The Science of ADRD for Social Scientists Participant Information

Paris Adkins-Jackson, PhD, MPH

Paris “AJ” Adkins-Jackson, PhD MPH, is a multidisciplinary community-partnered health equity researcher and Assistant Professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Sociomedical Sciences in the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. AJ’s research investigates the role of structural racism on healthy aging for historically marginalized populations like Black and Pacific Islander communities. Her primary project examines the role of life course adverse community-level policing exposure on psychological well-being, cognitive function, and biological aging for Black and Latinx/a/o older adults. Her secondary project tests the effectiveness of an anti-racist multilevel pre-intervention restorative program to increase community health and institutional trustworthiness through multisector community-engaged partnerships. AJ is an HBCU alumna of the psychometrics doctoral program at Morgan State University and a board member of the Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues.

Jennifer Ailshire, PhD

Jennifer Ailshire, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Gerontology and Sociology at the University of Southern California. Ailshire serves as the Assistant Dean of Research and of International Programs and Global Initiatives. Her research addresses questions that lie at the intersections of social stratification, urban sociology, and the sociology of health and aging. In particular, her research focuses on the importance of the neighborhood environment and social relationships in determining health over the life course. A consistent theme throughout her work is an interest in gender, socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic inequality in health. Current projects include research on the links between air pollution and cognitive function and dementia, neighborhood determinants of well being among people with dementia and their caregivers, and social determinants of racial and ethnic disparities in health and aging.

Maria Aranda, PhD

Maria Aranda, PhD, is an internationally recognized researcher and clinician in the fields of social work, geriatrics, and gerontology. She is Professor of Social Work at the University of Southern California where she serves as Executive Director of the USC Roybal Institute on Aging. She has led research projects to understand medical and psychiatric comorbidity in adult populations specifically in the areas of Alzheimer’s disease, depression, psychosocial interventions for individuals and family caregivers/care partners, and health disparities. Aranda has extensive experience in randomized trials, ethnographic methods, large-scale epidemiological research, stakeholder engagement, and innovative recruitment strategies to address the underrepresentation of racial and ethnic groups in clinical research.

Rodrigo Aranda, PhD

Rodrigo Aranda, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Scholar with the Center for Economic and Social Research at the University of Southern California and with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is also a Faculty Affiliate with the Georgia Policy Labs at Georgia State University, and a RCMAR Scholar with the Minority Aging Health Economics Research Center at the USC Schaeffer Center. Aranda’s program of research specializes in applied microeconomics with a focus on health economics. His work has centered on measuring the effect that public policies, high-profile events, and a changing environment have on health behaviors. His ongoing projects focus on the effect of increased access to sports in youth on health outcomes, the effect of indirect exposure to high-profile acts of violence on physical activity, and the effect of cigarette taxes on birth outcomes. He received his doctorate in economics from Tulane University and worked at the National Council for Social Policy Evaluation in Mexico prior to his PhD.

Jennifer Archuleta, MPH

Jennifer Archuleta, MPH, is a 4th-year doctoral student at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in the Department of Community Health Sciences. Jennifer’s research interests include aging, cognitive health, oral health and nutrition, and access to health care in underserved communities. Her dissertation topic is on the social determinants of oral health among U.S. older adults. Jennifer is the co-author of a manuscript (in-progress) about health care utilization among Latino older adults with dementia before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Results illustrated racial/ethnic differences in health care acquisition and the social needs of older adults with dementia. These findings were presented in September at the 2022 International Conference on Aging in the Americas in Chicago.

Yuna Bae-Shaaw, PhD

Yuna Bae-Shaaw, PhD, is a research assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical and Health Economics at the USC School of Pharmacy. She is a pharmacist with an expertise in health outcomes research and data analysis and currently supports research efforts at the Titus Center for Medication Safety and Population Health. Her research focuses on evaluating methods to improve quality of care and patient outcomes, particularly in medication therapy for chronic diseases. Her current research examines interventions aimed at lowering the inappropriate medication use in nursing home residents with dementia. She received her PhD in Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy from the University of Southern California.

Jose E. Cabrero Castro, MD

Jose E. Cabrero Castro, PhD, MSc, MD is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Medical Branch in the Department of Nutrition, Metabolism, & Rehabilitation Sciences and the Sealy Center on Aging. Cabrero has a PhD in Health Care Management and Policy from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He has served as Head of the Health Economics Division, Deputy Director of Patient Safety, and Deputy Director of Childhood Cancer at the Ministry of Health of Mexico. Currently, Cabrero is conducting projects related to ADRD and health services utilization.

