Kay A. Johnson Ed.M., M.P.H.

Research Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Dartmouth Medical School
Email: kay.johnson@johnsongci.com Discipline: Health Policy Expertise: Child Health

Investigator Award
Children's Health Policy: Actors, Issues, and Process
Award Year: 1998 This project analyzes how the process of policymaking has shaped children's health policy in the U.S. during the last 20 years. Using analytic models derived from political science literature, it examines and compares the origins, history, and fate of seven major proposals to expand child health services or financing. These include Medicaid expansion, children's health insurance, immunization, school-based clinics, definitions of childhood disability, and home visiting. The major research questions are: 1) how has the process of policymaking shaped policy outcomes in child health? and 2) what are the implications for future policy directions? After better understanding the roles of key actors, their interactions, and the broader political and social environment in which they occurred, the investigators will describe conditions that may help assure the success of future efforts to increase access, and recommend effective advocacy strategies. This work adds crucial political and policy process analysis to the current body of information about financing and delivery of child health services.


Kay Johnson is co-director of Project THRIVE at NCCP and has been a leader in MCH policy developments for more than 20 years. Since 1998, she has been president of the Johnson Consulting Group, which provides policy research, process facilitation, and case studies on child health policy and financing issues. She is a widely sought after consultant at both the state level and at the national level across a wide array of issues from oral health to fetal alcohol guidelines to a review of state approaches to the oversight of integrated health systems and managed care. She is often called upon to facilitate conversations across multiple stakeholders. As an associate research professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Dartmouth College, she was supported by an Investigator Award in Health Policy from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with Alice Sardell to study MCH Policy. Previously, she worked as a Senior Research Staff Scientist at the George Washington University, and as National Policy Director for the March of Dimes. She has advised national projects, including the Commonwealth ABCD II project on healthy mental development and several IOM committees and panels and has chaired the MCH Section of the American Public Health Association. Ms. Johnson holds a Master's in public health in maternal and child health from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a Master's in education in child development from the State University of New York, Buffalo.