Ohio Legislator Promoting Public Health Policies Has GW Pedigree

February 20, 2019

In the weeks since Allison Russo, DrPH, MPH began her tenure as a state representative in the 133rd Ohio General Assembly, she has been tapped to serve on the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee, the Health Committee, and the Aging and Long-term Care Committee—not to mention a few others.

“Some of the health policy issues that will be a priority for me during this term are protecting the integrity of Ohio’s Medicaid and Medicaid expansion programs and advancing policies that enable aging in place,” says Russo, who earned her DrPH in health policy from the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) in 2014. “Protecting patients against surprise medical bills, expanding access to quality reproductive health services, and combating Ohio's opioid epidemic are also priorities.”

Russo “is perfectly suited to take on the health issues of Ohio and to be a policy leader there,” says Susan Wood, PhD, the Milken Institute SPH Department of Health Policy and Management professor who served as Russo’s dissertation chair. “Not only is she an outstanding health policy researcher and expert, she is an excellent colleague. She has the abilities needed to work very effectively in a legislature, as well.”

Russo’s DrPH dissertation research focused on examining some of the variation in procedures used to diagnose breast lesions in women, with the goal of identifying ways to improve the quality and safety of health care. “She developed the expertise to identify key health policy questions and to analyze available information and data in order to be able to recommend policy change,” Wood says.

Russo has spent nearly two decades as a public health policy consultant advising government leaders and policymakers on issues related to the healthcare financing and care delivery needs of seniors, vulnerable populations, veterans, and military families. She is the Policy Research Director for Kennell and Associates, a public policy consulting firm. There, she leads projects related to healthcare payment and delivery reform, the evaluation of healthcare quality improvement initiatives, and the analysis of policies affecting healthcare costs and utilization for various agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense’s Military Health System. Russo previously held senior project management and research roles at Truven Health Analytics and SAIC.

In her free time, Russo is a passionate advocate for women and families. She currently serves on the Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of Central Ohio, and she is the creator of the Girls Who Lead after-school program for pre-teen girls. She is also an advocate and guest writer for the Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network, where she has written about the impact of federal and state policy on the health and economic security of Ohio’s families and communities.