Beth McGinty, PhD, MS
Chief, Division in Health Policy and Economics
Dr. Beth McGinty is a prominent health policy expert who conducts mixed-methods research characterized by the integration of approaches from the fields of public policy, health economics, and implementation science to understand how policies affect population health. Dr. McGinty holds a Master in Science from Columbia University and a doctorate in health and public policy from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. McGinty joined the division as chief in 2022.
Yuhua Bao, PhD
Dr. Yuhua Bao conducts economic and policy studies that support evidence-based and patient-centered care for people with mental health and substance use conditions. Two current areas of research are innovations in provider payment policies for mental health and substance use services and intended and unintended consequences of policies addressing the opioid crisis. Dr. Bao earned her PhD from the RAND Graduate School of Policy Studies in Santa Monica, CA and joined WCM in 2007.
Amelia Bond, PhD, MS, MHS
Dr. Amelia Bond is a health economist. She studies provider behavior with a particular interest in examining how provider payment and how provider market and organizational structures impact healthcare quality, costs, and equity. Within these two areas of interest, she has a strong applied focus on improving primary care. She uses rigorous and causal quantitative methods, and, when appropriate, qualitative methods, to study topics that are at the forefront of US policy and can be incorporated into policy decisions in the near term. Dr. Bond received her PhD and Master of Science in managerial science and applied economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, her Master of Health Sciences in health economics from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and her Bachelor of Arts with honors in chemistry and French from Wellesley College. Prior to Wharton, Dr. Bond worked as an analyst at the Center for Studying Health System Change, a health policy think tank in Washington, DC. She joined the division in 2018.
Robert Tyler Braun, PhD, MS
Dr. Robert Tyler Braun's current research focuses on the organization of the health care system with a particular interest in the evolution of changes in the organization and financing of physician practices and providers of end-of-life and long-term care. As principal investigator on several grants from funders including the National Institute on Aging and Arnold Ventures, Dr. Braun’s team is in the process of examining physician and long-term care organization, financing, and behavior within the U.S. health delivery system. Currently, his research interests are related to mergers and acquisitions of physician practices, hospices, and nursing homes by various types of institutional investment. Dr. Braun’s research is published in prominent journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA Internal Medicine, and Health Affairs. His research on the consolidation of physician practices and long-term care organizations has received coverage from major media outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, and The New Yorker Magazine. Furthermore, his research has received substantial attention from policymakers, including the White House, Senate Finance Committee, and the House Ways and Means Committee.
Dr. Braun primarily teaches in the Executive MBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership program, a joint program by Cornell's Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management and WCM Graduate School of Medical Sciences. Additionally, he teaches and mentor students in the MS in Health Policy and Economics program and the MD program. Dr. Braun joined the division in 2018.
Lawrence Peter Casalino, MD, PhD
Professor Emeritus of Population Health Sciences
Dr. Lawrence Peter Casalino is the former chief of the Division of Health Policy and Economics. His research focuses on the intended and unintended effects of public and private policies on the types of provider organization that exist, on the processes they use to provide care, and on the quality and cost of care. His work also focuses on the impact of policies and organizational processes on socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities.
Dr. Casalino currently serves as a Medicare Payment and Advisory Commission (MedPAC) Commissioner and as a member of the Panel of Health Advisors for the Congressional Budget Office, and has served as a senior advisor to the director of the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), as the Chair of the Academy Health Annual Research Meeting, on the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Investigators in Health Policy Research Program, and on many other national committees, technical advisory panels, and nonprofit boards of directors. Dr. Casalino worked full-time as a primary care physician for 20 years. Prior to that, he worked as a community organizer.
Yasin Civelek, PhD, MA, MS
Dr. Yasin Civelek is a health economist and primarily focuses on provider incentives and evaluates government health care policies by leveraging medical claims data and employing both quasi-experimental and experimental research methods. Through his research, Dr. Civelek aims to shed light on the institutional and behavioral factors that affect health and health related outcomes. He received his PhD and MA in economics and MS in mathematics and statistics from Georgia State University. Prior to Weill Cornell Medicine, Dr. Civelek worked as a senior researcher on the Health Economics Research Team at Elevance Health, Inc. He joined the division in 2023.
