In the News

Congratulations to Lisa Iezzoni, MD, MSC for her appointment to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors!

 “We are particularly proud to be appointing a member of the disability community for the first time in the board’s history. As a user of the DOT and MBTA systems herself, Dr. Iezzoni will bring a critical perspective to this board that will help us ensure that our transportation system is accessible for people with disabilities,” said Governor Maura Healey. Read the full release here.    

Congratulations to Doug Levy, PhD for being named a Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) 2023 Fellow!

The status of Fellow is a distinction conferred by the Society on members in recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of nicotine and tobacco research, and of service to SRNT. You can learn more about SRNT here.

Congratulations to Elyse Park, PhD for being named a Society for Behavioral Medicine (SBM) Fellow!

Fellow status is a distinction conferred by SBM on full members in recognition of outstanding contributions to the advancement of the science and practice of behavioral medicine. Among the considerations for this distinction are academic, professional, clinical, legislative, or other meritorious accomplishments. You can learn more about SBM here.

Health Affairs selects Iezzoni et al., “Have Almost Fifty Years Of Disability Civil Rights Laws Achieved Equitable Care?” as part of the list of “Ten Best-Read 2022 Journal Articles”

Congratulations to Dr. Iezzoni et al., on the publication “Have Almost Fifty Years Of Disability Civil Rights Laws Achieved Equitable Care?’ being named one of the ten best read 2022 journal articles by Health Affairs, the “leading journal of health policy research.” The article discusses the healthcare disparities disabled Americans face, despite laws developed in recent year prohibiting just that. The article also examines current issues related to disability data gaps, accessible communication, physical access to care, disability competency training across health care professions, home and community based supports, and the nondiscriminatory private health insurance benefit design.

Click here to find Health Affairs’ Ten Best-Read 2022 Journal Articles.

Click here to read Dr. Iezzoni et al.’s, publication.

Levy et al., “Cost-Effectiveness of Implementing Smoking Cessation Interventions for Patients with Cancer” Published in JAMA

Congratulations to Doug Levy et al. on the publication of article “Cost-effectiveness of Implementing Smoking Cessation Interventions for Patients With Cancer”. The objective of study was to estimate the incremental cost per quit (ICQ) of adopting an intensive smoking cessation intervention among patients undergoing treatment at cancer care clinics, from a clinic perspective. Findings in this economic evaluation study, implementation of an intensive smoking cessation treatment intervention was moderately to highly cost-effective, depending on existing smoking cessation services in place. The article is now available to read online.

Dr. Giselle Lougee-Perez, PhD selected to participate in the Secondary Mentorship Program for Diverse Research Faculty

Congratulations to Giselle Lougee-Perez, Ph.D., who was selected to participate in the MGH Disparities Solutions Center Secondary Mentorship Program for Diverse Research FacultyThis one-year Pilot Program begins late June 2022 and will continue through June 2023. The Program pairs 4 junior faculty members, at MGH, from historically under-represented groups, who would benefit from dedicated secondary mentorship in research. In addition to supporting tenure-track faculty adjust to the environment of their department and school, the secondary mentor will be available to provide perspectives on questions related to scholarly expectations and progress in addition to work-life balance. For more information click here.

HPRIR HINT Study Highlighted in St. Jude’s Long-Term Follow-Up [LTFU] Study Newsletter

LTFU’s new HINT [Health Insurance Navigation Tools] Study is examining new ways to help cancer survivors understand, obtain, and take advantage of all their health insurance has to offer. “Health insurance coverage is a real stressor for long-term survivors,” explains Elyse Park, PhD. Visit LTFU to read more.

Dr. Lisa Iezzoni named 2022-2023 Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellow

On May 17, 2022 the Harvard Radcliffe Institute named Dr. Lisa Iezzoni in the in the Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellowship program.

Dr. Iezzoni, a Sally Starling Seaver Fellow and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, will apply her findings from interviews conducted with clinicians and patients to explore how to support people with disabilities or complex health needs more effectively while they remain at home.

“I feel so privileged by this opportunity to venture out of my comfort zone, to be surrounded and hopefully challenged by people from different disciplines and different countries, as I continue pursuing ways to improve the lives of people with disabilities,” explained Dr. Iezzoni.

Click here to read the full article.

