Competition to feature undergraduate public policy proposals for health care services

Fifteen undergraduate finalist teams representing 12 universities and colleges from around the country will present their policy proposals on how best to address the costs, coverage and quality of health care in the U.S. at the Baker Institute Student Forum (BISF)’s inaugural public policy conference and competition Sept. 21 at Rice University. BISF is the student arm of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

The competition winners will be announced at a 7-8:30 p.m. public reception in Baker Hall’s Doré Commons. The reception will feature a keynote speech by Dr. Clarence James “C.J.” Peters, the John Sealy Distinguished University Chair in Tropical and Emerging Virology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Peters is also a professor in the departments of Microbiology and Immunology and Pathology and director for biodefense at UTMB’s Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases. The announcement of the winners and Peters’ address will be followed by a poster session and dessert.

Judging the proposals at a closed morning session will be Peters and Houston-based health care and public policy experts Elena Marks, the Baker Institute’s scholar in health policy and former director of health and environmental policy for the city of Houston, and Dr. Peter Hotez, the Baker Institute’s fellow in disease and poverty and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

The top three winners will receive cash prizes and publication of their papers in The Rice Cultivator, BISF’s undergraduate public policy journal. During the conference, all 15 teams will discuss their work with Baker Institute fellows, tour the Texas Medical Center and meet with representatives from government, business, medical institutions and not-for-profit organizations.

The universities and colleges represented are Arizona State University, City University of New York’s Queens College, Georgetown University, Howard University, Rice University, St. Olaf College, Stanford University, Texas A&M University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Florida, Vanderbilt and Yale.

This event is supported by Harris County Hospital System, Texas Children’s Hospital, UTMB, Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative, TPG, Charles Landgraf, James Turley, Robert Meister, Kevin Pasha, Max and Desiree Blankfeld, Albert and Anne Chao, Ruchir Shah, James Joseph Barnes, Rice’s School of Social Sciences and the Baker Institute Health Policy Forum.

To view the competition description, visit

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.