Patricia (Polly) Pittman

Patricia (Polly) Pittman

Patricia (Polly) Pittman


Professor of Health Policy and Management, Director Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity

Full-time Faculty

School: Milken Institute School of Public Health

Department: Health Policy and Management


2175 K Street Ste. 250 - Room 205 Washington DC 20052

Patricia (Polly) Pittman is the Fitzhugh Mullan Professor of Health Workforce Equity at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University. As director of the  Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity, Dr. Pittman has built an extensive research enterprise focusing on policies that enable the health workforce to better address health equity, including protecting the labor rights of health workers. Her current portfolio includes directing an HRSA-supported Health Workforce Research Center and several foundation-supported grants. Trained in medical anthropology and public health, she works with interdisciplinary teams in mixed methods designs. She has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and has served as PI on over 40 research grants relating to health workforce policy. These most recently include a background paper commissioned by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) for the new National Academies of Medicine Committee on Nursing 2020-2030. She teaches Health Workforce Policy.

Before joining the Department of Health Policy in 2010, she taught comparative health systems at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and served as Executive Vice President of AcademyHealth. Over the years, she has worked as a consultant on health systems research for the Pan American Health Organization, WHO’s Tropical Disease Research Program, World Bank, Johns Hopkins University, and multiple foundations. In the early part of her career, she lived in Argentina, where she worked in human rights and later as the Director of Social Programs for the Province of Buenos Aires.

Healthcare Workforce

Access to Health Care

Health Professions

Health Policy

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Johns Hopkins University, Department of Health Policy and Management, Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2004

Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology, University of Buenos Aires, 2002

Residency in International Health, Pan American Health Organization, 1995

Diploma in Public Health, School of Public Health, University of Buenos Aires, 1989

Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Yale University, 1980

PubH 6399.17: Health Workforce Policy

PubH 6320: Advanced Health Policy Analysis

PubH 6015.16: Health Policy Capstone

PubH 6442: Comparative Health System (Fall 2011)

Professor Pittman chairs the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Health Policy Advisory Committee. She is a member of UnitedHealth Group’s Center to Advance Clinicians External Advisory Board. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the peer review journal Health in Human Research.  

Director, Fitzugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity

Professor Pittman’s research focuses on migration of health workers and health workforce policies in the United States.

Luo E, Dor E, Pittman P. Optimal Staffing for Quality Outcomes in Community Health Centers. Health Services Research. First published 08 October 2020.

Pittman P, Bass E, Luo E, Park J Understanding Why Nurse Practitioner (NP) and Physician Assistant (PA) Productivity Varies Across Community Health Centers (CHCs): A Comparative Qualitative Analysis, under review by Medical Care Research Review 1 (12) 2020. DOI: 10.1177/1077558720960893

Dor A,Delhi R, Pittman P. The Impact of Nursing Assistive Personnel on Patient Satisfaction Outcomes. Medical Care Research and Review. 1 (12) 2020

Park J, Han X, Pittman P. Does expanded state scope of practice for nurse practitioners and physician assistants increase primary care utilization in community health centers? J Am Assoc Nurse Pract. 2020 Jun;32(6):447-458. doi: 10.1097/JXX.0000000000000263.

Chen C. Pittman P., Westergaard S., Salsberg E., Erikson C. Emerging Health Workforce Strategies to Address COVID-19. Health Affairs Blog, April 20, 2020.

Fraher E, Pittman P, Frogner BK, Spetz J, Moore J, Armstrong D, Buerhaus P.  Ensuring and Sustaining a Pandemic Workforce. New England Journal of Medicine. April 8, 2020
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2006376

Han X, Chen C, Pittman P, Use of Temporary Primary Care Providers in Federally Qualified Health Centers. The Journal of Rural Health. .May 1, 2020

Frogner B, Fraher E, Pittman P, Spetz J, Moore J, Armstrong D, Buerhaus PModernizing Scope-of-Practice Regulations — Time to Prioritize Patients. New England Journal of Medicine. 2020;382;7: 591-593

Pittman P, Pulver A. Unethical International Nurse-Staffing Agencies — The Need for Legislative Action. New England Journal of Medicine.2020. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1913727

Han, X, Pittman, P, Erikson C, Mullan F, Ku L. The Role of the National Health Service Corps Clinicians in Enhancing Staffing and Patient Care Capacity in Community Health Centers Medical Care. 2019;12: 1002–1007.

