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The discourse on healthcare policy has been ever-evolving, with discussions frequently centered around the improvement of systems that support the mobility and efficiency of healthcare professionals. A pivotal component driving these conversations is the need to refine physician licensure processes—and Dr. Darwyyn Deyo, an associate professor of economics at San José State University, IHS scholar, and research fellow at the Knee Regulatory Research Center, has been influential on the discourse of these important policies.

Deyo’s academic and professional journey—from a journalist to a professor and thought leader —provided her with a unique perspective and foundation, and upon that foundation, Deyo carries a drive to create a lasting influence in her field.

“I value individual choice. I value peace and prosperity. Pursuing peaceful cooperation that builds a more prosperous society, I think that’s a good thing to strive for. My focus areas, my choices, my research, are definitely motivated and driven by these types of values.”

Dr. Darwyyn Deyo

Shaping the trajectory of Deyo’s research and influence, the Institute for Humane Studies has been a fundamental pillar in Deyo’s career. “IHS has been wonderful (to me) with their support,” Deyo said.

Through participation at IHS events such as summer seminars, colloquia, and research discussions, Deyo was able to extend her network and participate in a dynamic exchange of ideas with a diverse group of scholars, leading to important professional collaborations. This engagement within the IHS network helped Deyo spark an early connection with fellow IHS scholar Dr. Alicia Plemmons, an assistant professor at West Virginia University and coordinator of the scope of practice at the Knee Center.

“It was attending an IHS event at the Southern Economic Association annual conference where I sat in on Deyo’s presentation. It was here I first heard her talk about her data and the work she’s doing with it. I sat there and said to myself: ‘this is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. This person’s so cool. I want to know more about what they do,’” Plemmons said, recalling one of her first interactions with Deyo. “From there, Darwyyn and I kept meeting at different IHS events, and that’s where we started working on a lot of different projects together.”

In the spirit of this collaboration, Deyo went on to partner with Plemmons, and Dr. Sriparna Ghosh, also a research affiliate at the Knee Center and IHS scholar, to finalize a pivotal study that builds on Deyo’s extensive research on occupational licensing and its intersection with healthcare policy reform.

“We want our work to have a lasting impact, to contribute to the betterment of society in a meaningful way.”

Dr. Darwyyn Deyo

Titled “The Impact of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) on Physician Practice Growth and Labor Mobility,” their study investigates the intricate balance between regulatory requirements and the practical implications of professional mobility within the medical field. The study employs a comprehensive analytical approach to dissect the effects of the IMLC. Utilizing a difference-in-difference methodology, Deyo’s findings demonstrate the subtle changes observed in physician behavior and practice expansion—with insightful glimpses provided by both state-level and border county-level analyses.

“Our study echoes the sentiment that the more we facilitate interstate practice, the more we enable efficient care delivery,” Deyo said.

The research showed that states adopting the IMLC experienced a notable increase in the practice locations of physicians, affirming the compacts’ role in championing labor mobility. These findings suggest that empowering professionals with greater autonomy, and less bureaucratic entanglement, can yield significant public health benefits. The IMLC demonstrates a centralized strategy to enhance physician outreach and service, and a commitment to the values of efficiency, individual agency, and market responsiveness within healthcare.

“It’s about identifying the barriers and incentives,” Deyo explains. “The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact serves as an alternative that may catalyze the growth of practices and facilitate physician mobility in novel ways.”

Deyo and her co-authors were able to take these findings one step further and were offered an opportunity to present at the 2023 Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission’s annual meeting. This provided Deyo with an invaluable platform to present their findings and directly interact with key stakeholders in the healthcare sector. Leaving a lasting impression on the commission, Deyo’s research is now featured on the IMCL website, and the utilization of her data within the organization is being used to counter critics and substantiate the organization’s impact.

The insights gleaned from Deyo’s extensive research, and her ability to straddle various domains of expertise, shine a light on the significant benefits that can be derived from the dynamic academic community that IHS fosters and supports. Her collaborative work within the IHS network of scholars, and her commitment to furthering research and discourse in her field, personifies the spirit of intellectual inquiry and open dialogue. Deyo stands as a testament to the transformative power of collaboration and the enduring impact it can have on shaping academic discourse and fostering meaningful change.

“We really value the idea of not just producing research for the sake of research, but for it to actually make an impact,” said Deyo.

Scholars like Darwyyn Deyo demonstrate an invaluable commitment to exploring the intersections of policy, practice, and academia. To learn more about how you can support innovative research like Deyo’s and the quest for advancements that resonate in both healthcare and society at large, visit

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