New Faculty Q&A with Dr. Pragya Kakani

Dr. Pragya Kakani is an assistant professor of population health sciences in the Division of Health Policy and Economics. Prior to joining Weill Cornell Medicine, she completed her PhD in health policy at Harvard University.  

How did you first become involved in health economics?  

Photo of

Dr. Pragya Kakani

In college, I was primarily a math and science student. However, I joined the debate team and was inspired to see how public policy could shape the world for the better. In my first health economics class, I learned about the many complex problems plaguing the US healthcare system, and the potential for policy to impact the healthcare system. I quickly realized it was the perfect field for merging my strengths in policy analysis and quantitative methods to address those problems. 

Tell us about your research.      

As a health economist, my research focuses on accessibility, costs, and quality of medical care. I have significant technical expertise in economics and statistics and work with large datasets to address population health questions. My primary interest is in the economics of prescription drug markets, including factors that impact pricing, access, and appropriate use.  

In prior and ongoing work, I study the effects of integration between physician practices, health systems, and pharmacies on the use of oral cancer drugs. I have also studied the increasing importance of confidential pharmaceutical rebates negotiated between health plans and manufacturers. My work addresses hospital quality, racial disparities in care, and drivers of appropriate care. With my research, I aim to inform policy that improves healthcare delivery in the US.  

What brings you to Weill Cornell Medicine?     

The community at WCM is unlike any other. They are exceptionally kind and have a range of diverse experiences that I can learn from. I’m excited to collaborate with colleagues within and outside the Division of Health Policy and Economics. I also grew up in New York but have been away for ten years, so I am thrilled to return and serve the community here.   

Are there any trends or issues you are currently following in your field?     

I am currently interested to see how GLP-1 agonists will change obesity management, and how society will manage the related access and cost issues. I am also interested in growing integration across healthcare service lines and among health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, and pharmacies. This integration significantly impacts healthcare quality and costs but has not been widely researched. Finally, I am interested in studying the increasing number of pharmacy closures in the US, especially in vulnerable communities. Researchers must understand the determinants of these events to help mitigate their future impact.  



Population Health Sciences 402 E. 67th St. New York, NY 10065 Phone: (646) 962-8001