Welcome From The Chair
Rainu Kaushal, M.D., M.P.H. Professor and Chair
The Department of Healthcare Policy & Research, formerly Public Health, concentrates on studying and improving healthcare delivery to optimize the value of healthcare for patients in New York and across the country. It is chaired by Dr. Rainu Kaushal, an expert in healthcare quality, patient safety and information technology.
News & Highlights
Wall Street Journal Cites Dr. Yuhua Bao's Research
"Use of state databases in 24 states was associated with a 30% drop in the prescribing rate for opioids such as OxyContin between 2001 and 2010, according to a study by Yuhua Bao, a health-care policy and research expert at Weill Cornell Medicine, published in June in the journal Health Affairs."
Read the full article on the Washington Post
In Business Insider article, Dr. Ancker discusses what's working — and what's not — in the effort to revolutionize patient record-keeping
"[...] systems that were just set up to handle bills suddenly had to be retrofitted to track patients so that doctors could use them during appointments. And it all had to check out under the new regulation.
"A lot of companies had to do compliance, so innovation got slowed down," said Jessica S. Ancker, a professor of healthcare policy and research at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Read the full article on Business Insider
Dr. Yiye Zhang Joins Weill Cornell Medicine
Yiye Zhang, Ph.D., has joined the Division of Health Informatics in Healthcare Policy & Research at Weill Cornell Medicine. Her research focuses on algorithm creation for data-driven decision support in healthcare delivery and management. Dr. Zhang's work has been published in peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, and book chapters.
Dr. Wang Receives Grant from NSF Smart and Connected Health Program
Fei Wang, Ph.D., assistant professor of healthcare policy & research at Weill Cornell Medicine, has received a grant from NSF Smart and Connected Health Program titled EAGER: Patient Similarity Learning with Massive Clinical Data and Its Applications in Cohort Identification.
A critical step to make sure that opportunities exist for conducting large-scale precision medicine research, researchers must ensure that cohorts are identified by defining including and exclusion criteria that algorithmically select sets of patients. Most existing research has criteria for generating those patient cohorts and defining them manually. Of course, this method makes the entire process slow, labor intensive, and unscalable.
Dr. Wang's project will develop patient similarity learning algorithms from various kinds of patient related data such as EHR, pharmaceutical R&D and genomic information, to enable automatic cohort identification, which will accelerate the research of precision medicine.
30 Students Complete 2016 BDC4CM Fellowship
Thirty students completed a joint Weill Cornell Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and University of Minnesota week-long Big Data Coursework for Computational Medicine (BDC4CM) funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). BDC4CM emphasized how to navigate the interface between research and practice by offering participants in-depth lectures, case studies and hands-on training from leading researchers in academia and industry.
Students Receive Awards
The Elise Strang L'Esperance Prize in Public Health is awarded to a graduating female student who best reflects the attributes and values of Dr. L’Esperance, who served on the faculty of the Weill Cornell Medical College for over forty years. The winners among this year's graduating class are Josephine Cool and Stephanie Gold, who will split the Elise Strang L'Espercance Prize in Public Health.
The George G. Reader Prize in Public Health was endowed in 1992 by friends and colleagues of Dr. George G. Reader '43, who served as chairman of the Department of Public Health from 1972 to 1992. A cash prize is given to the graduating student who, in the judgment of the Department's faculty, shows the most promise in the field of public health. This year's George G. Reader Prize in Public Health is being shared by Daniel Kornberg and James Wang.
Dr. Fei Wang Joins Weill Cornell Medicine
Fei Wang, Ph.D., has joined the Division of Health Informatics in Healthcare Policy & Research at Weill Cornell Medicine. Before arriving at WCM, Dr. Wang was a research staff member at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. He received a Ph.D. from Tsinghua University in China. Dr. Wang has published over 80 peer-reviewed articles in top-tier biomedical informatics journals and IEEE/ACM proceedings. He also serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, and has served as a referee to over 20 different journals and conferences.
Drs. Finkel, Hupert Selected to Receive Excellence in Teaching Award
Madelon Finkel, Ph.D., and Nathaniel Hupert, M.D., M.P.H., have been selected to receive Excellence in Teaching Awards. This award is given by Weill Cornell Medical College on behalf of their outstanding efforts to the College. The College-wide award selection process includes the input of students through course evaluation forms, as well as course director comments.
