For Immediate Release | January 26, 2012


Jill Braunstein at (202) 452-8097

WASHINGTON, DC—The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) is pleased to announce Karen Tani as winner of the 20th Annual John Heinz Dissertation Award.  Tani wrote her dissertation, “Securing a Right to Welfare: Public Assistance Administration and the Rule of Law, 1935-1965,” while she was a doctoral student in History at the University of Pennsylvania.  The dissertation was nominated for the award by Thomas Sugrue, Professor of History and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.    

The award, which includes a $2,500 prize, will be presented at a reception during the National Academy of Social Insurance’s 24th Annual Conference on January 26, 2012 in Washington, DC. The Teresa and John Heinz Fund of the Heinz Family Foundation support the award.  

An honorable mention was awarded to John Graves for his dissertation, “The Evolving Dynamics of Health Insurance Under State and Federal Reform,” written while he was a doctoral student in Health Policy at Harvard University. His thesis was nominated by Katherine Swartz, Professor of Health Economics and Policy, Harvard School of Public Health and Jonathan Gruber, Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The John Heinz Dissertation Award is issued in honor of Senator John Heinz. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, he helped chart the Social Security rescue effort in 1983 and worked tirelessly to insulate the Social Security Trust Funds from the rest of the Federal budget. John Heinz was a leading expert in the Senate on private pensions and health care and aging policy.  He was a member of the Academy’s Board of Advisors from the organization’s inception in 1986.  On naming the award, Robert M. Ball, Founding Chair, said, “John Heinz was a leading proponent of Social Security with a true appreciation of the value of social insurance principles in developing public policy. He was a true supporter of the National Academy of Social Insurance and contributed importantly to its objectives.” The National Academy of Social Insurance is privileged to award this prize in his honor.

The award selection committee is chaired by Christine Bishop of Brandeis University with members:  Rashi Fein of Harvard Medical School, Jim Morone of Brown University, Courtney Coile of Wellesley College, and Madonna Harrington Meyer of Syracuse University.

NASI will soon be accepting nominations for the 2013 Heinz Award. To obtain application forms and additional information visit the student opportunities section of

The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation’s leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to advance solutions to challenges facing the nation by increasing public understanding of how social insurance contributes to economic security.

See related news: News About NASI

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