For Immediate Release | January 30, 2015


Jill Braunstein at (202) 452-8097

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Academy of Social Insurance is pleased to announce Maria Polyakova as winner of the 22nd Annual John Heinz Dissertation Award. Polyakova wrote her dissertation, "Regulation of Public Health Insurance" while she was a doctoral student in Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The dissertation was nominated for the award by Amy Finkelstein, Ford Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, also at MIT and a Heinz dissertation award winner herself in 2002.

The award, which includes a $2,500 prize, will be presented at the membership luncheon during the Academy’s 27th Annual Conference on January 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Teresa and John Heinz Fund of the Heinz Family Foundation supports the award.

An honorable mention was awarded to Michel Boudreaux for his dissertation, "The Long-Term Effects of Exposure to Medicaid in Early Childhood," written while he was a doctoral student in Health Services Research, Policy, and Administration at the University of Minnesota. His thesis was nominated by Ezra Golberstein, Assistant Professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management, at the University of Minnesota.

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 reforms in 1983 and worked tirelessly to insulate the Social Security Trust Funds from the rest of the Federal budget. 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 founders 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. The National Academy of Social Insurance is privileged to award this prize in his honor.”

The award selection committee was chaired by Christine Bishop of Brandeis University, and included: Jason Barabas of Stony Brook University, Courtney Coile of Wellesley College, Madonna Harrington Meyer of Syracuse University, and Jeffrey Wenger of RAND Corporation.

The Academy will soon be accepting nominations for the 2016 Heinz Award. To obtain application forms and additional information, visit the “student opportunities section” of

The National Academy of Social Insurance is a non-profit, 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: Medicare and Health Policy

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