HPRC Study: Too Many U.S. Doctors Biased Against Patients with Disabilities

Recently published research led by Dr. Lisa Iezzoni, MD, MSc was highlighted in U.S. News and World Report. In a survey of 714 doctors, a majority of respondents (82.4%) believed that people with significant disabilities had a worse quality of life than people without disabilities. More than 61 million Americans live with disabilities, and the findings from Dr. Iezzoni and colleagues add to a growing body of research that demonstrates health disparities for individuals with disabilities.

In addition to Dr. Iezzoni, study authors include Sowmya R. Rao, Julie Ressalam, Dragana Bolcic-Jankovic, Nicole D. Agarronik, Karen Donelan, Tara Lagu, and Eric G. Campbell. The study, published in Health Affairs can be read here and the article in U.S. News and World Report can be found here.

Dr. Fung Elected to National Academy of Social Insurance

Vicki Fung, PhD, was elected as a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. Election to membership in the National Academy of Social Insurance is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded to a social insurance professional. Academy membership recognizes those who have made distinguished and continuing achievements in the field. Dr. Fung is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a researcher at the Health Policy Research Center within the Mongan Institute. Congratulations, Dr. Fung!

HPRC Faculty Cited in Wired Magazine

Dr. Nancy Rigotti, MD, a faculty member in the Health Policy Research Center within the Mongan Institute, recently spoke with Wired Magazine about whether e-cigarettes and vaping help adults stop smoking cigarettes, and how the potential benefits for adults may be overshadowed by concerns about e-cigarettes’ effects on kids. Read the article by clicking the link here.

Dr. Elyse Park Honored with Mentorship Award; Promoted to Full Professor at Harvard Medical School

Health Policy Research Center faculty member Elyse Park, PhD, MPH was recently awarded the Ruth McCorkle Excellence in Research Mentorship Award from the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS). The award recognizes an APOS or community member who has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to making a positive impact on their mentees’ education and career, nurturing intellectual growth, career development, professional guidance, and positive role-modeling in the field of psychosocial oncology.Dr. Park also recently has been promoted to full Professor rank at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Park is a clinical psychologist and behavioral health researcher whose research work focuses on designing and testing behavioral interventions for medical populations, with a primary focus on integrating systems-based behavioral interventions into oncology settings. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Park!

Donelan Named Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing

Karen Donelan, ScD, EdM, has been named an honorary fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. This distinction is only given to top health leaders who have demonstrated a firm commitment to nursing and to transforming health policy. Each individual selected is a true champion of science, innovation, and leadership- signature initiatives of the American Academy of Nursing.

A longtime member of the Health Policy Research Center and Mongan Institute faculty at MGH, Dr. Donelan is a leading health policy and health services researcher who has led and participated in interprofessional, interdisciplinary research which has helped to positively shape public perception of nursing throughout her career. Dr. Donelan co-founded the Harvard Opinion Research Program with Dr. Robert Blendon, and has produced survey work critical to the field of nursing. Her research has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs, & JAMA, among other distinguished peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Donelan was recently appointed the Stuart H. Altman Professor of US Health Policy at the Heller School of Social Policy and Management of Brandeis University, a position which she will assume September 1st.

In addition to Dr. Donelan, other 2020 Honorary Fellows include Lord Nigel Crisp, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Ahrin Mishan. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Donelan!

Iezzoni Featured in NIH Article “Celebrating 30 Years of Medical Rehabilitation Research”

The National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR) within the NIH recently celebrated its 30 year anniversary. The NCMRR has been key in advancing research that has enhanced the health, productivity, independence, and quality of life for the estimated 61 million individuals living with disability in the United States. Dr. Lisa Iezzoni, faculty member with in the Health Policy Research Center was featured in the article commemorating this occasion. Dr. Iezzoni is a grantee of the NCMRR and studies health disparities among individuals with disabilities.

Dr. Donelan Comments on Pandemic’s Impact on Nurse Staffing in News Media

Dr. Karen Donelan recently commented on the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on nurse staffing in hospitals. The comment, featured in Modern Healthcare and other news media outlets, examines the impact of the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases on hospitals throughout the country. As the United States experiences a rise in cases of COVID-19, many hospitals are struggling to staff their units. Many nurses are being trained to provide care in fields which they have limited clinical experience. To fill staffing gaps, many hospitals are turning to traveling nurses and many nurses are experiencing pandemic-related burnout. Some nurses have left hospital settings for outpatient clinics and long-term care, resulting in a shortage. Experts, including Dr. Donelan expressed that they did not find this surprising.