Dr. Grinspan Awarded Grant to Study Epilepsy
Zachary Grinspan, M.D., M.S., has been awarded a grant from the Pediatric Epilepsy Research Foundation. His study, called "Comparative Effectiveness Research for Infantile Spasms," will study a devastating epilepsy of infancy that can cause permanent neurodevelopment disability. Dr. Grinspan’s project will compare the three recommended treatments — ACTH, oral steroids, and vigabatrin — for infantile spasms using several large datasets. The grant is a four-center collaboration with national leaders in pediatric epilepsy research, including Dr. Anup Patel (Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Dr. Kelly Knupp (Children's Hospital Colorado), and Dr. Ren&aecute;e Shellhaas (Mott's Children's Hospital).
Dr. Elkin Selected for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows Program
Elena Elkin, Ph.D. has been selected as one of eight health professionals for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows Program at the National Academy of Medicine. Beginning in September 2016, these eight professionals will spend a year in Washington, D.C. to work on healh-related legislative and regulatory issues with members of Congress. Learn more
Dr. Grinspan Helps Lead Effort to Design Specifications for Device to Improve Care for Critically Ill Children
Dr. Zachary Grinspan (Healthcare Policy and Research) and Dr. Barry Kosofsky (Pediatrics) lead an international, multidisciplinary effort to design specifications for a pediatric neurology intensive care bedside multimodal monitor. Such a device would improve care for critically ill children with devastating neurological diseases, such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, or unremitting seizures (status epilepticus). They worked closely with several colleagues at Weill Cornell Medicine and Technion Israel Institute of Technology, including experts in epilepsy, pediatric neurology, pediatric critical care, neurology intensive care, signal processing, human factors, and visualization. Their work appears in Applied Clinical Informatics.
Dr. Pesko Awarded $750k Grant from American Cancer Society
Michael Pesko, Ph.D., has been awarded a 4-year, $750,000 grant from the American Cancer Society to evaluate provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that affect tobacco users. These provisions include expanding access to smoking cessation products and cancer screenings, permitting tobacco rating in the individual and small group health insurance marketplaces, and expanding Medicaid programs in select states. This four-year grant will evaluate the effects of these provisions on high-risk tobacco users’ insurance coverage, tobacco use, tobacco cessation product use, cancer screenings, professional consultations regarding tobacco use, and exposure to carcinogens.
Cigarette smoking is directly linked with cancer, and scientists say that it accounts for 30 percent of all cancer deaths. This grant from the American Cancer Society will help provide new, timely evidence on the impact of these provisions.
Dr. Pesko is an Assistant Professor of Healthcare Policy & Research at Weill Cornell Medicine. He uses health economics and econometrics frameworks to evaluate policies affecting healthcare delivery, health insurance, and substance use.
Dr. Pesko Awarded Pilot Grant Funding From Center for Health Economics of Treatment Interventions for Substance Use Disorder, HCV, and HIV
Michael Pesko, PhD, received a 1-year pilot grant award from the Center for Health Economics of Treatment Interventions for Substance Use Disorder, HCV, and HIV (CHERISH). Using econometric techniques, Dr. Pesko will examine data from the National Center for Health Statistics to explore the impact of e-cigarette and marijuana policies on cigarette use and birth outcomes. The study will provide evidence of whether e-cigarettes, marijuana, and cigarettes have differential risks to pregnant women. Dr. Pesko is an Assistant Professor of Healthcare Policy & Research at Weill Cornell Medicine. Trained as a health economist, Dr. Pesko’s research focuses on evaluating health policy changes and their effect on health outcomes. Read more!
Dr. Johnson Named Chair of the Health Informatics Accreditation Council of CAHIIM
Stephen Johnson, Ph.D., was named chair of the Health Informatics Accreditation Council of the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). CAHIIM strives to provide the public with effective and consistent quality monitoring of health informatics and health information management (HIM) programs through maintenance of accreditation processes.
New Faculty Recruited in Health Informatics
Fernando Martín-Sánchez, Ph.D., FACMI, has joined the Department of Healthcare Policy & Research's Division of Health Informatics. Dr. Martín-Sánchez comes to us as former chair and professor of Health Informatics at the University of Melbourne’s Medical School. He is a biomedical informatics scientist with a career developed across the United States, Spain, and Australia. His research focuses on informatics methods in eHealth, participatory health, precision medicine, and translational research.