Cynthia Chen, PhD

Cynthia Chen, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore. She is also a fellow at the University of Southern California. She now specializes in the economics of ageing and is interested in retirement and health outcomes, caregiver burden, health care expenditure and the impact of policies. She is currently the principal investigator of multiple grants in Singapore. Her research has also been supported by the National Institute on Ageing and prominent private philanthropy in the U.S.

Xi Chen, PhD

Xi Chen, PhD, is an associate professor of health policy and economics at Yale University. His research integrates causal inference, machine learning, and epidemiological approaches to evaluate policies on population aging, life course health, and global health systems. He is an Editor at the Journal of Population Economics, a consultant at the United Nations, the World Bank, affiliate professor at Yale Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Research Fellow at IZA Institute of Labor Economics, Cluster Head at the Global Labor Organization, former President of the China Health Policy and Management Society, and NIH’s Butler-Williams Scholar and PEPPER Scholar. His research funded by the NIH/NSF/USDA appears in science, economics, and medical journals, recognized through numerous awards such as the Kuznets Prize and GSA awards, and widely covered in global media. He is a commentator at BBC, Bloomberg, CNN, and writes opinion pieces for NYT. He obtained a PhD in Economics from Cornell University.

Yi Chen, PhD

Yi Chen, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center. She studies the prevalence/incidence, risk factors, and care of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia (ADRD), leveraging survey data and its linkage to Medicare claims. In particular, her research explores disparities in dementia diagnosis and in post-diagnosis mortality, health care utilization of persons living with ADRD and care partners, as well as various risk factors for ADRD such as lifestyle, hospitalization/intensive care, and pharmacological therapies for non-ADRD conditions. She received her PhD in Public Policy and Management from the University of Southern California in 2022.

Ryon Cobb, PhD

Ryon J. Cobb, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Social Work and Chancellor’s Scholar for Inclusive Excellence in Research on Black Americans.  His research focuses on the health implications of socially oppressive systems among adults and the racialization of religion in the United States. Early in his graduate career, Dr. Cobb acquired funding from the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, Louisville Institute, and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Recently, three signature NIH programs for early-career scholars selected him, through a competitive process, as an early-career faculty fellow. These programs provide him with pilot funding and mentored training in grantsmanship to refine critical skills for writing NIH-level applications centered on reducing ethnoracial disparities and improving the renal health of older Black adults.

Pinchas Cohen, MD

Cohen, MD, graduated in 1986 with highest honors from the Technion Medical School in Israel and trained at Stanford University.  He held faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania, and at UCLA where he led the Diabetes Research Center. In 2012 he was appointed as the Dean of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.  He received numerous awards through his career, including a National Institute of Aging “EUREKA”-Award and the NIH-Director-Transformative RO1-Grant. He also received the Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging and the AFAR Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction. He is the Cofounder of CohBar, a biotechnology company developing mitochondrial peptides for diseases of Aging. Dr. Cohen published over 350 papers in top scientific journals focusing on aging, cancer, diabetes, and the emerging science of microproteins and his h-index is 101. His most recent discovery in the microprotein SHMOOSE, which is a novel Alzheimer’s-related mutation within a mitochondrial encoded microprotein. 

Marika Cusick

Marika Cusick is a 3rd year Health Policy PhD student specializing in decision sciences at Stanford University. She is interested in using decision-analytic tools to improve global delivery of equitable, effective, and cost-efficient health care for individuals with non-communicable chronic diseases. Her research thus far has primarily focused on identifying cost-effective treatment and screening interventions for chronic kidney disease in the United States. Currently, she is working with colleagues at Stanford and University of Tokyo to project the net value of spending on dementia in Japan from the societal perspective. Cusick completed both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Cornell University in Statistical Science and Information Science for Health Tech.

KJ Davidson-Turner

KJ Davidson-Turner is a third year PhD Sociology student at the University of Texas at Austin and a trainee at the Population Research Center. After receiving her B.A. in Neuroscience at Middlebury College, she worked at the National Institutes of Health on the policy-administrative side. At UT, she is a member of the LifeHD lab and the Center on Aging and Population Sciences, and she is a research assistant for Bridget Goosby and Jacob Cheadle where she examines the intersection between the stress process, discrimination, and health. Currently, she works with Dr. Mark Hayward on research focusing on aging and inflammation and Lauren Gaydosh on the Vanderbilt University Social Networks and Policy Study that looks at biomarkers and aging. Overall, her research interests broadly focus on aging, discrimination, stress, inflammation, and biosociology/biodemography.

