Meet the Schaeffer Center’s New Faculty

Alice Chen


Traces of how Alice ended up in the field of health economics can be seen in her college career at Harvard. “I thought I wanted to be a doctor, and I knew I loved math.” So onto the pre-med, applied mathematics major path she went. However, when none of her pre-med summer internships worked out, a friend suggested that she try her luck as a research assistant for an economics professor. She loved it. From then on, she spent her time applying math to economics, going on to the University of Chicago to earn her master’s and Ph.D. in the subject. Given her interests, “health economics seemed like a great fit.”


Having grown up in Los Angeles, Alice is happy to leave behind East Coast winters and return to sunny SoCal. Here she is excited to collaborate with colleagues at the Center, discuss policy issues with like-minded individuals, and use the rich data sources to answer interesting questions. “I chose the Schaeffer Center because of the high quality work that those at Schaeffer and Price are doing,” she noted.


Now at the Center and looking ahead, Alice is most interested in the interactions between access to care, health outcomes, and labor markets. Within those areas, she wants to continue exploring how physician payments and insurance eligibility affect access to care, how access to care affects utilization and health outcomes, and how health outcomes affect earnings trajectories.


Alice’s accolades include Honorable Mention for the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship; Top Manuscript Prize from the Harvard Undergraduate Research Journal; the University of Chicago, Booth Ph.D. Fellowship; and the National Research Service Award from the Agency of Healthcare Research Quality.


Daniella Meeker


When Daniella was in graduate school, while studying neural prosthetic technology she became very interested in the decision-making processes associated with medicine and health care. Around this time she met Dana Goldman and was sold. “I was very persuaded that studying health economics would be an interesting next direction.”


As a result, her relationship with the Center isn’t so new: “I have had very productive collaborations with Schaeffer Center faculty for years, and have always admired the quality of work and the sense of intellectual community that the Schaeffer Center attracts.”


Some of her experience with the Center came from being a Merkin Fellow, which allowed for the opportunity to conduct research in health policy and neuroscience. One of her recent ongoing projects deals with decision-making as patients near the end of life, whether caused by terminal illness or physical frailty. She described the Merkin Fellowship as having “allowed us to expand the scope of questions and interact more productively with Schaeffer Center faculty.”


Prior to joining the Center, Daniella was an Associate Information Scientist for RAND Corporation and an Assistant Professor at USC Keck School of Medicine. Continuing her research, she is most interested in the questions surrounding how patients and clinicians make decisions, since in many instances, “what appears to be the rational choice does not prevail.”


Daniella’s accolades include the AHRQ Post-Doctoral Fellowship which funded her master’s at UCLA and being a distinguished fellow at the RAND Bing Center for Health Economics.