaking.

Legislative Health Policy Certificate Program

The Legislative Health Policy Certificate Program (LHPCP) was designed by GHPC to prepare state legislators and staff to address the complex health issues before them. Members of the Georgia General Assembly completing three of the sessions receive a certificate from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and are recognized by their respective legislative body. The program consists of four sessions:

  • Evaluating Health Policy from a Systems Thinking Perspective: Why Health Matters to Our State
  • Health Financing: Challenges and Opportunities
  • Health Coverage, Access to Care, and Prevention
  • Special Health Topics (may include childhood obesity, behavioral health, Georgia’s trauma care system, and public health)

Advanced Health Policy Institute

GHPC created the Advanced Health Policy Institute in 2012 to further refine legislators’ skills in creating high-leverage solutions for adaptive health policy challenges. This two-part series is open to legislators and staff who previously attended the certificate program. Attendees received additional content information focused on:

  • Health care financing
  • Issue framing
  • Systems thinking
  • Conversational capacity
  • Leadership

To date more than 120 legislators and staff have attended the LHPCP and almost 40 of the participating legislators and staff have continued on to attend an Advanced Health Policy Institute session. The certificate program serves as a national model for encouraging legislators to engage in a broader, more systemic approach to health policymaking.



Meet the Researchers

Karen Minyard


Ph.D., Georgia State University
M.N., Medical College of Georgia
B.N., University of Virginia


Karen Minyard, Ph.D., has been director of the Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) since 2001 and is also a research professor with the Department of Public Management and Policy. Minyard connects the research, policy, and programmatic work of the center across issue areas including population health, health philanthropy, public and private health coverage, and the… more »

Leigh Alderman

Senior Research Associate

M.P.H., University of Washington, Seattle
J.D., California Western School of Law
B.S., Industrial Psychology, California State University


Leigh Alderman serves as senior advisor to the director of the Georgia Health Policy Center. She focuses on partnering with community stakeholders to address the determinants of health and equity, applying her expertise in strategic planning, health policy, systems thinking, and meeting design and facilitation.

Alderman leads the center’s Health in All Policies and Public Health… more »

Julia Martin

Research Associate I

M.P.H., Emory University
B.A., University of Washington


Julia Martin is a research associate I at the Georgia Health Policy Center. Her areas of expertise include global health, sexual and reproductive health, and qualitative methods.

Her current projects at the center include the Legislative Health Policy Certificate Program with Robert W. Woodruff Foundation support, which educates Georgia lawmakers on health policy issues.… more »