Kelly P. McCarrier


DISSERTATION FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENT: 2008-09

Kelly McCarrier, MPH, Ph.C, has a Masters in Public Health from the University of Arizona and received his Ph.D from the Department of Health Services at the University of Washington in 2009. Kelly's prior experience includes projects in the areas of health promotion research, program evaluation, and public opinion research, performed with a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Before beginning his doctoral studies, he served as an evaluation research fellow with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, focusing on tuberculosis prevention education efforts among recent immigrants to the United States.


WCPC Funded Project:

Examining the health-related effects of state-level minimum wage policies
Faculty Supervisor Diane P. Martin, Ph.D, Department of Health Sciences.

While the economic impacts of minimum wage policy have been thoroughly researched, little empirical evidence exists to quantify the purported health effects of such policies on covered workers.

This dissertation seeks to develop a stronger understanding of the health-related effects of minimum wage policies by exploring the relationship between state-level minimum wage laws and access to health care. Using datasets constructed primarily from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and the Area Resource File, McCarrier will conduct two complimentary analyses to address the research question. The first analysis employs multi-level regression models to examine cross-sectional associations between state minimum wage policy and healthcare access at the level of individual workers while controlling for potential confounding factors at the individual, county, and state levels. The second analytic approach employs BRFSS data aggregated to the population level to examine longitudinal trends and assess the health-related impact of changes in minimum wage policy over the 10-year period between 1997 and 2006.

Preliminary analyses of cross-sectional data from 2004 indicates that low-skilled workers living in states with minimum wage standards in excess of the federal limit had significantly lower odds of being uninsured or reporting an inability to receive needed medical care because of cost. Completion of analysis with refined cross-sectional models and additional longitudinal analyses will further evaluate the rationale for using minimum wage policy as a possible mechanism to improve health care access and population health.

See the February 2011 article "Associations Between Minimum Wage Policy and Access to Health Care: Evidence From the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 1996–2007" co-authored by Kelly in the American Journal of Public Health here.