Fall 2011 Lecture Series: Plural Perspectives on Health and Health Policy

Start: Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 8:15 am

End: Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 8:45 am

George Pearl Hall Auditorium, UNM School of Architecture, Room 101


RWJF Center for Health Policy
Fall 2011 Lecture Series

"Plural Perspectives on Health and Health Policy"


Why Does "Good" Social Science Go Unused in Policymaking?  A Contrarian Perspective.


Kenneth Prewitt, PhD
Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs and Vice-President for Global Centers
Columbia University

Thursday, September 8, 2011 2:15 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
George Pearl Hall Auditorium
UNM School of Architecture, Room 101


Kenneth Prewitt is the Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs and the Vice-President for Global Centers at Columbia University. Among his many professional contributions: as Senior Vice President of the Rockefeller Foundation; Director of the National Opinion Research Center; President of the Social Science Research Council; and Director of the United States Census Bureau (for the 2000 Census).  He taught Political Science at the University of Chicago from 1965 to 1982, and for shorter periods was on the faculty of several universities in the U.S. and Africa.  Prof. Prewitt is also a fellow of several prestigious organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science,


The idea that social science should be in the service of social betterment and assistance to policymaking dates to the early 19th century. Almost since then, scholars who believe they are doing policy-relevant research have complained at being ignored, saying that politics and ideology too often trump science.  Policymakers, in turn, lament that research is equivocal, hard to understand, and not attuned to the practical realities of the policymaking world.   The way out of this conundrum involves joining a “science of social consequences” with a “science of policy claims” as they appear in policy argumentation.

This presentation will:

  • Summarize why a “policy enterprise” emerged in the second half of the 20th century.
  • Discuss the implications for how we need to understand when, and even whether, social science knowledge is useful to the policy process. 


RWJF Center for Health Policy
The RWJF Center for Health Policy is the only health policy center dedicated to increasing the number of leaders from Latino and American Indian communities helping to shape the future of our nation’s health and health care. A collaboration of the University of New Mexico and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the RWJF Center for Health Policy focuses on inserting the perspectives of Latino, American Indian and other underrepresented groups into the most pressing health policy debates today.
Accreditation: The University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Office of Continuing Medical Education is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The Office of Continuing Medical Education designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Nursing Accreditation: This activity is approved for 1.0 contact hours by the University of New Mexico Office of Continuing Medical Education, an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the New Mexico Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Per the criteria for approval from the New Mexico Nurses Association, participants who are requesting nursing credit must attend the entire lecture to obtain the certificate of credit.
For more information contact the Center at 505-277-0130 or center@unm.edu or at our Web site http://healthpolicy.unm.edu.