“Who can actually work and who feels safe working are limited by family obligations to protect their own health,” said Dr. Donelan. “All of those things have been factors.” Donelan said there is little data so far on how the pandemic, which has killed more than 231,000 people in the country, is affecting nursing overall. But some hospitals had a shortage even before the virus took hold, despite a national rise in the number of nurses over the past decade.

The full article and story on nursing in the COVID-19 pandemic can be found in Modern Healthcare.

Dr. Iezzoni to Speak at URI on Healthcare Disparities for Individuals with Disabilities

Dr. Lisa Iezzoni, faculty member at the Health Policy Research Center and Harvard Medical School will be speaking at a virtual event as part of Honors Colloquium at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Iezzoni’s lecture is titled “Healthcare Disparities for People with Disability” and will take place on October 27th at 7pm. This lecture is free and open to the public. Event details and the link to participate on the day of the event can be found on the URI colloquium schedule webpage.

Dr. Park and Colleagues Publish Smoking Cessation Randomized Clinical Trial in JAMA

Health Policy Research Center faculty member Dr. Elyse Park, along with colleagues from Mass General, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the Moffitt Cancer Center have published an article titled “Effect of Sustained Smoking Cessation and Provision of Medication vs. Shorter-Term Counseling and Medication Advice on Smoking Abstinence in Patients Recently Diagnosed with Cancer.” The randomized clinical trial compares the effect of sustained telephone counseling and medication vs shorter-term telephone counseling and medication advice on 6-month smoking abstinence among patients at academic cancer hospitals recently diagnosed with cancer. The randomized clinical trial, which included 303 patients from 2 National Cancer Institute–designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, found a statistically significant difference of 34.5% vs 21.5% respectively between sustained telephone counseling over 6 months and provision of free medication compared with 4-week telephone counseling and medication advice resulted in 6-month biochemically confirmed quit rates. Though the generalizability of the study findings is uncertain and requires further research, among smokers who were recently diagnosed with cancer, sustained counseling and provision of free cessation medication compared with 4-week counseling and medication advice resulted in higher 6-month biochemically confirmed quit rates.

Dr. Park is the lead author on the paper. Other co-authors include Health Policy Research Center faculty members Drs. Giselle Perez, Douglas Levy, and Nancy Rigotti as well as Health Policy Research Center staff and former staff members Emily Friedman, Julia Rabin, Colin Ponzani, and Dr. Irina Gonzalez. The article, as well as an accompanying editorial entitled “Intensive Smoking Cessation Counseling for Patients with Cancer” are available on the JAMA website.

Mongan Institute Receives $4.9 Million to Study Best Practices to Prevent COVID-19 in Staff and Residents with Serious Mental Illness and Developmental Disabilities in Congregate Living Settings

A research team led by Dr. Stephen Bartels, the James J. and Jean H. Mongan Endowed Chair of Health Policy and Community Health, Professor Medicine, and Director of the Mongan Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, has been approved for a $4.9 million funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to determine best practices to prevent COVID-19 for people with serious mental illness and developmental and intellectual disabilities in congregate living settings and for the staff who provide care.

Dr. Bartels will oversee the study with co-principal investigator Dr. Brian Skotko, the Emma Campbell Endowed Chair on Down Syndrome and Director of the Down Syndrome Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Bruce Bird, CEO and President of Vinfen, will lead the community partnerships, involving approximately 400 group homes with 2,000 residents and 3,000 staff across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Six partnering behavioral health and developmental disability organizations will participate in the study (Vinfen, Bay Cove Human Services, Riverside Community Care, North Suffolk Mental Health Associates, Advocates, and Open Sky Community Services), in conjunction with the Massachusetts Departments of Mental Health and Developmental Services, Mass Advocates Standing Strong, The Arc of Massachusetts, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Association of Mental Health, and the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress.

In addition to determining the effectiveness of tailoring approaches to the specific needs of people with serious mental illness and developmental and intellectual disabilities, the study team will also work to develop approaches that address COVID-19 health disparities that may be associated with race, ethnicity, and degree of disability.

