Hello, my name is Len Nichols. I direct the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics here at the College of Health and Human Services at George Mason. And I have the privilege of also serving on the board of AcademyHealth and therefore would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the world of AcademyHealth as you begin the Mason Chapter of Academy Health.
Basically what AcademyHealth is as you will learn from Tony, PJ, and others is a very interesting organization. Probably unique in American health policy because it combines the research wing that comes out of health services research -- and you know health services research spans medicine, nursing, economics, sociology, political science, health administration, everything that's going on in our world -- that research wing also is melded with a technical assistance group that provides policy advice and assistance to policy makers at the national, local, and state levels.
In addition, there's actually a public policy education role that AcademyHealth plays because AcademyHealth is often called upon by members of Congress and state legislatures to be a neutral broker. To bring information. To make, in essence, policy as evidence based as we hope healthcare will continue to become over time.
So it's an exciting time given the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the continuing, and maybe life-long, debates over America's forays into health reform. It's an exciting time to be starting a chapter. An exciting time, obviously, to be starting a career where you know your career will be incredibly valuable not only to yourself but also to your states and country.
So, welcome to the world of AcademyHealth. Welcome to the ability to contribute your knowledge to make policy better, and I look forward to working with you in the days and weeks to come.