Profile: Thomas Ricketts

Tom Ricketts has long supported the integration of geography and cartography with the analysis of health policy problems. The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research has partnered with the UNC Department of Geography in developing plans for regionalization of services in the state and nation, the analysis of utilization, and the determination of local shortages of practitioners. John Florin, Wil Gesler, Steven Walsh and Melinda Meade were willing mentors and collaborators with Ricketts and others at the Sheps Center on projects that developed standards for access and measures of underservice used in federal health policy. Ricketts has championed the use of geographic methods in the analysis of health services issues and has published a text to guide health services researchers as well as examples of its use in the health services literature. With funding from the US Bureau of Health Professions and the Office of Rural Health Policy, Tom and his staff are currently examining how physicians and surgeons change their practice locations over time and the course of their career. In earlier work, Tom found that the mobility of physicians is much greater than policy makers anticipated when they generated goals for programs that were intended to recruit and retain doctors in underserved places. Tom serves on the Institute of Medicine committee charged with making recommendations on Geographic Adjustments to Medicare Payments and is a member of the National Commission on Health Care Workforce. Both were established by the Affordable Care Act. He is currently on the Editorial Board of Health Place and is Editor of the North Carolina Medical Journal.

Tom may be contacted at February 2011. Dr. Thomas C. Ricketts, Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA — Health Services Researcher and Health Policy Analyst and Professor of Health Policy and Administration and Social Medicine. Tom’s expertise is in the translation of health services research into practical policy advice for practitioners and policy makers. He has worked for many years in collaboration with health geographers.