Caitlin McMurtry (she/they) combines theories and methods from public health, economics, and political science to examine the politics of health in the United States. Their current research focuses on the magnitude and origins of political polarization during disease outbreaks, the causes and consequences of firearm deregulation, experiences of discrimination among Asian Americans, and the role of state ballot initiatives in health policy. Broadly, they aim to understand how public opinion and political processes affect health and inequity (and vice versa) in the U.S.
Their experience working with officials in government sharpened McMurtry's focus on the need for timely, actionable research that is easily understandable to policymakers and the public. Before graduate school, McMurtry spent four years in Kansas conducting public health research and translating findings for state legislators as well as helping to establish, fund, and run a community health coalition in Wyandotte County. During graduate school, McMurtry interned in the U.S. Senate and joined a team of researchers conducting rapid-response COVID-19 research for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
McMurtry’s research has appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Family Medicine, Milbank Quarterly, and Health Services Research, receiving coverage in the Washington Post and on NPR. They have also received several teaching awards, including the Dean's Award for Excellence in Student Teaching from Harvard Kennedy School in 2020.
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