Student Biographies

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Rebecca BildenRebecca Bilden

Rebecca's Linkedin

Research interests: Rural health, health equity, access to care, opioid use disorder, health disparities

Biographical statement: Rebecca is a PhD student in the Health Services Research and Policy Program at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a graduate student researcher at the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory working under the supervision of Dr. Mark Roberts. Rebecca completed her undergraduate degree in Pure and Applied Mathematics at Boston University and her master’s degree in Applied Data Science and Statistics at the University of Exeter. Before moving to Pittsburgh, she worked for various startups as a data analyst and conducted research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the Division of Digital Psychiatry. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys hiking, gardening, and practicing yoga.  

Donald BourneDonald Bourne

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Research interests: Design and effects of healthcare payment systems; impacts of health insurance coverage; organization and quality of healthcare delivery; and use of quasi-experimental methods for causal inference in observational studies

Biographical statement: Donald Bourne is a MD-PhD student in Health Services Research and Policy through the Medical Science Training Program at the University of Pittsburgh on a NIH T32 grant. He is on a pre-doctoral TL1 Clinical and Translational Science Fellowship under the guidance of Drs. Lindsay Sabik and Eric Roberts. His dissertation research focuses on the Pennsylvania Rural Health Model.

Previously, Donald worked as a Research Associate for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Evidence Synthesis Program, where he conducted systematic reviews on health services research of particular interest to Veterans. He also has experience conducting clinical research in the emergency department and trauma intensive care unit settings. Donald holds an MPH in Epidemiology from Oregon Health & Science University and a BS in Microbiology from Oregon State University.

Rachel Butler

Rachel Butler

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Research interests: Medical decision making in serious illness and at the end-of-life; organization, management, and utilization of palliative care and end-of-life care services; patient-provider communication; implementation science; and health policy communication.

Biographical statement: Rachel Butler is a doctoral student in health services research and policy. She is a senior member of Dr. Douglas White’s Program on Ethics and Decision Making in Critical Illness within the Department of Critical Care Medicine’s CRISMA Center at the School of Medicine, where she manages research studies in the intensive care unit setting. Within HPM, Butler is working with Dr. Howard Degenholtz on examining the use of palliative care and hospice among dual-eligible beneficiaries in Pennsylvania. Butler grew up in Indiana where she obtained master’s degrees in health administration and in public health from the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health and worked as a research assistant for serious illness and end-of-life decision making research. In her “free time,” Butler is an active volunteer in Pittsburgh’s end-of-life and deathcare community and flexes her creative muscles by playing with yarn.

Sih-Ting CaiSih-Ting Cai

Sih-Ting Cai's Linkedin

Research interests: Intended and unintended consequences of social insurance program; the impacts of alternative payment models on care quality and utilization; and consolidation in health care markets.  

Biographical statement: Sih-Ting Cai is a doctoral student in health services research and policy, as well as a graduate student researcher at the Medicaid Research Center under Dr. Coleman Drake’s guidance. Sih-Ting’s research focuses on health insurance and health care financing. Her current projects examine the impacts of ongoing policy changes to the Health Insurance Marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act and how economic incentives shape the provision of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) care. 

Prior to her doctoral studies, Sih-Ting received her MPA in Health Policy Analysis from New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, where she researched the economic burden of ESRD and health effects of gentrification in New York City. She is also a registered nurse who developed an interest in health care system reform and alternative payment models while practicing in the United States, Australia, and Taiwan. 

Katherine CallawayKatherine Callaway Kim

Katherine Kim's Linkedin

Research interests: Pharmaceutical policy, drug supply chains, drug prices

Biographical statement: Katherine is a PhD student in the Department of Health Policy and Management. She currently also works with Dr. Katie Suda in the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing (CP3) group in the Department of Medicine. Katherine’s research interests include US and international pharmaceutical policy, especially for drugs used in the hospital.  She has extensive experience working with several large national and international claims and drug purchasing datasets. Katherine received both her B.S. and an M.P.H. in Biostatistics at Boston University. Previously, she worked as a SAS programmer/analyst in the Division of Health Policy and Insurance Research at Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Institute in Boston. 

