AcademyHealth Announces 2015 Delivery System Science Fellows

For Immediate Release:
October 29, 2015
Kristin Rosengren

Washington, D.C. (10/29/2015)—AcademyHealth announced today the five individuals selected for the 2015 AcademyHealth Delivery System Science Fellowship (DSSF): Drs. Kimberly Brunisholz, Ashish Rai, Safiya Richardson, Rachel Schwartz, and Denny Yu recently began their year-long paid, post-doctoral fellowship.

The DSSF is a professional development opportunity for highly qualified, doctorally-prepared individuals who are interested in enhancing and applying their analytic skills to relevant and timely research topics in a delivery system setting. The ultimate goal of the Fellowship is to increase the capacity of the health services research workforce by using evidence to improve health and the performance of the health system.

“There is a growing need to develop robust research opportunities for talented researchers to contribute to the delivery system workforce,” said Dr. Erin Holve, AcademyHealth Senior Director of Research and Education in HSR. “Now in its fifth year, the DSSF has firmly established its role in partnering with the field’s leading health systems in order to develop future leaders and experts in improving quality and efficiency at the system level,” she added.

The 2015 Fellows were selected through a competitive process that included evaluation by a national expert peer review panel and host site preceptors. Brief biographies of each Fellow are as follows:

Kimberly Brunisholz, Ph.D., M.S.T.
Host Site: Intermountain Healthcare

Dr. Kimberly Brunisholz received her Ph.D. in public health in 2015 and her M.S.T. in science and technology in 2011 from the University of Utah. Her research has focused on quality improvement and program implementation and evaluation within a learning health care system. This fellowship position will allow Dr. Brunisholz to expand her work in program evaluation research to establish pragmatic study designs and analysis techniques for determining the impact and value of improving healthcare services delivery within the organization.

Ashish Rai, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., M.B.B.S.
Host Site: Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute

Dr. Ashish Rai recently received his Ph.D. in health services research and health policy (economics cognate) from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, Atlanta. Prior to his doctoral training, Dr. Rai earned his M.S.P.H. degree from Emory University and his medical degree from University of Allahabad, India. As a DSS Fellow, Dr. Rai plans to examine the feasibility of alternative payment models for oncology and the implications of payment innovations on cost and quality of cancer care.

Safiya Richardson, M.D., M.P.H.
Host Site: Hofstra North Shore – LIJ School of Medicine

Dr. Safiya Richardson received both her M.D. and M.P.H. from Columbia University. In June of 2015, she completed her residency in internal medicine at North Shore - Long Island Jewish, and currently practices primary care as a clinician educator within the health system. As a DSS Fellow, Dr. Richardson will work on a variety of projects within the health system, including deriving and validating a new clinical prediction rule, integrating a well validated clinical prediction rule into the health system’s electronic medical records, and usability testing of two electronically integrated clinical prediction rules.

Rachel Schwartz, Ph.D.
Host Site: Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute

Dr. Rachel Schwartz received her Ph.D. in communication sciences and disorders in 2015 from McGill University in Montreal. Her past research focused on disentangling the experiential and expressive factors that contribute to the negative social perception patients with Parkinson's disease face. As a DSS Fellow, Dr. Schwartz will explore how elements of the doctor-patient medical encounter contribute to health care outcomes and quality of care for immigrants and racial and ethnic minorities.

Denny Yu, Ph.D., M.S.E.
Host Site: Mayo Clinic

Dr. Denny Yu received his Ph.D. in Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan studying human factors in surgery. His undergraduate degree is in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He is an Assistant Professor of Health Care Systems Engineering and DSS Fellow at Mayo Clinic. As a DSS Fellow, Dr. Yu’s research will be at the interface of human factors engineering and healthcare delivery system science. His work focuses on developing intelligent health care delivery systems with novel sensors and wearables and aims to improve the safety and quality of health care for both patients and medical professionals.

The annual application cycle is now open, with applications being accepted through January 8, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Individuals stemming from the broad field of health services research in addition to delivery system science, public and population health fields are encouraged to apply.

For more information on the AcademyHealth Delivery System Science Fellowship, host sites, past fellows, and the 2016 application process, visit or contact

About AcademyHealth

AcademyHealth is a leading national organization serving the fields of health services and policy research and the professionals who produce and use this important work. Together with our members, we offer programs and services that support the development and use of rigorous, relevant and timely evidence to increase the quality, accessibility, and value of health care, to reduce disparities, and to improve health. A trusted broker of information, AcademyHealth brings stakeholders together to address the current and future needs of an evolving health system, inform health policy, and translate evidence into action