Brian Downer, PhD

Brian Downer, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) Sealy Center on Aging and School of Public and Population Health. His current research uses data from diverse, population-based cohort studies of aging to investigate life course risk factors for dementia, cognitive impairment, and cognitive decline. He is also focused on understanding the healthcare utilization of older adults. Downer is especially interested in advancing knowledge on the quality and outcomes of post-acute care for older adults and the differences in healthcare utilization by older adults with and without dementia. He received his PhD in gerontology from the University of Kentucky and completed a NIA T32 postdoctoral fellowship in minority aging and health at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Jules Dupey

Jules Dupey is a civil servant student at the Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay at the Human and Social Sciences Department. He specialized in economics and graduated in health economics at the University Paris-Est Créteil in 2022. Jules is currently a visiting pre-doctoral scholar at the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California, working on the market for private long-term care insurance in the United States. He studies the impact of supplemental health coverage on access to specialty care among elderly in OECD countries, and more recently on the protective effects of policy stringency on self-assessed health degradation after a COVID-19 infection among European elderly population.

Nicole Hair, PhD

Nicole L. Hair, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Health Services Policy & Management at the University of South Carolina. She received her PhD in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed a two-year fellowship as a RWJF Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan. Hair’s research addresses questions that lie at the intersections of health, human capital, and economic stability. Much of her work focuses on the causes and consequences of racial/ethnic and socioeconomic health disparities over the life course. Current projects include research on the social and economic costs of the COVID-19 pandemic; the role of neighborhood and school contexts in shaping children’s mental health and academic persistence; public policies and interventions aimed at improving child and adolescent health outcomes; and the potential for policies designed to ameliorate childhood health inequities to narrow gaps in educational outcomes and opportunities for young people.

Sidra Haye, PhD

Sidra Haye, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow at the USC Schaeffer Center. Her current research interests focus on physician decision-making, the impacts of physician’s referring behavior on Medicare patients, differences in healthcare access for patients enrolled in Medicare Advantage and Traditional Medicare plans, and disparities in healthcare use. Haye received her PhD in Economics from the University of California, Irvine.

Jakub Hlávka, PhD

Jakub Hlávka, PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Price School of Public Policy at USC. His NIH-funded research focuses on the modeling of dementia treatments and associated economic challenges, with a specific focus on Alzheimer’s disease and emerging disease-modifying therapies. He also studies innovative payment models for pharmaceuticals, health system reform and the study of inequality, with funding from the Greenwall and PhRMA Foundations. Since 2019, he has been a member of the International Pharmacoeconomics Collaboration on Alzheimer’s Disease (IPECAD). Hlávka teaches in master’s programs at the USC Price School of Public Policy and the Keck School of Medicine.

Cornelia Ilin, PhD

Cornelia Ilin, PhD, is a Faculty in AI/ML at UC Berkeley’s School of Information. Her research is at the intersection of health and environment, employing a wide variety of geospatial, causal inference, and ML/NLP methods. Before this, Cornelia was a Research Scientist at Stanford University and a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Data-Intensive Development Lab at UC Berkeley. She received her doctorate in Applied Economics from UW-Madison.

Hannah James

Hannah James is a third-year doctoral student in Health Services Research with a concentration in Health Economics at Brown University in the Department of Health Services, Policy, and Practice. Her research is focused on the evaluation of the Medicare Advantage program with an emphasis on its performance and outcomes for people living with chronic health conditions, specifically ADRD. Prior to pursuing her doctoral training, Hannah worked at the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission studying commercial health care cost drivers and price trends. She is interested in studying how payment policies and structural factors of care delivery can support better health outcomes while improving patient experience. She has a particular interest in affordability of health care services, and policies that can improve the functionality and experience of the health system for both patients and providers.

Geoffrey Joyce, PhD

Geoffrey Joyce, PhD, is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical and Health Economics at the University of Southern California, Director of Health Policy at the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center, and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research focuses on the costs of medical care and the role of insurance. His current research is examining the impact of Medicare Part D and potential reforms, value-based insurance design, and repurposing drugs currently being used to treat other diseases that affect risk of Alzheimer’s disease related dementias.