“This project was selected for PCORI funding not only for its scientific merit and commitment to engaging patients and other stakeholders, but also for its potential to fill an important gap in our health knowledge and give people information to help them weigh the effectiveness of their care options,” said PCORI Executive Director Nakela L. Cook, MD, MPH. “We look forward to following the study’s progress and working with the Mongan Institute at MGH to share the results.”

The award has been approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract. PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions.

Dr. Vogeli Published in Science

Dr. Christine Vogeli, member of the faculty at the Health Policy Research Center, was recently a co-author on a study published in Science titled “Dissecting Racial Bias in an Algorithm Used to Manage the Health of Populations.” Dr. Vogeli and her co-authors found that a widely-used commercial algorithm exhibits significant racial bias: the authors estimate that bias in the algorithm reduces the number of Black patients identified as needing extra care by more than half. The bias is a result of the algorithm’s use of health costs as a proxy measure for health needs; less money is spent on Black patients who have the same level of need, resulting in the algorithm’s conclusion that Black patients are healthier than White patients who are equally sick.

See media coverage, including quotes from Dr. Vogeli, in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. Dr. Vogeli and her co-authors also published an article detailing a path forward, which can be found on the Health Affairs Blog.

Mongan Institute Director Dr. Steve Bartels Delivers Keynote at MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center Community Research Day

Mongan Institute Director Dr. Steve Bartels Delivers Keynote at MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center Community Research Day

On Friday, October 11th, Dr. Steve Bartels delivered the keynote address titled “Advancing Health Equity Through Community-Engaged Health Care Delivery Team Science” at MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center Community Research Day. In addition to serving as director of The Mongan Institute, Dr. Bartels is also the director of the Health Policy Research Center and is the James J. and Jean H. Mongan Endowed Chair in Health Policy and Community Health at MGH and Harvard Medical School.

HPRC Researchers Honored with Team Science Awards at MGH Clinical Research Day

Two faculty in our Center were honored on October 3 as part of teams that submitted winning abstracts at MGH Clinical Research Day.

Dr. Doug Levy was part of the team that won a hospital-wide award for the One-year effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of lifestyle intervention for type 2 diabetes in primary care: The REAL HEALTH-Diabetes Randomized Clinical Trial. Delahanty, Linda M.; Levy, Douglas E.; Chang, Yuchiao; Porneala, Bianca C.; Goldman, Valerie; McCarthy, Jeanna; Bissett, Laurie; Rodriguez, Anthony Romeo1; Chase, Barbara; LaRocca, Rajani; Wheeler, Amy; Wexler, Deborah J

Dr. Karen Donelan was part of the team presenting Implementing a Community Health Worker Intervention at Hospital Discharge. Carter, Jocelyn Alexandria; Walton, Anne; Hassan, Susan; Thorndike, Anne; Donelan, Karen

Our Archives

Spring 2019

Health Policy Rounds wrapped up its first year on May 6 with a presentation by Iyah Romm, CEO and Co-Founder of Cityblock Health.  Cityblock is redesigning care for people in urban neighborhoods that are traditionally underserved.  Mr. Romm was previously employed at the Mass. Health Policy Commission and Commonwealth Care Alliance–roles that he drew on extensively in speaking about efforts to reach and serve patients who have lost trust in the health system.

Population Health Research Symposium June 10th! Dr. Stephen Bartels and Dr. Christine Vogeli are leading efforts for the next Partners Population Health Research Symposium to be held at Assembly Row on June 10th.

Register here:

Winter 2018-2019

Elyse R. Park, Ph.D., MPH Among MGH’s Highest-Awarded Researchers
Dr. Park is currently overseeing $7.2 million in grant-funded research projects, including two $2.5 million multi-year studies funded by the national Institutes of Health (NIH).  Her studies involve the integration of mind body skills – specifically stress management and resiliency training– into tobacco treatment  for cancer patients.

Giselle Perez, PhD was recently named the Director of Adolescent and Young Adult Survivorship Research for the MGH Cancer Survivorship Program. In addition, effective February 2019, Dr. Perez will also serve as Director of Mentoring for the American Psychosocial Oncology Society