Dr. Alvin Mushlin Selected to Receive the 2015 SMDM Career Achievement Award
Alvin Mushlin, M.D., Sc.M., the Nanette Laitman Distinguished Professor of Public Health in the Department of Healthcare Policy & Research and Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, has been selected to receive the 2015 Career Achievement Award from the Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM).
Jyotishman Pathak, Ph.D., Named Chief of Health Informatics
Dr. Pathak plans to increase the size and scope of the Division of Health Informatics, which is dedicated to understanding how the explosion of biomedical big data affects healthcare delivery. He will lead efforts to expand the division's research and educational activities. Dr. Pathak also plans to foster and strengthen collaborations between health informatics researchers and clinician-investigators at Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell University, Cornell Tech, and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
Can big data help us close an epilepsy care gap?
Epilepsy has been termed an "ambulatory care sensitive condition," meaning that high-quality outpatient epilepsy care can reduce unnecessary emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations. Using this framework, high ED use is a marker of poor disease control or limited access to care. Do all people with epilepsy with poorly controlled disease or limited access frequent the ED? Are other factors at play? Read the article and accompanying editorial.
Dr. Jessica Ancker Discusses the Decline of Privacy Concerns as Patients Acclimate to Electronic Health Records
"Electronic health records, which were adopted really quickly and are now used in more than 96 percent of doctor's offices, have made a huge difference in the way that medical care is delivered. This study shows us that patients have noticed this change and have become more comfortable with the technology," said lead investigator Dr. Jessica Ancker, an associate professor of healthcare policy and research at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Dr. Zachary Grinspan Receives CDC Grant to Study Rare Epilepsies
Rare epilepsies are a devastating group of diseases that begin in childhood, and are often associated with profound neurologic, medical, and psychiatric disabilities. Zachary Grinspan, M.D., M.S., is leading a team that has been approved for a $900,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Members of The Fountain House Are Less Likely to Need E.R., says Dr. Zachary Grinspan
Dr. Zachary Grinspan, M.D., M.S. completed a study showing how members at the Fountain House in New York City, a clubhouse dedicated to the recovery of individuals with mental illness, are less likely to be admitted to the emergency department than non-members.
Dr. Finkel Welcomes University of Havana's Dr. Alonso
Madelon Finkel, Ph.D., professor of healthcare policy and research and director of the Office of Global Health Education, welcomed Isel Pascual Alonso, Ph.D. from the University of Havana on Tuesday, September 8. Dr. Alonso's visit was a follow-up to Dr. Finkel's visit to Cuba in June. Discussion focused on having Weill Cornell students spend time in Havana working in Dr. Alonso's lab. Dr. Finkel previously set up a clinical elective for fourth-year students to spend six weeks at a major teaching hospital in Havana.
Dr. Finkel Teaches Course on Epidemiology and Biostatistics for Veterinary Residents
Madelon Finkel, Ph.D., professor of healthcare policy and research and director of the Office of Global Health Education, and Galina Hayes, BVSc, MRCVS, Ph.D., a faculty surgeon and epidemiologist at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, are jointly teaching a course in epidemiology and biostatistics for interested veterinary residents. The six-hour course presents the fundamentals of each discipline with the aim of preparing the residents to conduct high-quality research.
"You Get Reminded You're a Sick Person"
An article in the Journal of Medical Internet Research by Dr. Jessica Ancker and colleagues explores personal data tracking and patients with multiple chronic conditions.
Research on health effects of fracking faces multiple challenges
"For the most part, they're not allowed to talk about any ill effects to themselves, to their water, to their land, even to their animals," says Dr. Madelon Finkel, an epidemiologist at Weill Cornell, to Reuters Health. "That in a sense is hampering the ability to do good research.""
Center for Health Economics of Treatment for Substance Users Is Established at Weill Cornell Medical College
Sorting out the complex economics of treating substance use disorder is the goal of a new center funded by a $5.8 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Led by Bruce Schackman, Ph.D., professor of healthcare policy and research and the Saul P. Steinberg Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College, the cross-institutional Center for Health Economics of Treatment Interventions for Substance Use Disorder, HCV, and HIV ("CHERISH") will serve as a national resource for substance use health economics research by developing and disseminating economic evidence that informs substance use treatment policy and hepatitis C and HIV care for substance users.
