For Immediate Release:
June 30, 2020
Lauren Adams

Washington D.C. (June 30, 2020)—AcademyHealth announced today the 2020 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 for all. AcademyHealth will honor and recognize the recipients of these prestigious awards at its virtual 2020 Annual Research Meeting beginning July 28.

Distinguished Career Award
David A. Asch, M.D., M.B.A.

David Asch is the Executive Director of the Center for Health Care Innovation and the John Morgan Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His research combines elements of economic analysis with moral and psychological theory and marketing in the field now called behavioral economics. He is the author of more than 400 published papers.

He teaches health policy at the Wharton School and he practices internal medicine at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where he created, and from 2001 to 2012 directed, the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion—the Department of Veterans Affairs’ national center to support vulnerable populations and reduce racial disparities. He created, and from 2001 to 2014 directed, the RWJF Health & Society Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania. From 1998 to 2012 he was executive director of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.

Dr. Asch received AcademyHealth’s Alice Hersh Award (1997) and its Publication-of-the-Year Award (2016 and 2020). He also received the VA Under Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research (2008), the Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges (2009), the John M. Eisenberg National Award for Career Achievement in Research from the Society of General Internal Medicine (2010), and the David E. Rogers Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges (2018). He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Dr. Asch received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, his medical degree from Weill-Cornell Medical College, and his M.B.A. in health care management and decision sciences from the Wharton School. He was a resident in internal medicine and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation clinical scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. 

The Distinguished Career Award is AcademyHealth’s highest career award, recognizing leaders who have made significant and lasting contributions to the field of health services research through advancement of science and methods, leadership, mentorship, scholarship and teaching, and the application of health services and policy evidence to improve health and health care.

Health Services Research (HSR) Impact Award
Evidence-Based Community Health Worker Program Addresses Unmet Social Needs and Generates Positive Return On Investment
Shreya Kangovi, Ph.D.

Shreya Kangovi is the Executive Director of the Penn Center for Community Health Workers and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine. Dr. Kangovi is one of the nation’s leading experts on evidence-based programs to address the social determinants of health. Dr. Kangovi led the team that designed IMPaCT (Individualized Management for Patient-Centered Targets), a program that leverages community health to improve health. Dr. Kangovi developed IMPaCT through rigorous formative science and then tested the model in three separate randomized controlled trials, which showed the program improved health, quality of care, and resulted in a $2.47 return for every dollar invested by Medicaid. IMPaCT is now the most widely disseminated community health worker program in the United States. It is being replicated across 18 different states by organizations like Veterans Health Administration, state Medicaid programs, integrated health care organizations, and Walmart.

Dr. Kangovi began this work a decade ago with community-engaged participatory action research, interviewing 1,500 people and using their input to design IMPaCT. The randomized trials of IMPaCT, published in JAMA Internal Medicine and the American Journal of Public Health, demonstrated that IMPaCT improved quality of care and mental health while reducing hospital days by 65 percent. Dr. Kangovi recently used her randomized trial data in a cost analysis showing an annual savings of $4,200 per Medicaid beneficiary.

Dr. Kangovi also founded a center of excellence to support ongoing research and dissemination, and raised $30 million for this work. Her team has built practical dissemination tools including standardized playbooks, hiring algorithms, training courses, and enabling software. These tools have allowed the center to directly serve more than 10,000 patients in Philadelphia and to support the growth of IMPaCT programs across the country. The result is a diverse set of community health worker programs from rural Appalachia to the Bronx – all using a common, evidence-based protocol, and infrastructure.

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
Rachel R. Hardeman, Ph.D.

Rachel R. Hardeman is an Associate Professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. She is a reproductive health equity researcher whose program of research applies the tools of population health science and health services research to elucidate a critical and complex determinant of health inequity—racism. Dr. Hardeman leverages the frameworks of critical race theory and reproductive justice to inform her equity-centered work which aims to build the empirical evidence of racism’s impact on health particularly for Black birthing people and their babies.

Published in journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the American Journal of Public Health, Dr. Hardeman’s research has elicited important conversations on the topics of culturally-centered care, police brutality, and structural racism as a fundamental cause of health inequities. Her overarching goal is to contribute to a body of knowledge that links structural racism to health in a tangible way, identifies opportunities for intervention, and dismantles the systems, structures, and institutions that allow inequities to persist.