Pittman P. Rising to the Challenge: Re-embracing the Wald Model of Nursing at the Intersection of Medicine and Society. American Journal of Nursing. 2019;119(7): 46-52.

Pittman PActivating Nurses to Address Unmet Needs in the 21st CenturyRobert Wood Johnson Foundation. Princeton, NJ. March 12, 2019.

Pittman P, Bass E, Han X, Kurtzman E. The Growth and Performance of Nursing Programs by Ownership StatusJournal of Nursing Regulation. 2019; 9(4):5-21.

Park J, Wu X, Frogner B, Pittman PDoes the Patient-Centered Medical Home Model Change Staffing and Utilization in the Community Health CentersMedical Care. 2018. doi: 10.1097/MLR.000000000000965

Pittman P, Han X, Li S. Clinical Non-Licensed Support Personnel in US Hospitals: Job Trends from 2010 to 2015Nursing Outlook. 2017; doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2017.06.014.

Erikson C, Pittman P, LaFrance A, Chapman S. Alternative Payment Models Lead to Strategic Care Coordination Workforce InvestmentsNursing Outlook. 2017; 65(4):1-9.

Li S, Pittman P, Han X, Martin J, Lowe T, Davidson K. Nurse-Related Clinical Non-Licensed Personnel in U.S. Hospitals and their Relationship with Nurse Staffing Levels: Jobs Trends 2010-2014Health Services Research. 2017;52(1):422-436.

Frogner B, Wu X, Park J, Pittman P. The Association of Electronic Health Record Adoption with Staffing Mix in Community Health CentersHealth Services Research. 2017;52(1):407-421.

Malcarney M, Pittman P, Quigley L, Horton K, Seiler N. The Changing Roles of Community Health WorkersHealth Services Research. 2017;52(1):360-382.

Frogner B, Pittman P, Masselink L, Ku L. Do Years of Experience with EHRs Matter for Productivity in Community Health CentersJournal of Ambulatory Care. 2017;40(1):36–47

Pittman P, Scully-Russ E. Health Workforce Planning and Development in Times of System Transformation: The Cases of Two Leading Health Systems. Health and Human Resources. 2016;14-56.

Pittman P, Masselink L, Bade L. Frogner B, Ku L. Factors Determining Medical Staff Configurations in Community Health Centers: CEO PerspectivesJournal of Healthcare Management. 2016;61(5):364-377

Pittman P, Salmon ME. Advancing Nursing Enterprises: A Cross-Country ComparisonNursing Outlook. 2016;64(1):24-32.

Pittman P, Forrest E. The changing roles of registered nurses in Pioneer Accountable Care OrganizationsNursing Outlook. 2015. DOI:

Pittman PAlternative Approaches to the Governance of Transnational Labor RecruitmentInternational Migration Review. 2015;1(46):93-99.

Pittman P, Bass E, Hargraves J, Herrera C, Thompson P. The Future of Nursing: Monitoring the Progress of Recommended Changes in Hospitals, Home Care and Hospice, and Nurse-Led Clinics. JONA. 2015;45(2):93-99.

Ku L, Frogner B, Steinmetz E, Pittman P. Community Health Centers Employ Diverse Staffing Patterns, Which Can Provide Productivity Lessons For Medical Practices. Health Affairs. 2015;34(1):95-103.

Pittman P, Frogner B, Bass E, Dunham C. International Recruitment of Allied Health Professionals to the U.S. Journal of Allied Health. 2014;43(2):79-87.