Hye-Young (Arian) Jung, PhD
Dr. Hye-Young (Arian) Jung's research program is supported by three active awards from the National Institute on Aging and is concentrated on examining the organization of the clinical workforce in nursing homes and the quality of care provided by these facilities. For example, she has multiple projects underway to examine whether physicians and advanced practitioners who primarily practice in nursing homes, often referred to as “SNFists,” provide higher quality of care to residents than other clinicians. Since the spring of 2020, she has also committed a substantial amount of effort towards studies examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on nursing homes, producing among the first studies to identify the characteristics of facilities associated morbidity and mortality of individuals residing in them. This includes an analysis of nursing home characteristics associated with resident COVID-19 morbidity in communities with high infection rates, in addition to the first study to outline federal and state responses addressing COVID-19 in nursing homes.
Dr. Jung also devotes a substantial amount of effort to education. She founded the Master of Science in Health Policy and Economics program at WCM in 2015 and served as its director until 2020. She continues to teach a course each year, "Introduction to US Healthcare Policy and Delivery," and regularly mentors students.
Pragya Kakani, PhD
Dr. Pragya Kakani is a health economist with research interests in the areas of prescription drug policy, provider behavior and organization, and health care disparities. Her prior and ongoing work has covered topics including integration between pharmacies and physician organizations, pharmaceutical rebates, and disparities in hospital quality. Her work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of the American Medical Association, Health Affairs, and Health Services Research, and the Review of Economics and Statistics. Her research has been covered by popular media outlets including CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Modern Healthcare. Pragya Kakani completed her PhD in health policy (economics track) from Harvard University in May 2023 and her AB from Harvard College in 2014. She joined the division in 2023.
Dhruv Khullar, MD, MPP
Dr. Dhruv Khullar is a practicing physician and serves as director of the Physicians Foundation Center for the Study of Physician Practice and Leadership (CPPL) within the division. Dr. Khullar's research focuses on value-based care, health care disparities, and medical innovation, and has been published in JAMA, Health Affairs, and The New England Journal of Medicine, among other high-impact journals. He is also a contributing writer at The New Yorker magazine, where he writes about medicine, healthcare, and politics.
Dr. Khullar earned his medical degree at the Yale School of Medicine and completed his medical training at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He also received a Master of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, where he was a fellow at the Center for Public Leadership. Dr. Khullar joined the division in 2017.
Derek Lake, PhD
Dr. Derek Lake's research is focused on how payment and delivery reform affect healthcare spending and outcomes among older Americans. His active works include comparative studies examining how post-acute care utilization and outcomes have been influenced by Medicare Advantage and the Medicare Shared Savings Program. For his doctoral dissertation, Dr. Lake developed a novel framework for causal comparisons of patient outcomes between Medicare Advantage and Traditional Medicare enrollees. Dr. Lake holds a PhD in health services research with a concentration in health economics from the Brown University School of Public Health and an MSc in health policy and economics from Weill Cornell Medicine. His work has been featured in prominent publications including Health Affairs and the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Prior to his doctoral training, he worked as a strategic analyst for a health insurer and multiple accountable care organizations. Dr. Lake joined the division in 2023.
William Schpero, PhD
Dr. William Schpero is a health economist and the co-associate director at the Cornell Center for Health Equity, where he co-leads the research core. Dr. Schpero studies Medicaid and the health care safety net in the United States. Through his research, he aims to identify policy levers to address racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in health and health care. His work has appeared in a number of academic journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and Health Affairs, and has been featured by Bloomberg, CNBC, Politico, the Washington Post, and other news outlets. Dr. Schpero received his PhD in health policy and economics from Yale University, during which he was also a pre-doctoral fellow in aging and health economics at the National Bureau of Economic Research. For work stemming from his dissertation, he received the Annual Student Prize from the International Health Economics Association. Before attending Yale, Dr. Schpero completed a master's degree and a research fellowship at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice. He received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College.
Kayla Tormohlen, PhD
Senior Research Associate
Dr. Kayla Tormohlen conducts research in the area of substance use and mental health services and policy. Her work focuses on how health policies impact persons with complex health and social needs, and how we can utilize policy levers to address barriers to health service access and utilization.
Dr. Tormohlen received her PhD and MPH in public mental health and substance use epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Prior to joining the division, she was an assistant scientist in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, as well as faculty at the Center for Mental Health and Addiction Policy. Dr. Tormohlen joined the division in 2023.
