Caitlin McMurtry

Caitlin McMurtry

PhD Candidate in Health Policy (G6, Political Analysis)

Caitlin McMurtry is a sixth-year PhD candidate in Health Policy at Harvard University, focusing on Political Analysis. Broadly, her research examines the ways in which policies and politics interact to affect health, governance, and democracy in the United States. Her job market paper uses a meta-analysis of archival survey data to examine historical trends in political polarization during disease outbreaks. Her dissertation also combines geospatial and econometric techniques to estimate the causal effect of televised political advertisements on voting for health-related ballot initiatives and examines the impact of state-level changes in firearm policy on homicides and suicides.


Caitlin works as a Research Fellow at the Harvard Opinion Research Program, where she designs and analyzes public opinion surveys for the CDC, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers (ASTHO), Politico, NPR, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Her research has appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, Milbank Quarterly, and Health Services Research, receiving coverage in the Washington Post and on NPR. Additionally, Caitlin's work as a teaching fellow (for six courses in health policy, political strategy, and statistical methods) has earned her a distinction in teaching award from Harvard College and the Dean's Award for Excellence in Student Teaching from Harvard Kennedy School.


Caitlin graduated with honors from Carleton College in 2009 with a BA in Sociology and Anthropology. She also holds a SM in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she was a George Gund Fellow. Before joining the PhD program, Caitlin conducted research on state-level public health and health policy topics and briefed state lawmakers on the implications of her findings at the Kansas Health Institute in Topeka. She also worked for the Unified Government of Kansas City, Kansas and Wyandotte County to help establish and run a community health coalition, funded by RWJF as a “national learning laboratory.” In 2014, Caitlin interned in the U.S. Senate for a member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. For more information, please see her personal website at



Year in Program

Dissertation Committee Member