WIPPS names senior public policy fellow

A long-time public policy analyst joined WIPPS in May as a senior public policy fellow.

Sharon Belton will collaborate with experts across many fields and disciplines to apply research, analysis and project management skills to a wide variety of public policy areas.

Belton has been with the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) since 1996, serving as a senior public policy analyst since 2004. WCRI is a nonprofit research organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She will continue in this role while serving as WIPPS senior public policy fellow.

One of her first projects is a potential collaboration with a local nonprofit social service organization, other WIPPS staff and a UW-Marathon County faculty member to measure and track outcomes and longer-term impacts of their services. In another project, “we are exploring how WIPPS may contribute as a potential research and evaluation partner in a federal grant opportunity on education and school safety,” she said.

Belton is most excited to apply her research and analysis expertise in new policy areas. “I want to further the mission of WIPPS – not only in our region – but in communities statewide. On a personal level, I enjoy working with collaborative teams to think through issues, questions or problems; and then designing technically sound, credible research approaches to help provide objective, nonpartisan information. This will help the public better understand and inform on the issues.”

From 2001 to 2004, Belton was executive director of the Wausau Health Foundation. She also served as co-deputy director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s “Workers’ Compensation Health Initiative” during 2000 and 2001 at the University of Massachusetts Center for Health Policy and Research.

Dr. Belton has a Ph.D. in public policy analysis/political science from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a B.A. in international relations and French from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.

Wausau residents since 2001, she and her spouse, Austin, “cannot imagine a better place to live, work and raise our family.” They have two sons, John, 14, and Colin,12. In her free time, she supports her sons in several academic, extracurricular and sports activities, and recently joined the Board of MC United soccer club. She also enjoys hiking, walking, skiing, tennis and traveling.