Sri Lekha Tummalapalli, MD, MBA, MAS
Dr. Sri Lekha Tummalapalli is a nephrologist and health services researcher. She studies the impact of healthcare policies on patients with kidney disease, with a focus on value-based payment models. She also develops and tests healthcare delivery interventions to improve the quality of care for patients with chronic cardio-kidney-metabolic conditions. Her research has been funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, American Society of Nephrology, National Kidney Foundation, and Dalio Center for Health Justice.
Dr. Tummalapalli graduated from Harvard College with a degree in molecular and cellular biology and economics, followed by an MD/MBA at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School. She completed internal medicine residency at Mount Sinai and nephrology fellowship at UCSF where she obtained a master's in clinical research, prior to joining WCM in 2020.
Mark Unruh, PhD
Dr. Mark Unruh's research interests are focused primarily in (1) complex ownership structures of nursing homes, including private equity and real estate investment trust ownership; (2) the relationship between the level of physician reimbursements and the quality and cost of care; and (3) information sharing across care settings. His work in these areas has been supported by multiple awards from the National Institute on Aging, in addition to funding from Arnold Ventures and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Unruh’s research has received coverage from numerous media outlets, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, and has been used to support initiatives proposed by the Senate Finance Committee and The White House.
Dr. Unruh also serves as the Director of the Master of Science in Health Policy and Economics program within the Department of Population Health Sciences. In addition to his institutional appointments, he is a standing member of AHRQ’s Healthcare Systems and Value Research study section and, in 2022, he became a member of the Moving Forward Nursing Home Quality Coalition’s Committee on Transparency and Accountability of Finances and Ownership. Dr. Unruh joined the department in 2012.
Jiebing Wen, PhD
Dr. Jiebing Wen's work focuses on applying quasi-experimental econometrics techniques to claims data analysis to answer research questions centering around the intended and unintended impact of policies, such as marijuana laws and telehealth policies, and on access and quality of care. Her current research revolves around children’s mental health care and quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries.
Dr. Wen received her PhD in public policy and administration with a focus on health policy and health economics from University of Kentucky. Dr. Wen was a postdoctoral fellow in health policy and insurance research in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. Prior to WCM, Dr. Wen was an assistant professor in the Department of Healthcare Leadership and Management at Medical University of South Carolina. She joined the division in 2023.
Jiani Yu, PhD
As a health services researcher with training in health economics, Dr. Jiani Yu's work broadly focuses on how changes in the payment and delivery of health care services affect access to health and health outcomes for vulnerable patient populations. Her current research interests revolve around two major themes: the relationship between telehealth use and access to care, health care costs, and quality of care; examining strategies for improving post-acute and long-term care for Medicare beneficiaries. Dr. Yu joined the division in 2019.
Yongkang Zhang, PhD
Dr. Yongkang Zhang specializes in applying econometrics and statistical methods, and more recently, machine learning methods, to analyze large healthcare datasets to inform care delivery and health policy. His currently research focuses on data-driven health services research on end-of-life/hospice care, home- and community-based services, and long COVID conditions and symptoms. He has developed a unique set of expertise working with high dimensional healthcare data from multiple sources, including administrative claims (Medicare fee-for-service, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, and commercially insured), EHR data (from a single institution or multi-institutional data from Clinical Research Networks), social determinants of health data (at the individual and neighborhood levels), and prescription data (e.g., Medicare Part D). Dr. Zhang joined the division in 2017.
Allison Ju-Chen Hu, PhD
Dr. Allison Ju-Chen Hu is a health services researcher, leveraging large-scale data, such as national surveys, administrative data, and insurance claims, to provide population-level scientific evidence on the effectiveness and unintended consequences of public health policies. Dr. Ju-Chen Hu’s research interest lies in the intersection of several areas, including behavioral health, Medicaid, health disparities, provider networks, and access to care among underserved populations. Her previous studies inform whether Medicaid managed care policies affect access to specialty care for enrollees with special health care needs. Currently, a major focus of her research is to examine disparities in access to prescription opioids and opioid use disorder treatment across different populations and communities.
Dr. Ju-Chen Hu received her PhD in health services research and health policy with a concentration in health economics from Emory University. During this time, she was a research assistant at the Southeast Mental Health Technology Transfer Center.
Stephenson Strobel, MD, PhD
Dr. Stephenson Strobel is a health economist and has a PhD in public policy from the Brooks School of Public Policy at Cornell University. He is a trained family physician, having completed a residency at the University of Toronto, and practices as an emergency medicine physician. He has general research interests in health economics, organization of healthcare systems, and physician behavior.