Pittman P, Kurtzman E, Johnson J. Academic Progression Models in Nursing: Design Decisions Faced by Administrators in Four Case StudiesJournal of Nursing Education. 2014;53(6):329-335.

Pittman P, Horton K, Terry M., Bass E. Residency Programs for Home Health and Hospice Nurses: Prevalence, Barriers, and Potential Policy ResponsesHome Health Care Management & Practice. 2014;26(2):86-91. 

Pittman P, Shaffer F, Davis C, Herrera C. Perceptions of Employment-Based Discrimination of Newly Arrived Foreign-Educated NursesAmerican Journal of Nursing. 2014;114(1):38-47.

Pittman P, Herrera C, Horton K, Thompson P, Ware J, Terry M. Health Care Employers’ Policies on Nurse EducationJournal of Healthcare Management. 2013;58(6):399-411.

Pittman P, Herrera C, Bass E, Thompson P. Residency Programs for New Nurse Graduates: How widespread are they and what are the primary obstacles to further adoptionJournal of Nursing Administration. 2013;43(11):597-602.

Pittman P. Nursing Workforce Education, Migration, and the Quality of Health Care: A Global ChallengeInternational Journal for Quality in Health Care. 2013;25(4):1-3.

Pittman P, William B. Physician Wages in States with Expanded APRN Scope of PracticeNursing Research and Practice. 2012; Article ID 671974, 5 pages.

Pittman P, Herrera C, Spetz J, Davis CImmigration and Contract Problems Experienced by Foreign-Educated NursesMedical Care Research and Review. 2012;69(3):351-365.

Pittman PHealth Services Research in 2020: Data and Methods Needs for the FutureHealth Services Research. 2010;45(5):1431-1441.

Pittman P, Folsom A, Bass E. U.S.-Based Recruitment of Foreign-Educated Nurses: Implications of an Emerging IndustryAmerican Journal of Nursing. 2010;110(6): 38-48.

Pittman P, Holve E. The Health Services Researcher of 2020: A Summit to Assess the Fields' Workforce NeedsHealth Services Research.2009;44(6):2198-2213.

Waters H, Hobart J, Forrest C, Siemens K, Pittman P, Murthy A, et al. Health Insurance Coverage in Central and Eastern Europe: Trends and ChallengesHealth Affairs. 2008;27(2):478-486.

Pittman P, Aiken LH, Buchan J. International Migration of Nurses: IntroductionHealth Services Research. 2007;42(3):1275-1280.

Pittman PBeyond the Sound of One Hand Clapping: Experiences in Six Countries Using Health Equity Research in PolicyJournal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. 2006;31(1).

Pittman P, Arnold SB, Schlette S. Care Management in Germany and the U.S.: An Expanded LaboratoryHealth Care Financing Review. 2005;27(1):9-19.

Croghan T, Pittman P. Our Medicine Cabinet: What’s in it, Why and Can we Change itHealth Affairs. 2004;23(1):23-33.

Pittman P, Rodriguez P, Blatt G. Impact Assessment of Health Workers for Change; A Quality of Care Intervention in Avellaneda, ArgentinaHealth Policy and Planning. 2001;16:40-46.

Ouma W, Laisser R, Mbilima M, Araoye M, Pittman P, Agyepong I, et al. An evaluation of Health Workers for Change in seven settings: a useful management and health system development toolHealth Policy and Planning. 2001;16:40-46.

Pittman P. Gendered Experiences of Health Care. International Journal of Quality on Health Care. 1999;11(5):397-405.

Pittman P. Necesidades de atención de hombres y mujeres con diabetes e hipertensión (Health Care Needs of Men and Women with Diabetes and Hypertension). Revista Mujer y Salud. 1998;4:53-57.

Pittman P and Hartigan P. Gender Inequity: An Issue for Quality Assessment Researchers and ManagersHealth Care for Women International. 1996;17:469-486.

Pittman P and Hartigan P. Calidad de Atención y la perspectiva de género, Revista Mujer y Salud. 1995; No.3-4:19-24.