Arie Kapteyn, PhD

Arie Kapteyn PhD, is a Professor of Economics and the Executive Director of the Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR) at the University of Southern California. Before founding CESR at USC in 2013, Prof. Kapteyn was a Senior Economist and Director of the Labor & Population division of the RAND Corporation. He came to RAND after an almost twenty years stint at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, where he was professor of economics, dean, and founding director of several institutes. Much of Prof. Kapteyn’s recent applied work is in the field of aging and economic decision making. He has about 25 years of experience in recruiting and running population representative Internet panels, both in the Netherlands and the U.S. At USC he founded the Understanding America Study (10,000 respondents).

Steffi Kim, PhD

Steffi Kim, PhD, is a clinical-community psychologist and has worked with Alaska Native communities employing community-based participatory research frameworks for seven years. She serves as adjunct faculty at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and as a lead researcher at the Memory Keepers Medical Discovery Team at the University of Minnesota. In her work with Alaska Native Elders, she collaborates closely with community stakeholders and Elders to learn and share how Elders age well within rural and urban Alaskan communities. This work has provided valuable insights into a successful aging framework incorporating and highlighting the voices of Alaska Native Elders. Kim collaborates with Alzheimer’s Resources of Alaska and several tribal communities statewide. She is working to promote dementia awareness and reduce the stigma associated with dementia. In addition to her work with Alaska Native Elders, Kim has worked with adults providing mental health services.

Eric Klopack, PhD

Eric T. Klopack, PhD, is a postdoctoral researcher in the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at USC. His research focuses on the processes by which social circumstances and relationships interact with biological and developmental systems to produce inequalities in illness, aging, and mortality. He current research investigates how life experiences (especially early life adversity and social stressors) influence immunological aging and biological hallmarks of aging that may lead to impaired cognitive functioning and risk of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). He received his doctorate from the University of Georgia.

Miao Li, PhD

Miao Li, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Clemson University. He holds a PhD in Sociology from Purdue University and completed postdoctoral fellowships at the School of Public Health at SUNY Buffalo and the Department of Sociology at University of Notre Dame. He is interested in understanding the interplay of multilevel social and environmental factors in shaping health outcomes over the life course and across generations. His most recent research investigates race/ethnicity-specific pathways linking early life experiences (e.g., adversities, educational attainment, etc) and later life cognitive functioning, with a particular focus on housing, food environment, and air pollution exposures. His studies pursue an interdisciplinary approach and are based on longitudinal data and advanced quantitative methods.

Chelsea Liu, PhD

Chelsea Liu, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Epidemiology at the George Washington Milken School of Public Health. She completed her PhD in Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2022, where my dissertation focused on disentangling life course disparities in dementia risk due to socioeconomic status and modifiable risk factors. Prior to this, she completed a Master of Health Science in Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, primarily focusing on understanding racial and ethnic disparities in health among dementia caregivers. Her experience as a graduate student included designing studies and conducting analyses in large datasets; facilitating mentoring teams and collaborations across institutions; and applying methodological as well as substantive knowledge in neuroepidemiology.

Ye Luo, PhD

Ye Luo, PhD is a professor of sociology at Clemson University. Her research interests include social determinants of health, life course and health, and social gerontology. Her research has examined the relationship between socioeconomic status and health over the life course, the effects of life transitions in old age, such as retirement, grandparenting and living arrangements, and negative life events, such as elder mistreatment, discrimination and feelings of loneliness, affect health and well-being of older adults. Luo is particularly interested in how social services and social support at individual, community and societal levels modify these relationships. Several of her studies examined risk factors for poor cognitive function and cognitive decline using nationally representative longitudinal surveys in the U.S and in China. One of her current projects examines the mechanisms and moderating factors in the relationships between neighborhood environments and cognitive decline among middle-aged and older adults.

Elham Mahmoudi, PhD

Elham Mahmoudi, PhD is Associate Professor of Health Economics at the University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine. Dr. Mahmoudi has extensive experience in using variety of large secondary data (including nationally representative survey data, public and private administrative claims data, and electronic health records), quantitative analysis, and econometric methodologies. Her research has been focused on evaluating healthcare policies aimed at reducing racial/ethnic disparities in access to care and quality of care. Her research also extends to examine healthcare use and cost, and efficiency of care for older adults with cognitive decline (Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia and mild cognitive impairment) and individuals with disabilities. She also works internationally with programs in China.