Noelle CornelioNoelle Cornelio

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Research interests: Medicare-Medicaid dual eligibility policy; safety net programs; econometric methods; vulnerable populations

Biographical statement: Noelle Cornelio is a PhD student in the Department of Health Services Research and Policy at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Noelle’s research focuses on accessing the effects of changing Medicaid eligibility rules on enrollment, access to care, and utilization of health care services among low-income Medicare beneficiaries using econometric techniques. Noelle completed a summer fellowship at Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) during which she helped assess the quality of Medicaid data collected by the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). She is the first student in the department’s history to be awarded an AHRQ dissertation grant, 1 R36 HS027698-01A. She was a graduate student researcher under the mentorship of Dr. Lindsay Sabik for 4 years and a teaching assistant for an introductory health policy course for 2 years. Noelle previously worked at Pharmerit International, a health economics and outcomes research (HEOR) consulting company, where she built economic models, helped perform meta-analyses, and conducted literature reviews. She graduated as a Levine Scholar and with a BS in biology and economics from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2015.

Damian Da Costa

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Research interests:  Long-term care; housing policy; Medicaid managed care; Medicaid-enrolled public housing populations; Medicare/Medicaid dual-eligibles

Biographical statement: Damian is a researcher interested in the interaction of housing and health policy. His work on this topic began in his previous role as coordinator for a joint effort of the MacArthur Foundation, Columbia University, and the City of New York to investigate the health and social impacts of Bloomberg-era affordable housing policy. His research at Pitt focuses on the on the impact of HUD policy on Medicaid long-term care spending and use.

Damian's dissertation describes and models the use of long-term care (nursing home care and home-and-community-based services) among public housing residents in Pennsylvania. His three principal aims are to: 1) evaluate whether HUD supportive housing for the elderly is effective in delaying or preventing nursing home admission; 2) create an index of need for supportive services within the existing public housing population; and 3) model the relationship between regional housing supply and the ability of long-stay nursing home residents to transition safely back to community settings.

His broad research goal is to give policymakers rigorous planning and evaluation tools for improving the population health of vulnerable communities.

Haley DirectorHaley Director

Haley's Linkedin

Research interests: Genetic and genomic policy; carrier screening policies; genetic and genomic privacy; health equity; access to care; ethics

Biographical statement: Haley Director is a PhD student in Health Services Research and Policy at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health. She is originally from Sharon, MA and will likely invite you to go on a “Dunky run” when she is on campus. As a graduate student researcher under the mentorship of Dr. Brittany Brown-Podgorski, she will be researching health disparities and state-based labor laws. Prior to this program, Haley completed her MPH in Public Health Genetics with a Certificate in Health Equity at Pitt Public Health in 2022, where she was elected a member of Delta Omega, the national honorary society for public health. She received her BS in Biology, Chemistry, and Hispanic Studies from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA in 2020. Outside of Pitt, Haley serves as the APHA Genomics Forum Policy Chair and a public health genetics intern for the New England Regional Genetics Network (NERGN), combining her passions for genetics and health policy. In her spare time, Haley loves to watch sports, especially Bruins and Penguins hockey, spend time outside, read, and dance.

Stephanie Doran BrubakerStephanie Doran Brubaker

Stephanie's Linkedin

Research interests: Health equity, access to care, social determinants of health, public health ethics

Biographical statement: Stephanie Doran Brubaker is a PhD student in health services research and policy. She is a graduate student researcher at the University of Pittsburgh’s Medicaid Research Center under the guidance of Dr. Julie Donohue. Prior to coming to Pitt, she worked as a research coordinator at Evidence Foundation and as a Human Research Specialist at the Mass General Brigham Institutional Review Board. Stephanie holds an MPH from Yale University, as well as an MA in bioethics and a BA in psychology and cognitive science from Case Western Reserve University. 

Glenson FranceGlenson France

Research interests: Cost-effectiveness analysis, value of information analysis, game theory analysis of vaccination decisions, and health economics

Biographical statement: Glenson is a doctoral student in the Health Services Research and Policy Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health. He is originally from the island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. As a graduate student researcher, he will be working under the supervision of Dr. Mark Roberts in the Dynamics Laboratory. Glenson earned a BSc. and a MSc. in Economics from the University of the West Indies (Mona), and a MA in Economics from The Ohio State University. Most recently, he completed a Certificate in Clinical Research at Pitt's Clinical Research department in 2018.  Between 2010-2022, he taught economics at the University of Pittsburgh - Greensburg Campus, and joined the R01 flu modeling research group at Pitt Department of Family Medicine between 2016-2019. Outside of academics, Glenson is an ardent fan of many sports, an avid wood worker, and enjoys watching movies.