Ali Bennett, MPH
Senior Research Program Manager
Ali Bennett earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology at Dickinson College and a Master of Public Health at Boston University. Her master's specialized in community and maternal/child health. Prior to joining Weill Cornell Medicine, Ali worked on a longitudinal pediatric cohort study evaluating the impacts of rural poverty on child health and development outcomes at New York University and the New York University Grossman School of Medicine. Ali joined the division in 2023.
Promi Chakraborty is enrolled in an accelerated seven-year BS/MD program called the Sophie Davis School for Biomedical Education. Currently in her second undergraduate year, she anticipates graduating from the City College of New York in 2025 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical science, after which she will pursue a medical degree at the CUNY School of Medicine upon matriculation in the same year. Promi joined the division in 2023.
Rahul Fernandez, MS
Senior Research Assistant
Rahul Fernandez supports Dr. Robert Tyler Braun and collaborators on several data-driven research avenues within the larger healthcare space. Rahul has a Master of Science in biostatistics and data science from Weill Cornell Medicine and a bachelor's degree in economics with a minor in biology from Azim Premji University.
Phyllis Johnson, MBA
Programmer Analyst II
Phyllis Johnson joined the Division of Health Policy and Economics in 2013. She leads the construction, development, and maintenance of large healthcare datasets for projects across the division and has expertise in Medicare and Medicaid insurance claims data. Phyllis has coauthored manuscripts in high-profile journals including Health Affairs and JAMA. Prior to joining WCM, Phyllis worked in varying analyst roles at organizations including Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, IBM, and Prudential Financial. She received a bachelor's degree in chemistry and mathematics from Trinity College and an MBA from Wagner College.
Ken Karan, MPH
Programmer Analyst I
Ken Karan earned a Master of Public Health at Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at New York University. As a programmer analyst, Ken has a broad background in provider utilization, budgeting, and reporting. Specific areas of analysis were Medicare and Medicaid utilization and revenue modeling and staff nurse productivity. As a nurse, he has direct patient care experience in the inpatient and home care settings. Ken joined the division in 2023.
Christie Lee Luo, MPH
Research Data Analyst
Christie Lee Luo holds a Bachelor of Sciences in biological sciences from the University of California, Davis and a Master of Public Health from New York University concentrating in epidemiology. She has research experience working with structural biology focusing on drug targeting enzyme at Rice University and has conducted epidemiologic research to observe the characteristic of irritable bowel syndrome among pregnant women using claim data from MarketScan at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Christie Joined the division in 2023.
Swayami Navangul, MS
Healthcare Data Analyst
Swayami Navangul holds a bachelor's degree in international politics from King’s College London and a master's degree in health policy and economics from WCM. Swayami has over five years of experience working with management consulting firms and a leading not-for-profit organization. She has experience working in multiple functions such as primary data collection, data analysis, go-to market strategy, strategy, and operations consulting. In her current role, she supports researchers within the department with data analysis and building databases.
Reekarl Pierre, MPH
Reekarl Pierre has six years of combined research experience in neurocellular biology and public health, along with an MPH in epidemiology from SUNY Downstate School of Public Health, and a BS in biology with a minor in neuropsychology from SUNY Old Westbury.
Manyao Zhang, MS
Senior Data & Research Analyst
Manyao Zhang joined in the Division of Health Policy and Economics in 2017. She leads data construction and analyses for a wide range of projects across the division. Manyao has expertise in Medicare and Medicaid claims data and multiple other large healthcare databases. She has coauthored manuscripts in high profile journals including Health Affairs and JAMA Internal Medicine. Prior to joining WCM, Manyao worked as a data analyst at DIA Associates, LLC, and as part of the Decision Science Group at American Express. Manyao received a bachelor's degree in information security and a master's degree in computer science from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China.
Sierra R. Britton, MPH
Grants and Finance Administrator
Sierra R. Britton assists the Division of Health Policy and Economics with many aspects of research administration including proposal submissions and portfolio management.
Sierra earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the College of New Rochelle and a Master of Public Health at New York Medical College, specializing in behavioral science and health promotion. She also has a background on both sides of research, having served as a researcher in a genetics lab at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai prior to joining their grants team, and subsequently working as a grants specialist at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine. Sierra joined the department in 2023.
Ancheska Castillo manages financial, administrative and/or related operational activities to ensure the smooth functioning of the office. Ancheska earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a minor in digital design marketing from SUNY Old Westbury in May 2023. She joined the division in 2023.