Katherine Miller, PhD

Katherine Miller, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Division of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and Associate Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. She has developed expertise in program evaluation and use a variety of empirical approaches used in both health services research and economics. Miller’s research interests include access to health care in rural communities and the intersection of aging and health policy. Her recent work focuses on (1) policies impacting formal and family caregivers and (2) the supply of and access to long-term care services in rural settings. She received her PhD from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ashley Shaw, PhD

Ashley Shaw, PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Her main areas of interest include racial/ethnic health disparities in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia prevention through culturally tailored lifestyle interventions. She leads the Clinical Cohort and African American community education program Aging with Grace, designed to empower the community with evidence-based health education, resources, and opportunities to reduce the risk of developing dementia. Shaw received her Bachelor’s degree in nutrition and exercise physiology, Master’s degree in public health, and PhD in Nursing at the University of Missouri.

Victoria Shier, PhD

Victoria Shier, PhD, is a Research Scientist at the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics at USC. Shier is the PI of a recently-funded NIA R01 focused on examining the causal effects of Medicare Advantage (MA) coverage on health care and patient outcomes for patients with ADRD. Using data from states that shifted public retiree health benefits from Traditional Medicare to mandatory MA plans, the study will utilize plausibly exogenous variation in MA enrollment to estimate the effects of MA coverage on health care use, prevention and management of comorbid conditions, polypharmacy, and Potentially Inappropriate Medication use for beneficiaries with ADRD. Shier’s other work has included developing standardized assessment of cognitive impairment across post-acute care settings and analysis of a randomized trial to examine the effectiveness of dementia care program in nursing homes. Shier received her PhD from RAND Graduate School and MPA from NYU.

Joe Silva

Joe Silva is a pre-doctoral trainee in the Department of Health Services, Policy, and Practice at the Brown University School of Public Health whose research focuses on vaccines, infections, and health disparities. His dissertation aims to study racial/ethnic geographic disparities in COVID-19 health outcomes among nursing home residents with versus without Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe worked as an epidemiologist at the Rhode Island Department of Health responding to early outbreaks of COVID-19 in local nursing homes. To date, he has co-authored 7 peer-reviewed manuscripts, orally presented his findings at an international meeting, been the recipient of the Nora Kahn Pioré Award, which funds independent health policy-relevant work aimed at reducing disparities, and has been named the Senior Fellow of the Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences at Brown University in recognition of his commitment to high-quality spatially informed research.

Merril Silverstein, PhD

Merril Silverstein, PhD, is inaugural holder of the Marjorie Cantor Chair in Aging Studies at Syracuse University and serves as professor in the Department of Sociology and the Department of Human Development and Family Science. In over 200 research publications, he has focused on aging in the context of family life, with an emphasis on intergenerational relations over the life course and international-comparative perspectives. Professor Silverstein currently serves as principal investigator of the Longitudinal Study of Generations, which has collected data from the same families for over fifty years, and is co-originator of the Longitudinal Study of Older Adults in Anhui Province, China, which is now in its 20th year. Professor Silverstein is a Fellow of the Brookdale Foundation, the Fulbright Senior Scholars program, the Gerontological Society of America, and the James Martin School at Oxford University. Between 2010-2014 he served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences. In 2019 he was awarded the Matilda White Riley Distinguished Scholar Award from the Section on Aging and the Life Course of the American Sociological Association. Professor Silverstein received his doctorate in sociology from Columbia University, after which he served on the faculty of the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California.

Andrew Stokes, PhD

Andrew C. Stokes, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Global Health and Sociology at Boston University. His research applies the analytic tools of demography to population health, with a focus on social determinants of health and health disparities across the life course. His current research portfolio includes work on spatial-temporal trends in excess mortality during the Covid-19 pandemic, the determinants of long-term mortality and life expectancy trends, and potential underreporting of Covid-19 and other causes on death certificates. In addition to his research, Dr. Stokes serves as Deputy Editor at the Journal of Health and Social Behavior and directs the Master of Science in Population Health Research Program at Boston University. Stokes received his PhD in Demography and Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Cesar Higgins Tejera

Cesar Higgins Tejera is a current PhD candidate in Epidemiologic Sciences at the University of Michigan. His research work focuses on the use of biomarkers such as cytokines, and epigenetic markers, to understand physiological pathways implicated in racial disparities in prevalent and incident dementia in the United States. In his research, he emphasizes the use of causal inference methods to identify proximal mechanisms related to racialized disparities in cognitive aging. He describes his research approach as multidisciplinary as he gathers expertise from diverse disciplines such as medicine, health policy, biostatistics, and epidemiology.

