New Faculty Q & A With Dr. Ali Jalali

Dr. Ali Jalali is an assistant professor of population health sciences in the Division of Comparative Effectiveness & Outcomes Research. He received his MA in economics from California State University, Los Angeles, and his PhD in economics from the University of Utah. Dr. Jalali was a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Population Health Sciences prior to becoming a faculty member. He is also a research affiliate of the Center for Health Economics of Treatment Interventions for Substance Use Disorder, HCV, and HIV (CHERISH).

What got you involved in comparative effectiveness and outcomes research? 

Dr. Ali Jalali

Dr. Ali Jalali

As a PhD student, I had the unique opportunity to formally engage in health economic and comparative effectiveness research at the University of Utah School of Medicine and the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System as a graduate researcher, and later through a graduate research fellowship. I found the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of comparative effectiveness research appealing in several ways. Conducting research together with clinicians and epidemiologists, I gained valuable insights into the U.S. healthcare system and the clinical and public health burden of particular diseases of interest. I also expanded my familiarity with biostatistical and health services research methodologies outside of the standard economist’s toolkit. 

Tell us about your research.

My primary area of research interest pertains to economic and policy evaluations of health interventions for substance use disorders and related conditions, with a particular emphasis on vulnerable populations. This includes pregnant women with opioid use disorder, infants born premature or with neonatal drug withdrawal syndrome, and criminal-legal system involved persons. Much of my current research is based on clinical trial data, but I also work on broader research questions that aim to illuminate the relationship between provider and healthcare market level factors and their impact on population health outcomes via healthcare claims and surveillance data.

What expertise do you bring to this new role? 

I hold a PhD in economics with an emphasis in health and completed two years of postdoctoral training at Weill Cornell Medicine before beginning this role. The focus of my postdoctoral training was to build expertise in research designs and econometric methods of comparative economic and effectiveness evaluations of substance use disorder interventions conducted alongside clinical trials. A particularly important expertise that I bring to this new role is combining health econometric methods with those commonly used in biostatistics in innovative ways to assist in understanding the clinical and economic implications of new and competing treatments. I’ve also developed expertise in the field of substance use disorders and addiction through research collaborations with colleagues at Weill Cornell Medicine and outside institutions through the National Institute on Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network.

Why did you decide to stay at Weill Cornell Medicine with this new faculty position?

The breadth of expertise and diversity of research activity being conducted within the Department of Population Health Sciences by faculty and research staff is extraordinary and serves as a public good for new faculty seeking to pursue their scientific career in an interdisciplinary research field. I highly value effective mentorship, and I’ve received excellent mentorship from Drs. Sean M. Murphy and Bruce Schackman in the Division of Comparative Effectiveness & Outcomes Research. Weill Cornell Medicine is also a fantastic institution to kickstart an academic career given the availability of research resources and the cross-disciplinary network of collaborators. And it doesn’t hurt to be in New York City! I am thrilled to have the opportunity to pursue my research and academic goals at Weill Cornell Medicine.

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