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Ira Moscovice, Ph.D., Director

mosco001@umn.edu
Ira Moscovice

Dr. Moscovice is the Mayo Professor and Head of the Division of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota. He has been the director of the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center since its inception in 1992.

Education

  • Ph.D., Administrative Sciences, Yale University, 1976
  • M.S., Operations Research, Columbia University, 1971
  • B.S.E.E., Electrical Engineering, City College of New York, 1969

Experience

Dr. Moscovice has more than 30 years of experience conducting rural health research. He has served as the principal investigator for numerous rural health projects funded by federal and state agencies and private foundations, including the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Northwest Area Foundation.

He was a Co-Principal Investigator for the Multi-Center National Evaluation of the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program from 1999-2003 and currently serves as the Principal Investigator for the 2003-2013 Flex Program Monitoring Team.

He has served on numerous rural health and health services research and policy advisory committees for federal agencies and private foundations, including the Committee on the Future of Rural Health Care and the Access to Health Care Services Monitoring Committee of the Institute of Medicine; the Health Services Research Study Section of Agency for Health Care Research and Quality; and the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Coming Home Program.

Research Interests

  • Development of rural quality and patient safety measures
  • Implementation of quality and patient safety initiatives in rural environments
  • The operation and financing of small rural hospitals
  • Evaluation of alternative rural health care delivery systems

Awards

  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, 2002
  • First recipient of the Distinguished Researcher Award from the National Rural Health Association, 1992

Michelle Casey, M.S., Deputy Director

mcasey@umn.edu
Michelle Casey

Ms. Casey is a Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director of the Rural Health Research Center, where she has worked since 1994.

Education

  • M.S., Urban and Regional Planning, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 1982
  • B.A., Anthropology, Grinnell College, 1976

Experience

Ms. Casey has more than 30 years of experience in rural health research and policy analysis. She has been the project leader and an investigator for numerous Rural Health Research Center projects involving primary data collection (using surveys and case studies) as well as statistical analyses of secondary data. Before joining the Rural Health Research Center, Ms. Casey worked on health policy analysis, rural health and primary care programs at the Minnesota Department of Health. She played a key role in establishing the Minnesota Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, and served as Assistant Director of the Office from 1992 to 1994. 

Research Interests

  • Rural quality of care and patient safety initiatives
  • Critical Access Hospitals and the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Monitoring Program
  • Rural obstetric care
  • Access to care for rural Medicare beneficiaries and underserved populations
  • Rural pharmacy services
  • End-of-life care in rural communities
  • Use of health information technology by rural providers

Awards

  • Outstanding Rural Health Researcher award from the National Rural Health Association, 2006

Katy Kozhimannil, Ph.D., Director of Research

kbk@umn.edu
Katy Kozhimannil

Dr. Kozhimannil is Director of Research at the RHRC and an Associate Professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

Education

  • Ph.D., Health Policy, Harvard University, 2009
  • M.P.A., Public Policy and Administration, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, 2003
  • B.A., International Relations and Spanish (summa cum laude), University of Minnesota, 1999

Experience

Dr. Kozhimannil conducts research to inform the development, implementation, and evaluation of health policy that impacts health care delivery, quality, and outcomes during critical times in the lifecourse, including pregnancy and childbirth. The goal of her scholarly work is to contribute to the evidence base for clinical and policy strategies to advance racial, gender, and geographic equity and to collaborate with stakeholders in making policy change to address social determinants and structural injustice in order to facilitate improved health and well-being.

Dr. Kozhimannil’s research, published in major journals such as Science, the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Health Affairs, American Journal of Public Health, Medical Care, and the American Journal of Managed Care, has been widely cited.  Media coverage of her research, including feature stories by the New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio, Wall Street Journal, US News & World Report, and the Huffington Post, has generated dialogue, interest and policy action at local, state, and national levels. In addition to conducting research, Dr. Kozhimannil teaches courses that build skills for effective engagement in the policy process, and works extensively with community organizations and state and federal policy makers on efforts to improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities, starting at birth. 

Prior to starting her academic career, Dr. Kozhimannil worked on HIV/AIDS prevention and policy as well as education and youth development both domestically and abroad. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Mozambique and has worked for Ibis Reproductive Health, the World Bank, Population Services International, the American Red Cross, and the YMCA.

Research Interests

  • Health care policy
  • Quality of care
  • Maternal and child health
  • Health equity
  • Analysis of administrative/claims data
  • Longitudinal analysis

Awards

  • Alice S. Hersh New Investigator Award, AcademyHealth (2016)
  • National guest scholar at the Stanford Clinical Excellence Research Center (2015-2016)
  • Labelle Lectureship in Health Services Research, McMaster University (2015)
  • Public Health Impact Award, University of Minnesota School of Public Health (2015)
  • Health Affairs Top 15 Most-Read Articles in 2013 “Cesarean delivery rates vary 10-fold among US hospitals; reducing variation may address quality and cost issues.” (2014)
  • Minnesota Population Center’s IHIS Research Award “National Trends in Health Insurance
  • Coverage of Pregnant and Reproductive-Age Women, 2000-2009″ (2013)
  • Elected and inducted into the Pi Chapter of Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health (2013)
  • University of Minnesota Institute for Diversity, Equity and Advocacy (IDEA) Multicultural Research Award (2011)

Amanda Corbett, M.P.H.

corbe007@umn.edu
Amanda Corbett

Amanda Corbett is a qualitative researcher at the Rural Health Research Center. She began working at the RHRC in December 2015.

Education

  • M.P.H., Maternal and Child Health, University of Minnesota, 2010
  • B.A., English, Luther College, 1994

Experience

Ms. Corbett has worked in various capacities of public health research at the University of Minnesota since 1997. Prior to her employment at the RHRC, Amanda was housed in Extension’s Center for Family Development, where she provided evaluation support to health and nutrition program staff across Minnesota. She also worked in Division of Epidemiology & Community Health, coordinating the American Indian Community Tobacco Projects.

Research Interests

  • Health equity
  • Health policy, systems, & environmental change
  • Social determinants of health
  • Community-engaged research

Alex Evenson, M.A.

mcel0093@umn.edu
Alex Evenson

Alex Evenson is a Research Project Specialist at the Rural Health Research Center, hired in February 2013.

Education

  • M.A., English, University of St. Thomas, 2005
  • B.A., English, Saint John’s University, 2000

Experience

Mr. Evenson manages communications, dissemination, and website resources; edits research publications; and works as an investigator for the RHRC and Flex Monitoring Team. He has contributed to research projects focused on health insurance recruitment and education in rural communities, reducing healthcare-associated infections in Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), measuring quality performance in CAHs, identifying barriers to transportation among rural residents, and improving access to care for rural patients with COPD. 

Prior to his employment with the RHRC, Mr. Evenson worked with the on a number of national, federally-funded rural health projects, including the Rural Health Research Gateway and the Rural Health Information Hub. For six years prior to that, Mr. Evenson was a nonpartisan writer / editor at the Minnesota House of Representatives’ Chief Clerk’s Office. During his graduate studies, Evenson taught English courses at the University of North Dakota and University of St. Thomas and worked with the North Dakota Humanities Council to facilitate critical discussions of literature in rural communities across the state.

Research Interests

  • Rural health policy, particularly focused on CAHs
  • Quality measurement
  • Socioeconomic health disparities
  • Narrative medicine

Carrie Henning-Smith, Ph.D.

henn0329@umn.edu
Carrie Henning-Smith

Dr. Henning-Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and has been an Investigator with the Rural Health Research Center since 2015.

