George E. Wright, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Retired
University of Washington
Email: gwright@fammed.washington.edu Discipline: Economics, Health Services Research Expertise: Health Services Research, Organization of Care, Rural Health Care

Investigator Award
Rural Models for American Health Care: Is Our Problem the Solution?
Award Year: 2001 Rural health care is often viewed solely as a perennial problem and the object of special needs. This study takes a different perspective many rural communities have also developed cost-effective, primary care-oriented, high-quality models that deserve careful attention. They represent America's homegrown alternative to the consolidation of health services and institutions, and to what patients often perceive as increasingly impersonal care. The investigators will test these assertions by reviewing the evidence on cost, quality, and system performance across rural areas from the viewpoint of strengths rather than weaknesses. By using small area analysis of rural health care to re-examine existing surveys, Drs. Wright and Moscovice will identify high performance systems and examine their generally lower costs. Three detailed case studies of successful models will be developed to help policymakers and administrators better understand the sources and small-scale difficulties of effective rural health care. Findings will enable the investigators to highlight lessons for improving service delivery in rural as well as urban America.

Background

Building on a master's degree and further graduate work in Middle Eastern Area Studies, George Wright received a Ph.D. in economic development from the University of Michigan, with a dissertation on the regional dynamics of growth in Iran. He subsequently moved into health economics and worked in private sector research. Dr. Wright was a senior health economist at SysteMetrics and then at Mathematica Policy Research, where he directed numerous studies and program evaluations for the Federal government involving rural health care. In 1996-7 he was a Fulbright Scholar teaching health policy, health economics, and economic development in Tashkent Uzbekistan, before moving to the University of Washington. Dr. Wright has been a consultant to the World Bank and AID contractors on health policy in Central Asia. Dr. Wright is Associate Professor Retired, WWAMI Rural Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle