Student Biographies

Please follow the links to find publications and more information.

Rachel Butler

linkedin.com/in/rachel-butler-mha-mph-65090023

rachel.butler@pitt.edu

Research interests: Medical decision making at the end-of-life; organization, management, and utilization of end-of-life care services; patient-provider communication; and health policy communication

Biographical statement: Rachel Butler is a doctoral student in health services research and policy in the Department of Health Policy and Management, under the advisement of Nicholas Castle. She is a full-time member of Douglas White’s program on ethics and decision making within the Department of Critical Care Medicine’s CRISMA Center at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where she manages clinical research studies in the intensive care unit setting. She previously worked with Amber Barnato in the Division of General Internal Medicine, Section of Decision Sciences, managing projects focused on end-of-life decision making. Butler grew up in Indiana where she obtained a master of health administration and master of public health degrees from the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health and worked as a research assistant for Susan Hickman at the IU School of Nursing. Her research interests include medical decision making at the end-of-life; organization, management, and utilization of end-of-life care services; patient-provider communication; and health policy communication.

Noelle Cornelio

noc17@pitt.edu

Research interests: Economic modeling, systematic literature reviews, pharmacoeconomics, and Medicare and Medicaid policy

Biographical statement: Noelle Cornelio is a first-year PhD student in health services research and policy at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. She is currently a GSR under Lindsay Sabik looking at the changes in the dual Medicare-Medicaid senior population. She 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 in Charlotte in 2015.

Kirsten Eom

kirsten.eom@pitt.edu

Research interests: Policy analysis; cancer prevention and control; cancer health disparities; health insurance and health outcomes

Biographical statement: Kirsten Eom is a PhD student in health services research and policy at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management. Having experienced different health systems around the world, Eom became more cognizant of the invisible yet tangible attributes of systems and pursued her master’s degree in public health at Brown University. Prior to her time in Pittsburgh, she focused on evaluation of health systems response and capacity to the older adult population, particularly in the areas of quality of chronic condition management, long-term care services, and integration of post-acute health and social services. Currently, she is investigating the effect of state health reform in Massachusetts on staging at diagnosis and guideline-concordant treatments among breast and colorectal cancer patients under the supervision of Lindsay M. Sabik. Eom is also closely looking at the guideline-concordant screening behaviors after the effect of Massachusetts health reform in 2006 and expanding her work to frameworks of other health reforms in the U.S. Kirsten is a lover of building intricate models, and this extends to statistical analysis, computer programming, and physical objects such as Nanoblocks.

Alice Gao

yig28@pitt.edu

linkedin.com/in/yitong-alice-gao-mph

Research interests: Opioid prescribing and social, economic, and clinical outcomes related to opioid prescribing, Medicare and Medicaid policy, program evaluation, quality improvement

Biographical statement: Alice Gao is a first year PhD student in health services research and policy at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health. She is currently working with Julie Donohue and other faculty on a statewide opioid dashboard project. She previously worked at Mathematica Policy Research in D.C., where she helped develop and test quality measures. She has a BA in public health and an MPH from the University of Rochester. She recently adopted her first cat and is trying to find ways of being worthy of her cat’s attention.

Mara Hollander

mhollander@pitt.edu

Research interests: Mental health and substance abuse services access, utilization, cost, financing, and workforce; Medicaid and Medicare financing and policy; integration of mental and physical health services financing and delivery; health economics; reproductive health services and policy

Biographical statement: Mara Hollander is a graduate student researcher at the University of Pittsburgh’s Medicaid Research Center and a doctoral student in health services research and policy. Under the guidance of Director Julie Donohue and Research Director Evan Cole, she has supported research involving the mental health workforce in Pennsylvania, low-value imaging, utilization of autism services, and emergency department utilization. Previously, Hollander worked in public opinion research, leading and supporting communications-oriented research for state health exchanges, federal public health agencies, large public health and health care non-profits, UN agencies, and health insurance companies. She has a BA from Georgetown University, where she received honors in government studying the influence of Republican women in state legislatures on policies limiting access to abortion.

Tumader Khouja

tuk4@pitt.edu

Research interests: Health economics, dental public health, cost-effectiveness analysis and decision making in dentistry, health care in the Middle East and North Africa region, with a special focus on the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

Biographical statement: Tumader Khouja is a PhD student in health services research and policy at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management. She received her master’s degree in public health in December 2013 through the Multidisciplinary Master’s of Public Health program, Pitt Public Health. She also obtained a certificate in health system leadership and management. Prior to coming to Pittsburgh, Khouja worked as a dentist and a demonstrator in the department of dental public health, faculty of dentistry, King AbdulAziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which is sponsoring her post graduate studies.

Praveen Kumar

prk52@pitt.edu

Research interests: Decision science, health policy, pharmacoeconomics, modeling and simulation methods

Biographical statement: Praveen Kumar is a first-year doctoral student in health services research and policy at Graduate School of Public Health. Under the guidance of Mark Roberts and Adrian Lee, he is currently working as a GSR on an economic analysis of an infection prevention program. Prior to joining graduate school, he was working with Novartis in health economic modeling team based out of India. His main responsibilities included building early cost-effectiveness and budget impact models. He completed his graduation in textile technology from IIT Delhi, India.

Cassandra Leighton

cal159@pitt.edu

linkedin.com/in/cassandraleighton

Research interests: New models of care delivery, interprofessional practice, healthcare organizations and systems, provider networks and access, quality improvement, and health economics

Biographical statement: Cassandra Leighton is a graduate student researcher with the Health Policy Institute and a doctoral student in health services research and policy at the University of Pittsburgh. Her current interests revolve around increasing healthcare access and quality through innovative and efficient care team design, care delivery models, and effective economic incentives. Under the guidance of her advisor, Everette James, Leighton is currently working on a variety of projects involving interprofessional practice models within the UPMC system; Medicaid home- and community-based provider networks; accountable care organizations; and telehealth programs and interventions. Prior to her time with the Health Policy Institute, Leighton provided workforce retraining education to support population health initiatives across the United States at a subsidiary of a regional BlueCross plan.

Amy C. Raslevich

amy.raslevich@pitt.edu

linkedin.com/in/amy-raslevich/

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

Ray Van Cleve

rgv4@pitt.edu

Research interests: Home and community based services, Medicaid, health systems engineering

Biographical statement: Ray Van Cleve is a third year doctoral student. He has enjoyed working with Howard Degenholtz on the MRC’s Medicaid research, specifically focusing on Medicaid waivers. He has also volunteered with the Allegheny County Health Department.