An investigator in health systems analysis and health policy, Dr. Sochalski studies gaps in the U.S. health care system and how policy solutions are devised and implemented to fill them. She also studies the impact – intended and unintended – of health policy decisions. She is particularly interested in how nurses and other health care professionals are best deployed to achieve optimal population health.
She is recognized as a national and international expert in health policy and the health care workforce. From 2010-2013, Dr. Sochalski directed the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Division of Nursing and was its principal advisor for health workforce policy, overseeing a $250 billion budget. She directed interagency initiatives that promoted research and program innovations to build a right-sized, well-skilled, and effectively-deployed health care workforce.
Dr. Sochalski is now investigating the impact of nurse practitioners working to the extent of their practice authority in the Veterans Administration health system, the nation’s largest employer of nurse practitioners. Her study, funded by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, includes 6,000 nurse practitioners in urban and rural clinics and health centers in all 50 states. She expects the data to shed light on a perennial question: whether care is less costly when nurse practitioners are allowed to practice to the full extent of their licensure, and whether and how patients benefit.
Dr. Sochalski received her MS and PhD degrees from the University of Michigan, focusing on Health Economics, Public Policy, and Public Health nursing.