For Immediate Release:
August 30, 2017
Lauren Adams

Washington, D.C. (8/30/17) – AcademyHealth today named Christina Bethell Ph.D. and Gregory Downing, DO, Ph.D., senior scholars in residence. Both began their terms in August.  

As senior scholars in residence, Bethell and Downing will share their expertise and build collaborations on behalf of AcademyHealth and its members in the areas of child and adolescent health and digital health care and innovation.

“Christina and Greg bring unique and distinct professional experiences to AcademyHealth and share in common a reputation for bringing creative and passionate stakeholders together to address large, complex issues in health and health care,” said AcademyHealth President and CEO Lisa Simpson.

Bethell, a national leader in child health and wellness research, is the founder of the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, the National Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health and the Maternal and Child Health Measurement Research Network. She is currently Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health. As a senior scholar, she will focus on advancing research, education and policy action related to  child and family health and wellbeing; including building capacity in the field of health services research to effectively address social determinants of health and address the well-being of professionals themselves.

“AcademyHealth has been pivotal in the development of my career since 1990. It is an honor to bring the work of the CAHMI related to child, family, population and systems level measurement to collaborate with AcademyHealth in advancing concrete policies and practices to promote child well-being and address social and emotional determinants of health,” said Bethell

Downing, a physician, entrepreneur and health data innovator, is the former Executive Director for Innovation in the Office of the Secretary at the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the founder of the HHS IDEA Lab and co-founder of Health Datapalooza, now an AcademyHealth annual event. During his time as a senior scholar, Downing will provide guidance and support data science applications in health care, and pursue projects that enhance the value of data and technology to support the work of AcademyHealth, its members and the needs of the field.

“The impact of data and information technologies in health and health care is far-reaching and, taken together, they represent a dynamic force behind the redesign of care delivery methods and systems.  The promise of these benefits, however, will be unfilled without scholarly analysis and research to provide context and meaning to understand their value,” said Downing. “Collectively, the AcademyHealth community is well-positioned to embrace this opportunity with evidence-based insights, methods, and critical thinking and thereby inform the policies and practices that underpin the emerging era of quantitative health care.” 

The AcademyHealth Senior Scholars Program includes long- and short-term opportunities for senior leaders in the field of health services research to work ‘in residence’ at AcademyHealth’s, Washington, D.C. offices. Scholars experience first-hand the role that health services research plays in informing national policy issues and gain access to policymakers, thought-leaders and AcademyHealth staff.

“The senior scholar program is an opportunity for members at the pinnacle of their careers to step outside their day-to-day and explore an idea or project from a new perspective, drawing on the resources and expertise of AcademyHealth and its nationwide network of members; all while continuing to pursue their own research and programs,” said Simpson. “But it’s also a service. The Scholars help expand our capacity and understanding in areas of strategic importance to AcademyHealth and the field.”

More information on the program as well as a list of former senior scholars is available here.


About the AcademyHealth Senior Scholars Program
The Senior Scholar in Residence Program provides an opportunity for AcademyHealth members to experience first-hand the role that health services research can play in informing national policy issues. The program provides an opportunity for the Senior Scholars to deepen their understanding of how health services research informs national policy; brings new and innovative thinking and research to national policy discussions; and increases interactions between AcademyHealth members and staff in order to increase their mutual understanding of key health issues and to help them better serve the field. To learn more about the AcademyHealth Senior Scholars in Residence Program, visit

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.