First Seidman Fellows Obtain Positions, Making Way for New Fellows

May 17, 2017

Megan Schuler, Eric Roberts, Sunita Desai

The first Seidman fellows at HCP—Eric Roberts, Megan Schuler and Sunita Desai—first began working at HCP in 2015. Their positions were designed to offer young academics an unparalleled opportunity to embed in the department and help faculty with their research, all while developing their own research and accessing a wealth of data. This year, they move on to further the work they started. 

Megan Schuler accepted a position as health policy researcher at RAND (Boston office), where a primary focus of her research will be substance use and mental health service utilization. Additionally, she will continue her work regarding causal inference methods in conjunction with RAND’s Center for Causal Inference.   

As a fellow, Schuler worked with Laura Hatfield to develop a statistical framework for optimizing medical treatment decision-making by jointly considering multiple patient outcomes and patient preferences. In other work with Hatfield, she applied clustering methods to identify heterogeneity in trajectories of health service utilization, including treatment patterns among youth with depression and end-of-life care for oncology patients. Additionally, she authored an overview of targeted maximum likelihood estimation for causal inference with Sherri Rose.

In September, Eric Roberts will join the University of Pittsburgh in the Department of Health Policy & Management (School of Public Health) as an assistant professor, while also holding an appointment as a healthcare economist in the Medicaid Research Center of the university’s Health Policy Institute. There, he will  be working with HCP alumnae Lindsay Sabik and Julie Donohue as well as with two of his former Hopkins colleagues, Marian Jarlenski and Julia Driessen. He plans to pursue research on payment and care delivery innovations in Medicaid programs, bridging his research interests in insurance policy, disparities, and payment methods. 

At HCP, Roberts worked with mentors Michael McWilliams and Ateev Mehrotra on a range of projects, including analyses of physician price and quality data from FAIR Health and the Medicare CAHPS survey, an evaluation of a hospital payment reform in Maryland, and a study of value-based purchasing initiatives in Medicare. His work on payment reform at HCP sparked an interest in assessing how new payment models could affect payments to providers serving disadvantaged populations and thus their long-term implications for health care disparities.

Following her term as a fellow, Sunita Desai accepted an appointment as an assistant professor of health policy at NYU School of Medicine's Department of Population Health, with secondary appointments at NYU’s Stern School of Business and the NYU Wagner School of Public Service. During her time at HCP, she expanded her research portfolio through several projects. In one set of projects with her mentor Mehrotra, she studied price transparency as a solution to curbing health care costs.

In another study with Bapu Jena, she examined the role of celebrity health announcements on health care utilization decisions. In a third area of study with McWilliams, she studied the consequences of the 340B Drug Discount Program a large but under-explored federal policy that grants large discounts to qualifying providers on drug purchases. In addition to research activities, Desai presented her research in seminars at HCP, conferences (ASHEcon, AcademyHealth, SXSW, Midwest Health Economics Conference), and other universities. She was recently named a 2017-2018 Becker Friedman Institute Health Economics Fellow.

The newest cohort of Seidman fellows will begin their terms at HCP over the summer of 2017. Wenjia Zhu, whose faculty mentor will be Nicole Maestas, joins HCP from the Becker Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago. Andrew Wilcock, who comes from the University of Minnesota, will be mentored by McWilliams and Mehrotra.

To read more about the Seidman program, go here

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