AcademyHealth Announces Five Scholars to Bring System Science Expertise to Public Health Issues

For Immediate Release:
June 8, 2016
Raina Sheth

Washington, D.C. (June 8, 2016)— Today AcademyHealth announced five new Systems Science Scholars who will bring critical research expertise to bear on systems-level challenges affecting the nation’s public health.

“There is great potential for systems science to inform positive changes to the nation’s health care system,” said Kate Papa, director of AcademyHealth’s public and population health program. “This program gives us a unique opportunity to coordinate with other disciplines in health and create solutions for the multifaceted health care and public health issues we face as a nation. Systems science methodologies are well suited to address a range of health issues, and health services research would benefit from integrating systems science methodologies into its toolbox.”

The Systems Science Scholarship is designed to stimulate systems-level approaches to complex social, behavioral, and environmental influences that contribute to ill health in the U.S. and ultimately contribute innovative solutions in overcoming them. While the field of health services and policy research has contributed a vast evidence base, systems science has not been used to its potential to inform changes to the nation’s health care system.

With support from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a selection committee composed of leaders in both systems science and population health, five scholars were selected from a competitive and diverse pool of applicants.

The 2016 Systems Science Scholars are:

  • Brian Castellani, Ph.D., M.A., Professor of Sociology, Kent State University
  • Leah Frerichs, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Philippe J. Giabbanelli, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Northern Illinois University
  • Sheng Li, Ph.D., M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor of Systems Science, Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York
  • Alexandra Elizabeth Nielsen, M.S., Analyst, Systems and Data Analysis, LLC

Scholars will receive travel stipends to attend AcaemyHealth's Annual Research Meeting (ARM) and Public Health Services Research Interest Group Meeting(PHSR IG) in June in Boston and will also have the opportunity to participate in networking events to introduce systems methods and foster collaboration around systems-level approach to population-level questions.

About the ARM and PHSR IG
For more than 30 years, AcademyHealth's ARM has been the premier forum for health services research where more than 2,500 attendees gather to discuss health policy implications, sharpen research methods, and network with colleagues from around the world. AcademyHealth's PHSR IG, which includes membership of more than 3,500 public health practitioners, federal agency staff, students and policymakers with an interest in exploring and enhancing the public health system, convenes for its annual meeting immediately preceding the ARM.

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. For additional publications and resources, visit and follow us on Twitter @AcademyHealth and @PHSR_AH.