NYC-CDRN Approved for $8.5 Million in Phase II of PCORnet, a New National Clinical Research Network
The New York City Clinical Data Research Network (NYC-CDRN) has been approved for a three-year, $8.5 million funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) as part of the second phase of the development of the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network (PCORnet). Learn more about this funding award and the NYC-CDRN
Latest Therapies to Address the Historical Spread of Hepatitis C in the Middle East Discussed at WCMC-Q Grand Rounds
Laith Abu-Raddad, Ph.D., associate professor of public health at WCMC-Q, described the historical spread of hepatitis C in the Middle East and North Africa and discussed the latest therapies and public health efforts aimed at controlling the debilitating virus.
Department of Healthcare Policy & Research Names Dr. Karla Ballman Chief of Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology
The Department of Healthcare Policy and Research is excited to announce that Dr. Karla Ballman will join the Department as chief of the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology. Dr. Ballman, who is currently a tenured professor of biostatistics at the Mayo Clinic, will join Weill Cornell Medical College on Wednesday, July 15.
"We are so pleased to have Dr. Ballman joining us. She is a talented biostatistician and effective leader," said Dr. Rainu Kaushal, chair of the Department of Healthcare Policy & Research and the Frances and John L. Loeb Professor of Medical Informatics at Weill Cornell, and healthcare policy and research physician-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. "In her new role, Dr. Ballman will serve as an integral part of our multidisciplinary department. She'll bring her expertise to bear on specific research projects as well as on recruitment of new biostatisticians, and we couldn’t be happier to have her on board."
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NYC-CDRN Receives Funding for Phase II Work
The NYC-CDRN has been approved for a three-year, $8.5 million funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) as part of the second phase of the development of the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network.
CHERISH is a multi-institutional Center of Excellence, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The Center’s mission is to develop and disseminate health economic research on healthcare utilization, health outcomes, and health-related behaviors that informs substance use disorder treatment policy and HCV and HIV care of substance users. The Center is a collaboration among Weill Cornell Medicine, Boston Medical Center, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
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Selected Recent Publications
Journal of General Internal Medicine • 2016 • James H. Flory, Alvin I. Mushlin, Zachary I. Goodman
Proposals to Conduct Randomized Controlled Trials Without Informed Consent: a Narrative Review
Health Affairs • 2016 • Bao Y, Pan Y, Taylor A, Radakrishnan S, Luo F, Pincus HA, Schackman BR
Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Are Associated With Sustained Reductions In Opioid Prescribing By Physicians
Trials • 2016 • Frimpong JA, D'Aunno T, Perlman DC, Strauss SM, Mallow A, Hernandez D, Schackman BR, Feaster DJ, Metsch LR
On-site bundled rapid HIV/HCV testing in substance use disorder treatment programs: study protocol for a hybrid design randomized controlled trial
JAMA • 2016 • Hu JC, Laviana A, Sedrakyan A
High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound for Prostate Cancer: Novelty or Innovation?
BMJ • 2016 • Sedrakyan A, Campbell B, Merino JG, Kuntz R, Hirst A, McCulloch P
IDEAL-D: a rational framework for evaluating and regulating the use of medical devices
Ethnicity & Disease • 2016 • Ashley E. Giambrone, Linda M. Gerber, Jesica S. Rodriguez-Lopez, Chau Trinh-Shervin, Nadia Islam, Lorna E. Thorpe
Hypertension Prevalence in New York City Adults: Unmasking Undetected Racial/Ethnic Variation, NYC HANES 2004
Journal of Occupational and Envrionmental Medicine • 2015 • Kleinman, Eli J. MD, MPH; Christos, Paul J. PhD, MS; Gerber, Linda M. PhD; Reilly, John P. MD; Moran, William F. AD; Einstein, Andrew J. MD, PhD; Neugut, Alfred I. MD, PhD
NYPD Cancer Incidence Rates 1995–2014 Encompassing the Entire World Trade Center Cohort
Neurology • 2015 • Zachary M. Grinspan, MD, MS, Jason S. Shapiro, MD, MA, Erika L. Abramson, MD, MS, Giles Hooker, PhD, Rainu Kaushal, MD, MPH and Lisa M. Kern, MD, MPH
Predicting frequent ED use by people with epilepsy with health information exchange data
Menopause • 2015 • Gerber LM, Chiu YL, Verjee M, Ghomrawi H.
