For Immediate Release:
May 9, 2019

Lauren Adams for AcademyHealth


Washington D.C. (May 9, 2019)—AcademyHealth announced today the 2019 winners of its Annual Awards program. The awards program recognizes individuals and projects that have made significant contributions to the fields of health services research and health policy, while supporting AcademyHealth’s mission to improve health and the delivery of health care. AcademyHealth will honor and recognize the recipients of these prestigious awards at a special Presidential Session at the 2019 Annual Research Meeting, on Monday, June 3, in Washington D.C.

Distinguished Career Award
Diane Rowland, Sc.D.

Diane Rowland is executive vice president at the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation and is an Adjunct Professor of Health Policy and Management in the Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is a nationally recognized health policy expert with a distinguished career in public policy and research focusing on health insurance coverage, access to care, and health financing for low-income, elderly, and disabled populations. From 1991-2016, Dr. Rowland served as Executive Director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, now the Kaiser Program on Medicaid and the Uninsured. She oversees the foundation’s health policy analytic work on Medicaid, Medicare, private health insurance, HIV and global health policy, women’s health policy, and disparities. A noted authority on Medicare, Medicaid, and health policy, she testifies frequently and has published widely on these issues. Dr. Rowland served on the board of AcademyHealth’s predecessor organization, the Association for Health Services Research, from 1996 to 2000 and was the president from 1999-2000. In 2000, when AcademyHealth was established Dr. Rowland served on the AcademyHealth board from 2000-2003. From 2009-2015, Dr. Rowland served as the inaugural Chair of the congressionally-authorized Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) established to advise Congress on issues related to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Dr. Rowland is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and holds a doctor of science degree from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University. 

The Distinguished Career Award recognizes investigators who have made significant and lasting contributions to the field of health services research through scholarship, teaching, advancement of science and methods, and leadership.

Health Services Research (HSR) Impact Awards
Impact, Mechanisms, and Design of the Medicare ACO Programs
J. Michael McWilliams, M.D., Ph.D.

The research examining Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) by J. Michael McWilliams and key team members Michael Chernew, Bruce Landon, and Laura Hatfield spans 30 papers over 7 years. The body of work by McWilliams and colleagues have provided critically needed evidence to judge the merits of the ACO model and its future. Their studies extend far beyond standard evaluative work to identify key considerations and provide empirical guidance on many issues from risk adjustment to unintended impacts to importance of participation. Dr. McWilliams and his colleagues’ finding that physician group ACOs have outperformed health systems has changed the conversation and led to proposals treating hospital-based and physician-group ACOs differently.

J. Michael McWilliams is the Warren Alpert Foundation Professor of Health Care Policy and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also a practicing general internist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. McWilliams’ research spans questions related to health care spending, quality, access, and disparities, with an overarching goal of informing the development of systems, markets, and regulatory policy that support value and equity in health care. Dr. McWilliams received his BS with highest distinction in biology as a Morehead Scholar from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his MD magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School, and his PhD in Health Policy from Harvard University. He completed his residency in general internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

California Health Interview Survey
Ninez A. Ponce, Ph.D., M.P.P.

The California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) is housed at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR), a center of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. CHIS is the nation’s largest continuous state-based population health survey, collecting information from approximately 20,000 households annually, CHIS and the CHPR, founded by the late Professor E. Richard Brown,  have formed the foundation for trusted yet independent relationships with governments at all levels, legislators, and non-governmental agencies and organizations.  CHIS has provided data for analytic models, policy briefs, media releases, and formal and informal briefings. Because of CHIS, reliable information has been collected for nearly two decades from people whose voices would have otherwise not been heard. For example, CHIS collects data in seven languages, and ensures inclusion of historically marginalized populations such as LGBTQ, and recent immigrants. The inclusion of multiple languages and racial/ethnic minority oversamples was a goal of Dr. Ponce’s from the onset of CHIS, and is rooted in her commitment to health equity.

Dr. Ponce is director of the UCLA CHPR and principal investigator of the CHIS. Dr. Ponce is a professor in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management. She helped develop the first CHIS in 2001, and has led numerous pioneering efforts in multicultural survey research, including measures of racial/ethnic identity, acculturation, generational status, and discrimination. Dr. Ponce has contributed extensively to professional societies and committees focused on racial/ethnic disparities research, such as the National Quality Forum Disparities Standing Committee and the National Academy of Medicine Subcommittee on the Standardized Collection of Race, Ethnicity, and Language Data; and she helped launch the first AcademyHealth Disparities Interest Group. She holds a bachelor’s degree in science from UC Berkeley, a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in health services from UCLA.

