For Immediate Release:
November 20, 2018
Lauren Adams

Washington, D.C. November 20, 2018—AcademyHealth announced today the five individuals selected for the 2018 AcademyHealth Delivery System Science Fellowship (DSSF) and their respective placements. Drs. Audrey Johnson, Claire O’Hanlon, Elisabeth Schaffer, Savyasachi Shah, and Maria Yefimova recently began their year-long paid, postdoctoral Fellowship at four of the nation’s leading health systems this fall.

Now in its eighth year, 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 providing experiential-learning opportunities in delivery system settings.  

“AcademyHealth has a longstanding commitment to promoting professional development and generating evidence about how to improve outcomes, quality of care, and the provider and patient experience,” said AcademyHealth Vice President Dr. Margo Edmunds. “This unique fellowship program allows talented researchers to engage with mentors and colleagues in the nation’s leading healthcare delivery systems, leading to new knowledge and new opportunities for innovation and professional growth.”

The 2018 Fellows were selected through a competitive process that included evaluation by a national expert peer review panel and host site preceptors. We are now accepting applications for the 2019 cycle, through January 14, 2019. Individuals from across the broad field of health services research in addition to delivery system science, and public and population health fields are encouraged to apply. For more information, and to apply, visit

Brief biographies of the 2018 Fellows are as follows:

Audrey Johnson, PT, DPT

Host Site: Kaiser Permanente Northwest

Dr. Johnson graduated from the University of Kentucky Physical Therapy program with her Master's degree in 2007 and completed her PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Kentucky. This interprofessional PhD program enabled her to work closely with scholars in all rehabilitation disciplines as well as in the hospital enterprise and in public health.  Her career experience includes diverse practice as a physical therapist in acute care, acute rehabilitation, outpatient, aquatics, wound care, and providing care in a multidisciplinary ALS clinic. Her dissertation work evaluated a quality improvement project where a physical therapist was added to an existing interprofessional care transition team for hospitalized general medicine patients.

Claire E. O’Hanlon, Ph.D.

Host Site: Department of Veterans Affairs Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation & Policy in Los Angeles.

Dr. O’Hanlon is a health services, economics, and policy researcher experienced in applied quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. She is a postdoctoral fellowship in health services research at the Veterans Affairs Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation & Policy in Los Angeles. Dr. O’Hanlon received her doctorate in policy analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School. During her doctoral studies, she worked as an assistant policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and served as a student liaison for RAND Health. She has authored 12 peer-reviewed articles, including serving as lead author of publications in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Systematic Reviews, Journal of Palliative Medicine, Clinical Therapeutics, and Medical Decision Making Policy & Practice. Her work has been cited in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Hill, congressional testimony, and numerous health care trade publications and military news sources. O’Hanlon received a Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago Harris School, a certificate in health administration and policy from the University of Chicago, and a B.S. in engineering from Harvey Mudd College. Dr. O'Hanlon's research interests include aging, long-term care, and the end of life; health care markets and consolidation; and emerging health technologies.

Elisabeth Schaffer, Ph.D.

Host Site: Data Science to Patient Value Initiative, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Dr. Elisabeth (Beth) Schaffer completed her doctoral degree in Health Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research revolves around discovering ways to help patients, providers, and policymakers make better decisions about health.

Much of Beth’s prior research experience has focused on topics of global relevance. She has interned and consulted for the World Health Organization, the Global Forum for Health Research, and the World Bank. Domestically, she has focused on treatment and end-of-life care strategies for patients with advanced cancer.

Savyasachi Shah, B.D.S, M.P.H.

Host Site: DentaQuest Institute

With his education in Dentistry, Public Health and Health Economics, Dr. Shah's research interests include the comparative effectiveness of oral health care delivery models, cost-effectiveness of preventive procedures, outcomes research, decision analysis, predictive modeling and use of prescription opioids in dental practices and oral health service utilization.

Maria Yefimova, Ph.D., R.N.

Host Site: Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Services Research and Development Service (HSR&D) – Palo Alto

Dr. Maria Yefimova earned her Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degrees in Nursing from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She completed her post-doctoral fellowship in the National Clinician Scholars Program at UCLA, among the first nurses to receive health services research training alongside physicians in the legacy of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholars Program.

Dr. Yefimova is a nurse researcher interested addressing multi-morbidity, disability, social and palliative needs of older patients through system redesign. Her research focuses on emergent technological solutions, such as remote health monitoring and predictive analytics. She is a health services researcher with the HSR&D Center for Innovation to Implementation (Ci2i) at VA Palo Alto Healthcare System. She also has a position with the Office of Research, Patient Care Services at Stanford Healthcare.


About the DSSF Fellowship
The goal of the DSSF Fellowship is to provide hands-on training and professional opportunities for highly qualified researchers with a background in health services research (HSR) or related fields to enhance analytic skills and ultimately increase the capacity of the HSR workforce. To learn more about the AcademyHealth DSSF Fellowship, 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.