Health-related quality of life in midlife women in Qatar: relation to arthritis and symptoms of joint pain.
American Journal of Human Biology • 2015 • Gerber LM, Giambrone AE, Al-Ali HM, Verjee MA.
Validity of self-reported vitamin D deficiency among midlife Arab women living in Qatar.
JAMIA • 2015 • Jessica Ancker, Lisa Kern, Alison Edwards, Daniel Stein, Rainu Kaushal, et al
Associations between healthcare quality and use of electronic health record functions in ambulatory care
JAMA • 2015 • Lawrence Casalino
Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations: Traversing Rough Country
Med Care • 2015 • Lawrence Casalino, Michael Pesko, Andrew Ryan, Xuming Sun, Jayme Mendlsohn, et al
Physician Networks and Ambulatory Care-sensitive Admissions
Appl Clin Inform • 2015 • Rainu Kaushal, Alison Edwards, Lisa Kern, HITEC Investigators
Association between Electronic Health Records and Health Care Utilization
Am J Med Qual • 2015 • Joshua Richardson, Lisa Kern, Michael Silver, Hye-Young Jung, Rainu Kaushal, HITEC Investigators
Physician Satisfaction in Practices That Transformed Into Patient-Centered Medical Homes: A Statewide Study in New York
Praeger Press • 2015 • Madelon Finkel (Ed)
The Human and Environmental Impact of Fracking: How Fracturing Shale for Gas Affects Us and Our World
JAMIA • 2015 • Joshua Richardson, Joshua Vest, Lisa Kern, Rainu Kaushal, et al
A Needs Assessment of Health Information Technology for Improving Care Coordination in Three Leading Patient-Centered Medical Homes
PLoS Medicine • 2015 • Laith Abu-Raddad
Role of Acute HIV Infection in Driving HIV Transmission: Implications for HIV Treatment as Prevention
JAMIA • 2015 • Lisa Kern, Alison Edwards, Michelle Pichardo, Rainu Kaushal
Electronic health records and health care quality over time in a federally qualified health center
J Bone Joint Surg Am • 2015 • Hassan Ghomrawi, Ashley Eggman, Andrew Pearle
Effect of age on cost-effectiveness of unicompartmental knee arthroplasty compared with total knee arthroplasty in the U.S.
Sci Total Environ • 2015 • Jake Hays, Madelon Finkel, et al
Considerations for the development of shale gas in the United Kingdom
Am J Med Qual • 2015 • Lisa Kern, Alison Edwards, Rainu Kaushal, et al
The Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records and Health Care Utilization
Med Care • 2015 • Bruce Schackman et al
The Lifetime Medical Cost Savings from Preventing HIV in the United States
JAMA Surg • 2015 • Jialin Mao, Xi Emily Zheng, Art Sedrakyan, et al
Population-Based Estimates of the Prevalence of Uterine Sarcoma Among Patients With Leiomyomata Undergoing Surgical Treatment
J Gen Intern Med • 2015 • Jessica Ancker
Capsule commentary on weeks et al, "Provider perceptions of the electronic health record incentive programs: a survey of eligible professionals who have and have not attested to meaningful use"
Hepatology • 2015 • Laith Abu-Raddad et al
Estimation of hepatitis C virus infections resulting from vertical transmission in Egypt
Am J Manag Care • 2015 • Erika Abramson, Alison Edwards, Michael Silver, Rainu Kaushal, et al
Trending Health Information Technology Adoption Among New York Nursing Homes
JAMA Psychiatry • 2015 • Yuhua Bao et al
Retaining Part D’s Comprehensive Coverage of Antidepressants
Am J Manag Care • 2015 • Joshua Vest, Rainu Kaushal, Michael Silver, Lisa Kern, et al
Health Information Exchange and the Frequency of Repeat Medical Imaging
Epilepsia • 2015 • Zachary Grinspan, Erika Abramson, Hye-Young Jung, Rainu Kaushal, Lisa Kern, et al
Hospital crossover increases utilization for people with epilepsy: A retrospective cohort study
Qatar Medical Journal • 2014 • Paul Christos, Laith Abu-Raddad, Alvin Mushlin et al
Prevention of type II diabetes mellitus in Qatar:
Who is at risk?