Dr. Hardeman is the 2019 awardee of the Dr. Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award from the University of Minnesota and the 2020 recipient of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASSPH) Early Career Public Health Research Award. She was recently selected as a McKnight Presidential Fellow awarded for her excellence in research, scholarship, and leadership. She is also active locally and nationally with organizations that seek to achieve health equity such as the Minnesota Maternal Mortality Review Committee and the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood of the North Central States.

Dr. Hardeman earned her M.P.H. and Ph.D. from the Division of Health Policy & Management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and a B.S. in Chemistry and Spanish from Xavier University of Louisiana.

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
Patient Safety Outcomes Under Flexible and Standard Resident Duty-Hour Rules

Jeffrey H. Silber, M.D., Ph.D. & David A. Asch, M.D., M.B.A.

Patient Safety Outcomes Under Flexible and Standard Resident Duty-Hour Rules was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in March 2019. The study aimed to address concerns that extended shifts in medical residency programs may adversely affect patient safety. The authors randomized 63 U.S. internal medicine programs to either the existing resident duty hour rules or a more flexible set of rules that eliminated shift-length restrictions. The study found that allowing program directors flexibility in adjusting duty-hour schedules for trainees did not adversely affect 30-day mortality or several other measured outcomes of patient safety. 

Jeffrey H. Silber, the lead author, is the Nancy Abramson Wolfson Professor of Health Services Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He is Professor of Pediatrics and Anesthesiology & Critical Care at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and Professor of Health Care Management at The Wharton School. Dr. Silber helped establish The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Outcomes Research in 1997 and has served as its director since its inception. Dr. Silber created the quality of care measure Failure-to-Rescue (FTR) in 1990. He has helped develop numerous outcome metrics including Prolonged Length of Stay, Conditional Length of Stay, and the Omega measure, and tools for assessing hospital quality of care using multivariate matching, including Template Matching and Indirect Standardization Matching. This is the third AcademyHealth Article-of-the-Year that Dr. Silber has co-authored.

David A. Asch, the study’s Principle Investigator, is the executive director of the Center for Health Care Innovation and the John Morgan Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. This is the second AcademyHealth Article-of-the-Year that Dr. Asch has co-authored. He is also this year’s recipient of the AcademyHealth Distinguished Career Award.

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 Awards
Prediction with Systematically Missing Data: Methods for Health Plan Payment and Cancer Stage Classification

Savannah Bergquist, Ph.D.

The winning dissertation, “Prediction with Systematically Missing Data: Methods for Health Plan Payment and Cancer Stage Classification,” assesses two approaches for leveraging data in plan payment risk adjustment, and evaluates lung cancer stage classification algorithms and subsequently estimates survival outcomes. The study demonstrated the feasibility of employing machine learning methods to classify early versus late stage lung cancer. Missing data is a common barrier in health services research and has important implications for both health plan payment policy and cancer outcomes research. The dissertation examined how data can be leveraged to achieve efficiency and fairness goals in individual health insurance markets, and using health insurance claims data to identify cancer stage.

Savannah Bergquist is a postdoctoral scholar at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on developing methods to produce evidence for policymaking in settings where data are systematically missing. Dr. Bergquist currently works on interdisciplinary health services research projects spanning health economics, sociology, and data science.

Continuity of Health Insurance Under the Affordable Care Act: Evidence from Public and Private Markets in Colorado and Utah
Sarah Gordon, Ph.D.

The winning dissertation, “Continuity of Health Insurance under the Affordable Care Act: Evidence from Public and Private Markets in Colorado and Utah,” assessed the continuity of health insurance under the ACA in private and public health insurance markets. This dissertation found that Marketplace cost-sharing reductions were associated with lower midyear dropout from ACA Marketplaces and that Medicaid expansion was associated with improved continuity of Medicaid coverage. She also found that among pregnant women, Medicaid expansion was associated with improved stability of Medicaid coverage and increased outpatient utilization in the postpartum period. There has been limited research evaluating the impact of the ACA on continuity of coverage, and no study has done so using state-wide claims data. This dissertation leveraged all payer administrative claims databases from Colorado and Utah and is the first to combine more than one all payer claims database, an important step in expanding their utility in health services research.

Sarah Gordon is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Law, Policy, and Management at the Boston University School of Public Health. Her research is dedicated to studying coverage and access to care among low-income populations, with a particular emphasis on Medicaid policy. Her work seeks to understand how the fragmentation of the U.S. health insurance system impacts utilization, quality, and continuity of care. She received her doctorate in Health Services Research from the Brown University School of Public Health and a M.S. in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

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