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AcademyHealth announces 9 Delivery System Science Fellows

Washington DC (August 22, 2013) -- AcademyHealth today announced the selection and placement of nine AcademyHealth Delivery System Science Fellows. Drs. Renaldo Blocker, Brooke Cunningham, Erin Hahn, Rozalina McCoy, Wayne Psek, Jia Pu, Caroline Thompson, Mary Carol Mazza, and Sean McClellan will begin 12-month, paid, post-doctoral training programs at five of the nations' leading health systems this summer.

The Delivery System Science Fellowship is a professional development opportunity for highly qualified, doctorally-prepared individuals interested in enhancing and applying their analytic skills to relevant and timely research topics in a delivery system setting. Overall, the goal of the fellowship is to provide hands-on training, enhance analytic skills and ultimately increase the capacity of the HSR workforce.

"The participating host sites Mayo Clinic, Medica Research Insititute, Kaiser Permanente, and Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute -- have long recognized the value of research evidence in improving safety and outcomes for patients and maximizing efficiency in the delivery of care'" said Dr. Lisa Simpson, president and CEO of AcademyHealth. "Through this program, the Delivery System Science Fellows gain valuable real-world experience conducting research in delivery system settings and unique insight into the challenges facing delivery system leaders."

"Although research within delivery systems may draw upon the full range of tools familiar to AcademyHealth members, DSSF sponsors understand the special issues and opportunities that arise when undertaking within a delivery system" said Hal Luft, PhD, Director of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute. "As delivery systems respond to the changing financing and policy environment, both their need for research, and the opportunities for researchers, will grow."

Fellows were selected through a competitive process that included evaluation by the potential host sites. Brief biographies of each fellow follow:

Renaldo Blocker, Ph.D., M.S.

Host Site: Mayo Clinic

Dr. Blocker received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Industrial and Systems Engineering. He previously conducted research as a post-doctoral fellow at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Blocker's research includes addressing human factors and ergonomics issues in cardiovascular surgery and trauma care procedures. His dissertation research focused on intraoperative handoffs and non-routine events (or surgical flow disruptions) during cardiac surgical care.

Brooke Cunningham, M.D., Ph.D.

Host Site: Medica Research Institute

Dr. Cunningham is a physician-sociologist and a postdoctoral fellow in general internal medicine and the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University. She received her undergraduate degree in history and African-American and African Studies from the University of Virginia and her doctorate in sociology and medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She trained in internal medicine at Duke University Medical Center. During her postdoctoral fellowship at Hopkins, she completed the Greenwall Fellowship in Bioethics and Health Policy, and has also been a fellow in the Hopkins Center to Eliminate Cardiovascular Health Disparities. Dr. Cunningham's research examines associations between the contexts of health care delivery and the care of diverse populations. As an AcademyHealth Delivery System Science Fellow, Dr. Cunningham intends to examine domains that may influence an organization's "readiness" to reduce health care disparities and, therefore, the implementation of interventions to improve equity.

Erin Hahn, Ph.D. M.P.H.

Host Site: Kaiser Permanente Southern California

Dr. Hahn received her doctorate in Health Services in 2013 from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and her master's in public health in health policy in 2006. She has worked as a researcher in the UCLA Division of Cancer Prevention and Control since 2005, leading several projects on oncology care delivery and cancer survivorship care. She received the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women's Health Center Jan R. Cloyde Young Investigator Award in 2011 for her work on adherence to evidence-based guidelines for breast cancer post-treatment care. Dr. Hahn is a member of the Delta Omega Public Health Honors Society and is currently a steering committee member for Journey Forward, a non-profit organization dedicated to delivering high quality survivorship care to all cancer patients.

Mary Carol Mazza, Ph.D., A.M.

Host Site: Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute

Dr. Mazza recently graduated with a Ph.D. in Business Studies and Organizational Behavior from a joint program between Harvard Business School and Harvard's Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Her research interests lie at the intersection of social psychology and behavioral economics, a nexus that affords evaluation into the mechanisms underlying cognitive biases and behavioral inconsistencies that produce difficult-to-alter deviations from rationality. With a focus on policy implications alongside advances in theory, she considers the impact of social and interpersonal factors on human behavior, preferences, judgment and decision making. Her dissertation research, a 21-month field study at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, examined nine novel interventions based on psychological theory designed to encourage the purchase of healthier food items. She is passionate about interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary work with others, using psychology and our growing understanding of human behavior and decision making to improve social issues. Dr. Mazzal has accepted a joint post-doctoral fellowship with Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) and Stanford's Clinical Excellence Research Center (CERC). With PAMFRI, she will design and evaluate research projects related to a variety of healthcare system improvements; at CERC, she will be engaged in healthcare innovation with an interdisciplinary team of colleagues.