Nathaniel M. Tran

Nathaniel M. Tran, BA, is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Health Policy and research associate in the LGBTQ+ Policy Lab at Vanderbilt University. Their research aims to understand and address health inequities among LGBTQ+ populations across the life course. Their published research has focused on exposure to protective factors, such as non-discrimination policies in the places that LGBTQ+ people live, work, age, and play, and risk factors, such as Adverse Childhood Experiences and violence victimization, for healthy aging.

Bryan Tysinger, PhD

Bryan Tysinger, PhD is a research assistant professor at the Sol Price School of Public Policy and director of health policy microsimulation at the USC Schaeffer Center.  His research focuses on modeling health and economic outcomes over the life course, with emphasis on identifying policy solutions to improve initial trajectories for the young, course-correct for those at middle-age, and manage the aging process. He works extensively with dynamic microsimulation models, developing and refining the Future Elderly Model (FEM) and Future Adult Model (FAM) and expanding these models globally.

Katrina Walsemann, PhD

Katrina Walsemann, PhD, is a professor of public policy, the Roger C. Lipitz Chair in Health Policy, and a faculty associate at the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is a population health and life course scientist whose research examines the ways in which the U.S. education system creates, perpetuates, and reproduces health inequities. She has published extensively on how early school environments affect health and health behavior across the life course. Her current research extends this line of research by examining how state and local educational contexts during childhood relate to cognitive impairment and dementia risk later in life and whether these early educational environments modify genetic risk for dementia. Fundamental to her research is an understanding of the historical and contemporary social policies that can create, reduce, or eliminate racial and social inequities in population health.

Jessie Wang, PhD

Jessie Wang, PhD, is an Economist at RAND Corporation. She is a macroeconomist by training, and she is interested in the aggregate implications of heterogeneous individual and household decisions, with a focus on time use and wellbeing. Her current work uses structural macroeconomic models informed and calibrated by empirical microeconomic analysis to study caregiving and care arrangement in an aging population and possible policy interventions. She has experience working with large datasets such as the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS)/ National Study of Caregiving (NSOC), the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), the Current Population Survey (CPS), and Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX). Jessie Wang received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, San Diego, and completed an NIA Postdoctoral Fellowship in the study of aging at RAND Corporation.

Miesha Williams, PhD

Miesha Williams, PhD is an Associate Professor of Economics at Spelman College. Her research focuses on policies affecting demographics and Africa. Recently, she was funded as Visiting Scholar in USC School of Public Policy and has previous funding from Title III, NIH, NSF, USDA, Carnegie Foundation, Sloan Foundation, and Koch Foundation. She publishes regularly in reputable, peer-reviewed journals. Williams is a board member of NEA and secretary for APEA. She was department chair for Morehouse College Economics Department, keynote speaker in Spelman College Sloan Summer Program, led a panel on Black Women in the Economics Profession at ASSA conference, led a panel on Social Justice in Agricultural and Environmental economics at NAREA conference, was guest editor for Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, was associate editor for NEA newsletter and is Research Associate with UNO Entrepreneurship Center. As an early-stage researcher with USC AD-RCMAR, she will examine environmental stressors impacting cognitive health across demographics. Williams’ holds BS (2007, FAMU) MA (2010, UA) and PhD (2014, UA) degrees in Economics.

Preeti Pushpalata Zanwar, PhD

Preeti Pushpalata Zanwar, PhD, is a versatile health economist and health services researcher with hands-on bench experience in clinical epidemiology, molecular virology, and immunodiagnostics. Her journey from being a basic scientist playing a key role in various NIH/NCI funded projects to examine the influence of viral infections on health outcomes and then transforming to a social scientist involved understanding (a) much of health outcomes are driven by non-biological factors (b) requiring intersections of perspectives and disciplines in public and population health to merge. This motivated her to seek and complete an MPH in epidemiology, NIA funded post-doc in Minority Aging, NIA’s Butler-Williams Scholar program, and Berkeley’s workshop on formal demography. She is interested in risk and protective factors for AD/ADRD among Southeast Asian Older Indians living in India and in the U.S. and in examining cross-country socioeconomic and sociocultural pathways that influence cognitive aging disparities among these populations. 

