Getting to Know You: Ishtiaque Fazlul

The College of Public Health has welcomed three new faculty this fall. Join us as we get to know Lucy Annang Ingram, Ishtiaque Fazlul and Melissa Howard! Next, we meet Ishtiaque Fazlul, Ph.D., who joined the Department of Health Policy and Management (HPAM) as an assistant professor, with a joint appointment in the UGA School of Policy and International Affairs (SPIA).

An applied microeconomist, Dr. Fazul’s research evaluates how policies and institutions affect health and education and explores ways of better measuring policy-relevant variables in these fields.

What brought you to the field of public health?

I am interested in how policies and institutions affect human health and wellbeing, and the field of public health is a natural fit for my research interests. I am an applied microeconomist by training and I use experimental and quasi-experimental causal inference techniques to evaluate what works. I found my skill set to be especially applicable in public policy and public health.

What excites you or motivates you about being in the classroom and your research?

Policy relevance and impact motivates me in research. I am generally interested in topics that are relevant and very much in the public discourse. For example, my research interests include evaluating the effect of the Affordable Care Act and its various components, developing a better measurement of K-12 student poverty for efficient school finance, and evaluating the effect of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus on healthcare access, utilization, and disparity.

For me the most exciting part of teaching is the connection with students at an intellectual level. I find a well-done class where students actively participate and the content “clicks” exhilarating.  While research can be exciting, it can also be a long process with milestones that are few and far between. The satisfaction from teaching is more immediate and I enjoy that immensely.

How have you partnered with communities to improve health? Is there service or outreach work you’d like to do in Athens or Georgia?

I am a believer in community partnerships and collaborations in my research. In previous positions, I have worked in partnership with 4 large school districts in the metro Atlanta area for my work on Advanced Placement, Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) for my Pre-K project, and Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for my student poverty measurement project. These collaborations and partnerships ensure that the research questions I ask are policy-relevant and address real questions asked by practitioners. It also ensures access to restricted data that would otherwise be off-limits.

I would like to continue my existing partnerships with metro Atlanta school districts in answering policy relevant questions around health and K-12 education. I am interested in developing new partnerships in Georgia to study healthcare access, utilization, health outcome, and disparity of Georgia residents.

What are you looking forward to this Fall semester?

Making meaningful connections and research collaborations in my two schools – CPH and SPIA. Also, getting to know my students in the DrPH program at HPAM.

And a few fun rapid-fire questions —
  • Go-to road trip snack? Kettle Cooked unsalted potato chips.
  • Coffee or tea order? Double shot cappuccino.
  • One TV show or podcast you can’t stop talking about? The podcast, “The Soundtrack Show.”

Posted on September 7, 2023.