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Daniel Skinner, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Health Policy
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Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine

Areas of Expertise

Expert Bio

“People are sometimes surprised to learn that a political scientist is on faculty at a medical school,” Skinner said. “But politics is at the heart of the policy process, and shapes everything from how professional relationships are formed to changes in our health care system. We need to be politically astute to make good policy, and we need physicians to be involved in these decisions.”

Skinner teaches a range of subjects, from the nuts and bolts of Medicaid, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act, to more recent questions about cost, access, and quality in American health care, including in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. His teaching often emphasizes the challenges of navigating a political culture that is often at odds with what we know about best practices for delivering high quality health care to more and more Americans, as well as the complexity of the American health care system itself, which has a long history that is difficult to simply rework.

Skinner oversees a required rotation that teaches fourth-year medical and other health professions students about the foundations of health care policy and politics, and co-directs the osteopathic profession’s national health policy fellowship, which trains mid-career osteopathic medical professionals about policy formulation, development, and advocacy. This experience has informed his understanding of how medical education, residency, and professional practice shape health professionals’ understanding of policy. He is currently writing a book on the history of physician advocacy and activism.

Skinner provides a level-headed, balanced approach to policy in the political arena and can speak expertly on many topics, including the successes of--but also challenges presented by--the Affordable Care Act; the prospect of establishing a national health care system; the politics of American hospitals; and the role of physicians in policy, from climate change to reproductive health care. He is also deeply engaged in health policy within Ohio, and can speak to a wide range of topics and controversies.

Skinner has significant professional experience in political communication, both as a consultant on political campaigns and as a scholar, which has led him to emphasize the importance of effective messaging and rhetorical strategy in health politics and policy, and public health.

Prior to joining Ohio University, Skinner taught at Capital University in Ohio, Ramapo College of New Jersey, and City University of New York-Hunter College. He speaks regularly about health care and politics throughout North America and beyond, including as a Visiting Professor at Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary.

Skinner is Editor-in-Chief of World Medical & Health Policy, a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal; Co-Director of the Osteopathic Health Policy Fellowship, a national policy training program for osteopathic professionals; and Director of Ohio University’s Comparative Health Systems--Cuba program, in which Ohio University students travel to Cuba to learn about the Latin American country’s health care system. Skinner also hosts "Prognosis Ohio," a weekly podcast about health and health care in Ohio, affiliated with the Central Ohio NPR radio station, WCBE.

In addition to many peer-reviewed articles published in journals such as The Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law; The Journal of Rural Health; The Journal of Medical Humanities; The Review of Politics; and Public Administration Review, Skinner is author of Medical Necessity: Health Care Access and the Politics of Decision Making (University of Minnesota Press, 2019), co-editor (with Ohio University professor Berkeley Franz) of Not Far From Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio (Ohio State University Press, 2019), and author (with Franz and UMASS sociologist Jonathan R. Wynn) of The City and the Hospital: The Paradox of Medically Overserved Communities (University of Chicago Press, 2023). 

Skinner earned a Ph.D. and an M.A. in political science from City University of New York, The Graduate Center. 

Expertise at a Glance

Skinner is an expert in the Affordable Care Act, the politics of hospital-community relations, Medicaid, the opioid crisis, and social medicine. He emphasizes the political challenges of developing an accessible health care system for all Americans.

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