Education

  • Ph.D., Health Services Research, Policy, and Administration, University of Minnesota, 2015
  • M.S., Health Services Research, Policy, and Administration, University of Minnesota, 2015
  • M.P.H., Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, 2006
  • M.S.W., Social Work Interpersonal Practice and Mental Health, University of Michigan, 2006
  • B.A., International Relations, Claremont McKenna College, 2003

Experience

Dr. Henning-Smith applies her interdisciplinary training in health services research, public health, social work, gerontology, and demography to study policy-relevant issues for rural populations. She has led multiple research projects at the Rural Health Research Center, with a wide range of topics including the social determinants of health, access to and quality of care, and aging and long-term care. She was chosen as a 2017 Rural Health Fellow by the National Rural Health Association and serves as a current editorial board member for the Journal of Rural Health. 

Research Interests

  • Social determinants of health
  • Demography
  • Aging and long-term care
  • Disability policy
  • Housing and transportation issues
  • Access to care

Recent Fellowships and Awards

  • Rural Health Fellow, National Rural Health Association (2017-2018)
  • Heath Equity Leadership & Mentoring Program Fellow, University of Minnesota (2016-2017)
  • Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship, University of Minnesota (2014-2015)
  • Hearst Fellowship in Public Health and Aging (2013-2014)
  • RAND Summer Institute Fellowship (2013)

Megan Lahr, M.P.H.

lahrx074@umn.edu
Megan Lahr

Megan is a Research Fellow at the Rural Health Research Center, hired in September of 2017.

Education

  • M.P.H., Public Health Administration and Policy, University of Minnesota, 2017
  • B.A., Sociology, Kenyon College, 2010

Experience

Prior to coming to the Rural Health Research Center, Ms. Lahr worked at the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) on a variety of projects related to access, cost, quality, and health outcomes. Ms. Lahr also spent several years working in federal policy for U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. While working in the Senate in Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis, MN, she held several positions focusing on operations, policy development, health reform, and healthcare outreach and casework.

Research Interests

  • Health policy and systems
  • Access to care
  • Health equity

Ali Ecklund, M.P.H.

ecklu048@umn.edu
Ali Ecklund

Ali Ecklund is a Study Coordinator at the Rural Health Research Center. She began working at RHRC in September 2017.

Education

  • MPH Community Health Education, University of Minnesota, 2010
  • BA Political Science and Creative Writing, College of Santa Fe, 2002

Experience

Ms. Ecklund has worked as a Study Coordinator for the University of Minnesota since 2010. Before she joined RHRC, Ms. Ecklund worked in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, where she collaborated on six NIH-funded research studies, including three large randomized control trials. She has previously led intervention development in the content areas of alcohol policy and HIV medication adherence.

Research Interests

  • Women’s health
  • Social determinants of health
  • Health policy
  • Substance use
  • Mental health

Shailendra Prasad, M.D., M.P.H.

shailey@umn.edu
Shailendra Prasad

Shailendra Prasad is an Associate Professor at the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota and an Investigator at the Rural Health Research Center.

In addition, Dr. Prasad is the Executive Director of the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility at the University of Minnesota.

Education

  • M.B.B.S., Medicine, Mysore Medical College, India, 1990
  • Family Medicine Residency, Henry Ford Hospital, 1997
  • Fellowship, Academic Family Medicine, Henry Ford Hospital, 1998
  • M.P.H., Public Health Leadership, University of Minnesota, 2006

Experience

Dr. Prasad has worked in the interface of primary care and public health for the past 20 years. He has extensive first-hand experience in underserved areas; he practiced as a primary care physician for several years in rural southern Mississippi and in rural and tribal areas in South India before coming to the University of Minnesota. He remains actively involved in projects in South India. His current work in primary care and health services research focuses on quality of care, coordination of care, methods of care delivery, and appropriate resource utilization.

Research Interests

  • Health Care Delivery in Rural and Indigenous Areas
  • Quality of Clinical Care in Rural Health
  • Health Information Dissemination
  • Global Health Systems

Awards

  • Mead Johnson Award for Excellence in Graduate Medical Education, American Academy of Family Physicians, 1997
  • Teacher of the Year, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, 2011
  • Teacher of the Year, Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, 2013