Alice GaoAlice Gao 

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Research interests: Substance use, cannabis legalization, vaping/electronic nicotine delivery systems, criminal justice, opioid use disorder

Biographical statement: Alice attended the University of Rochester for both her undergraduate and graduate education (BA in public health and psychology and MPH respectively). She then worked for Mathematica Policy Research in D.C. for three years, mainly developing, testing, and implementing quality measures for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She worked with multiple faculty members to help develop an opioid dashboard for the PA Department of Health before transitioning to research projects focused on opioid use disorder among pregnant women and child welfare outcomes with Dr. Marian Jarlenski. She is interested in assessing the public health impacts of cannabis legalization, vaping or electronic nicotine delivery systems use, and substance use disorders in vulnerable populations. She’s a big film buff and enjoys boxing to blow off steam, as well as trying to impress her emotionally unavailable cat. Feel free to reach out to her if you have any questions about the program. 

Alexandra GlynnAlexandra Glynn

Alexandra's Linkedin 

Research interests: Health insurance costs and health outcomes; pharmaceutical, medical device, and healthcare delivery technologies; chronic disease and diabetic populations; Medicare and Medicaid policy; econometric methods. 

Biographical statement: Alexandra Glynn is a PhD student in health services research and policy under the mentorship of Dr. Eric Roberts. As a graduate student researcher, her current projects utilize quasi-experimental design to examine the effects of subsidy programs for Medicare beneficiaries on prescription drug use and health outcomes, with a focus on diabetes and chronic disease populations. Her other work includes examining telehealth utilization among Medicare Advantage enrollees and investigating economic and social effects of new medical device use in children with type 1 diabetes. Prior to starting at Pitt, she spent several years as a research analyst in financial economics at the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, where she conducted data analyses for market risk research. Alexandra graduated with distinction from the University of Virginia in 2017 with a BA in Economics (concentration in public policy) and Government. 

Youngmin KwonYoungmin Kwon

Research interests: Access to care; cancer care; Medicaid;Dual Eligibles.

Biographical statement: Before coming to the program, Youngmin had worked as a research analyst at a healthcare consulting company in Bethesda, MD. For the first two years at Pitt, he assisted Dr. Donohue on a GSR project that evaluated the quality of opioid use disorder care in Medicaid across multiple states. Currently, his GSR is with Dr. Sabik and they are investigating the impact of the ACA/Medicaid expansion on various cancer outcomes using the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry. Younming is also interested in studying the role of insurance in facilitating access to cancer care and he hopes to write a dissertation involving cancer health services research as well. In his spare time, Youngmin likes to listen to and play a lot of music, visit cute coffee shops in Pittsburgh and watch a lot of figure skating.

Anna LewisAnna Lewis
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Research interests: Social determinants of health; healthcare service access and iniquities; Medicare and Medicaid policies; critical illness survivorship and outcomes.

Biographical statement: Anna Lewis (she/her) is a PhD student in the Department of Health Services Research and Policy at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health under the academic mentorship of Dr. Eric Roberts. As a graduate student researcher, Anna works with Dr. Evan Cole focusing on the healthcare utilization of homeless Medicaid beneficiaries as well as the effects of permanent supportive housing for recipients of Medicaid. Prior to returning to graduate school, Anna worked as a senior social worker at the Critical Illness Recovery Center at UPMC Mercy, one of the most comprehensive outpatient follow-up clinics for survivors of prolonged intensive care unit stays in the nation. Anna also worked as an inpatient palliative care social worker for several years. Anna received her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from The Pennsylvania State University in 2010. She attained her Master of Social Work degree with a certificate in mental health in 2012 from the University of Pittsburgh, and she is also a licensed clinical social worker.

Amy RaslevichAmy C. Raslevich

Amy's Linkedin

Research interests: Children’s health; health disparities and health services access inequities; Medicaid financing and policy and health-related legislative policy and regulation; integration of primary and behavioral health care services.

Biographical statement: Amy Raslevich is a graduate student researcher at the University of Pittsburgh’s Medicaid Research Center and a doctoral student in health services research and policy working under the guidance of Director Julie Donohue, Research Director Evan Cole, and Professor Marian Jarlenski. Raslevich has 30 years of work experience with a variety of health care providers, payers, and consulting organizations in administration, budgeting, strategic planning, data analytics, and policy and legislative analysis. She earned an MPP in health policy from the Sanford School of Public Policy and an MBA in health sector management from the Fuqua School of Business, both at Duke University where her master’s project focused on the evaluation of primary care school-based clinics. She holds a BS in economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania with concentrations in public policy management and health care management.