The HSR Impact Award recognizes research that has had a significant impact on health and health care. The award is intended to identify and promote examples of outstanding research that has been successfully translated into health policy, management, or clinical practice in order to address cost, quality, access, equity and/or patient outcomes and the delivery of care.

Alice S. Hersh Emerging Leader Award
Brendan Saloner, Ph.D.

Brendan Saloner is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. His research primarily focuses on access and quality of care for people with behavioral health disorders, with a special focus on substance use disorder treatment for Medicaid beneficiaries. Dr. Saloner has investigated the impact of federal and state policies regarding insurance coverage and benefit design related to substance use disorders on access to care and outcomes related to treatment. He has served as principal investigator on grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Arnold Ventures, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the US Department of Justice. His research has been featured in major media outlets including NPR, CNN, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Vox. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a PhD in Health Policy from Harvard University. He completed the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Alice S. Hersh Emerging Leader Award recognizes scholars early in their careers as health services researchers who show exceptional promise for future contributions to the field.

Publication-of-the-Year Award
Effect of Peer Comparison Letters for High-Volume Primary Care Prescribers of Quetiapine in Older and Disabled Adults: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Adam Sacarny, Ph.D.

The award-winning publication, “Effect of Peer Comparison Letters for High-Volume Primary Care Prescribers of Quetiapine in Older and Disabled Adults: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” was published in JAMA Psychiatry in October 2018. The objective of the study was to investigate if peer comparison review letters targeting high-volume primary care prescribers of the antipsychotic medication quetiapine meaningfully reduced their prescribing. The study found that these letters caused substantial and durable reductions in quetiapine prescribing, with no detected negative effects on patients. The study was co-authored by Michael L. Barnett, Jackson Le, Frank Tetkoski, David Yokum, and Shantanu Agrawal.

Dr. Sacarny, the lead author, is an assistant professor of Health Policy and Management at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. He is also a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and holds affiliations with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and the Office of Evaluation Sciences. His research explores the relationship between health care payment policy, provider and patient decision-making, and clinical quality. Much of this work involves using randomized controlled trials to test interventions in the health care delivery system. His research on health care providers has studied the effects of behavioral interventions on overprescribing, the adoption of hospital documentation and coding practices, and the relationship between hospital clinical outcomes and market share. Dr. Sacarny received his Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was previously a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at Harvard University.

The Publication-of-the-Year Award recognizes the best and most relevant peer-reviewed, scientific work that the fields of health services research and health policy have produced and published in the prior calendar year.

Outstanding Dissertation Award
Insurance Coverage for Pregnant Women: Assessing Patterns, Policy Impacts, and Methods for Evaluation

Jamie Daw, Ph.D.

The winning dissertation, “Insurance Coverage for Pregnant Women: Assessing Patterns, Policy Impacts, and Methods for Evaluation,” includes two applied studies on health insurance coverage for pregnant women in the United States and one methodological contribution to the field of health services research. Chapter one of the dissertation describes patterns of insurance coverage for pregnant women using national longitudinal survey data from 2005 to 2013. Chapter two estimates the association between the Affordable Care Act’s dependent coverage provision, which allowed young adults to enroll in their parent’s plan until age 26, and payment for birth, prenatal care use, and infant birth outcomes among unmarried and married women. Chapter three uses a simulation to estimate the bias that can be introduced by applying matching to difference-in-differences.

Jamie Daw is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Her applied research examines how health insurance coverage policies affect health care utilization, costs, health outcomes, and health disparities. She is particularly interested in how policies affect the ability of women and families to maintain continuous coverage and access to care in the period surrounding childbirth. In addition to applied research, she also conducts methodological research with the aim to reduce uncertainty around common challenges in health policy evaluation. Dr. Daw received her master’s degree in population and public health from the University of British Columbia and her PhD in health policy from Harvard University.

The Outstanding Dissertation Award honors an outstanding scientific contribution from a doctoral thesis in health services research or health policy.


About the Annual Research Meeting

For more than 30 years, AcademyHealth's Annual Research Meeting has been the premier forum for health services research, where more than 2,500 attendees gather to discuss the health policy and health system implications of research findings, sharpen research methods, and network with colleagues from around the world. The 2019 Annual Research Meeting is being held June 2-4 in Washington D.C. For more information or to register, visit the ARM webpage.

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. Learn more at and follow us on Twitter @AcademyHealth.