Sean McClellan, Ph.D.

Host Site: Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute

Dr. McClellan is a health services researcher with a strong interest in examining interventions with the potential to improve the effectiveness of the healthcare system in the United States. Through this research agenda, he aims to better understand how organizations adopt to new circumstances and how those changes may influence patients and providers of healthcare. Dr. McClellan's research emphasizes that innovations for healthcare organizations are not "one size fits all." Dr. McClellan completed his Ph.D. in the Health Services and Policy Analysis program at the University of California, Berkeley, with a concentration in organizational behavior. While at UC Berkeley, he worked closely with the National Study of Physician Organizations, under Dr. Stephen Shortell. Dr. McClellan wrote his dissertation on the topic of organizational and market factors associated with the adoption of health information technology within two national cohorts of physician organizations, before and after the passage of meaningful use policy. Additionally, recent work appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association examined factors associated with the adoption of health information technology functionalities by physician practices and the use of those functionalities once adopted by physicians within practices. Dr. McClellan also has a strong interest in studying the accessibility of mental healthcare. Working with Dr. Lonnie Snowden, he has published two studies examining the effects of language assistance programming on the accessibility of mental healthcare for Medicaid-eligible persons with limited English proficiency in California.

Rozalina McCoy, M.D.

Host Site: Mayo Clinic

Dr. McCoy is a clinical fellow in endocrinology and assistant professor of internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester MN. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University, and received her medical degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. While in medical school, Dr. McCoy completed a year-long Howard Hughes Medical Institutes (HHMI) research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She did her residency training in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic, as part of the Clinician Investigator Training Program. Her work has focused on the use of patient-reported outcomes, particularly hypoglycemia, in the management of diabetes. Dr. McCoy's clinical and research interests focus on strategies to improve the value of chronic disease care, particularly for patients with type 2 diabetes, and she plans to expand on her early work in this area as a 2013 AcademyHealth Delivery System Science Fellow.

Wayne Psek, Ph.D., MBChB, M.B.A.

Host Site: Geisinger Health System

Dr. Psek recently received his Ph.D. from the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). His research focuses on the design and management of health care organizations and systems. His past research has included design of VA emergency departments and the use of systems approaches to translate evidence into practice. Along with his research he has designed and instructed several Master's level health management courses including operations and health care marketing. Prior to his training at UNC, he received his medical degree at the University of Pretoria and practiced medicine in South Africa and England. He has an M.B.A. from York University and 10 years of business experience managing his own company.

Jia Pu, Ph.D., M.A.

Host Site: Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute

Dr. Pu's research interest lies in health outcomes, in particular chronic disease care and health disparities. Her doctoral dissertation explores determinants of health disparities in cardiovascular disease progression, including psychosocial factors and health care factors. Besides her dissertation, Dr. Pu has conducted a series of studies on multiple health outcomes in different populations, including medical care outcomes in heart failure patients and cancer patients, heart failure patients' medication adherence, diabetes preventive care, and American Indian adolescents' violence behavior. Dr. Pu's research aims to improve patient outcomes through tailored patient education and health care quality improvement. Dr. Pu graduated with a Ph.D. in Social and Administrative Sciences of Pharmacy from the University of Wisconsin Madison. She is a recipient of Joseph Wiederholt Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellow. Dr. Pu received a B.A. with honors from China Pharmaceutical University, and an M.A. in Health Education from the University of Nebraska. Prior to her doctoral study, she worked for China CDC and Nebraska State Government.

Caroline Thompson, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Host Site: Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute

Dr. Thompson received her M.P.H. and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Her research interests include advanced epidemiologic methods, causal inference and bias modeling, the epidemiology of hormone-related cancers (especially breast and endometrial cancer), comparative effectiveness research, and quality of care. She is particularly interested in the challenges associated with making causal inferences from combined sources of observational data, such as data from registries, medical records, insurance claims, pharmacy claims, etc. Dr. Thompson is also a researcher for the DUQuE project, a multi-country EU funded initiative to quantify the comparative effects of multiple layers of hospital, structural, and process exposures on patient reported and clinical outcomes. As a DSSF fellow at PAMFRI, Dr. Thompson hopes to gain experience using combined data sources to answer questions about head-to-head comparisons of screening, prognostic, treatment, and routine care for those affected by cancer, with a focus on quality of life and patient-centered outcomes.

Fellowships begin in summer 2013. AcademyHealth, in collaboration with our delivery system partners, plans on identifying additional host sites in future years and securing support to grow and enrich this important new program.


Contact: Kristin Rosengren

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