Yingying Zhu. PhD

Yingying Zhu, PhD, is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health (CEVR) at tufts Medical Center. She works with faculty at CEVR and with Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR) team at Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. Dr. Zhu’s research focuses on identifying and addressing the burdens of dementia and health disparities among persons living with dementia (PLWD). Her past research aimed at quantifying dementia and midlife cognitive decline as well as their associated factors and socioeconomic burdens. Her current research compares differences in patterns of health care utilization among PLWD by race and/or stage of dementia. Additionally, she extends her current research to health care utilization among patients with other mental illnesses (e.g., epilepsy, bipolar).

Workshop Organizers

Julie Zissimopoulos, PhD

Julie M. Zissimopoulos, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. In addition to her faculty appointment, she is Senior Fellow and Director of Aging and Cognition Research Program and Research Training at the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics. She is Director of USC’s Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (USC AD RCMAR), and Center for Advancing Sociodemographic and Economic Study of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (CeASES-ADRD), both focused on reducing burden of Alzheimer’s disease and funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Dr. Zissimopoulos’ current research focuses on economic costs of dementia, the use of and response to drug therapies for non-dementia conditions that influence risk of dementia; racial and ethnic disparities in diagnosis and health care treatment for dementia; and improved methods for population measures of dementia. She is Associate Editor, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, and Deputy Editor of the journal, Demography.  Her published research appeared in Journal of the American Medical Association Neurology, Journal of Gerontology Social Science, Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Journal of Health Economics and Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Dr. Zissimopoulos received her B.A. summa cum laude from Boston College, her M.A. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Johanna Thunell, PhD

Johanna Thunell, PhD, is a research scientist at the Sol Price School of Public Policy and Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics. She is the program administrator for the Center for Advancing Sociodemographic and Economic Study of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (CeASES ADRD). She studies Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias prevalence, risk and care, as well as the health and wellbeing of family members caring for persons living with dementia. Her research agenda explores the effect of policies and regulations on individual health and economic outcomes, and racial and ethnic disparities. Recent work includes studies on the relationship between non-Alzheimer’s disease drugs and dementia risk, diagnosis and treatment of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, and detection of dementia at Medicare’s Annual Wellness Visits. Dr. Thunell holds a PhD in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Southern California, an MPA from San Francisco State University, and a BA in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Mireille Jacobson, PhD

Mireille Jacobson, PhD, is an applied micro-economist with a diverse portfolio of research united by an interest in understanding how health care policies affect well-being. Much of her work focuses on the supply-side of health care markets, analyzing (i) the effects of direct supply changes (e.g., hospital closures) on access to care and (ii) the impact of reimbursement policy on treatment and outcomes, specifically in the oncology market. Other work focuses on the demand side, assessing the risk-protective value of health insurance for consumers. Her current projects include analyses of (i) tradeoffs in covering near-poor households with public insurance versus subsidies for the purchase of private health insurance, (ii) the impact of a transitional care pain management model on readmissions and health outcomes for opioid-tolerant patients, and (iii) the anticipatory effects of gaining Medicare on the mental health of seniors. In addition to being an Associate Professor in the Davis School of Gerontology, she is the co-director of the program on aging at USC’s Schaeffer Center for Health Economics and Policy and a research associate in the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Dana Goldman, PhD

Dana P. Goldman, PhD, is the Dean and C. Erwin and Ione L. Piper Chair of the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and a Distinguished Professor of Public Policy, Pharmacy, and Economics.  Dr. Goldman has served as director (now co-director) of the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics since its inception, establishing it as one of the nation’s premier health policy research centers.  He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and the National Academy of Public Administration—three of his field’s highest honors.   He is the author of more than 300 articles, and his research has been published in leading medical, economic, health policy, and statistics journals and other media.  He has raised over $170 million in support for health policy research—including more than $50 million from the NlH.  He serves (or has served) as an advisor to the Congressional Budget Office, California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, Covered California, NIH, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Institute, and several life sciences companies.  He serves as a scientific advisor to GRAIL and Biogen and was a co-founder of Precision Health Economics. Dr. Goldman is a member of the editorial boards of Health Affairs and the American Journal of Managed Care and was founding editor of the Forum for Health Economics and Policy. His work has been featured in the New York Times,Wall Street JournalWashington PostThe Economist, NBC Nightly News and other media.  He is a former director of ISPOR and ASHEcon.  Dr. Goldman received his B.A. summa cum laude from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University.