Department News and Updates
New Study Shows Increase in Substance Use Disorder Treatment Admissions After Medicaid Expansion
A new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found 36 percent more people entered treatment for substance use disorder in states that expanded Medicaid insurance coverage after four years as compared to states that did not.
The paper, published in the March issue of Health Affairs, suggests that Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act is improving access to substance use treatment and also increasing the availability of federal dollars to support drug treatment programs.
A research team, led by Brendan Saloner, associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s department of health policy and management, analyzed the Treatment Episode Data Set, a federally mandated database for specialty treatment providers that accept public funding. Using treatment admissions and insurance coverage data, the researchers analyzed states before and after Medicaid expansion between 2010 and 2017.
They found the largest changes in admission for intensive outpatient programs and those seeking medications for opioid use disorder. Medicaid also paid for 89 percent more admissions for substance-use treatment in states that expanded coverage as compared to those that did not expand.
HPM Faculty Receives Grant to Develop a Virtual Reality Program to Assess Firearm Use
Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, MPH, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research and assistant professor in the department of health policy and management, has received a two-year, $500,000 grant from the Packard Foundation to develop and study a virtual reality program for civilian firearm use.
The grant will support the development of a range of immersive virtual reality simulations of common scenarios to test individuals’ ability to make decisions about using a firearm under pressure. Researchers will also study the accuracy with which a participant uses a firearm in each of the situations. Participants will be recruited via gun ranges, gun shops, and through existing networks, and randomly assigned to different simulations.
Over the last fifty years, most states have eased laws regulating concealed firearms. Currently, fifteen states do not require a special license for a civilian to carry a firearm in most public places. In states that do require a license to carry concealed firearms, many do not require an applicant to demonstrate he or she can fire a firearm safely or accurately before purchase. Currently, there is no federal law mandating firearms training for civilians considering carrying firearms in public in the U.S.
Crifasi’s research focuses on policies and programs that improve safety and prevent injury. Her research areas include violence prevention, firearm policies, and evaluation of policy changes on public safety.
HPM Faculty Join the Nation’s First Prescription Drug Affordability Panel
Drs. Gerard Anderson, professor, and Joseph Levy, assistant scientist, in the Department of Health Policy and Management have been appointed to Maryland’s first Prescription Drug Affordability Panel. This panel, the first in the U.S., will help set prescription drug costs for Maryland residents, starting with prescription drugs whose prices are more than $30,000 dollars per year or have a price increase of at least $3,000 dollars from one year to the next.
Nationwide, high prescription drug prices are increasingly making medications unaffordable. The board was created by Maryland’s state legislature in 2019 to set upper payment limits for prescription drugs purchased by state, county or local governments beginning in 2022. Public hearings across the state will help inform the Board which drugs should be investigated. Other states are looking to establish similar boards and will look to Maryland for guidance.
Anderson was appointed by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and Levy was appointed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. Each will serve a five-year term that can be renewed.
Anderson is director of the Center for Hospital Finance and Management at the Bloomberg School. His research focuses on drug and health pricing, and he testifies regularly before Congress, state legislatures, and federal agencies. Levy is a health economist who studies the cost-effectiveness of medical technologies, primarily in orthopedic trauma; as well as state and federal polices related to drug pricing.
Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research and the Center for Teaching and Learning Launch New Online Learning Experience on Firearm Purchaser Licensing
The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research and the Center for Teaching and Learning at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are launching the University’s first-ever Teach-Out, a free and open online learning event on firearm purchaser licensing policies on January 20, 2020.
The four-week event, Firearm Purchaser Licensing: The Background Check Policy Not Enough People are Talking About, is led by Cassandra Crifasi, PhD ’14, MPH, deputy director of the Center for Gun Policy and Research and assistant professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management.
Learning materials include an overview of firearm licensing policies and evidence of effectiveness, materials on the social context of licensing, including public opinion polling and differences across geographic areas and groups. In addition to guest lecturers, Crifasi will lead a weekly interactive discussion forum with students and invite them to participate in call-to action activities in their own communities.
The Teach-Out complements the Center for Gun Policy and Research’s MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), Reducing Gun Violence in America: Evidence for Change, offered on Coursera, the online learning platform. The new Teach-Out is shorter, since it focuses on one gun-policy topic, and includes interactive discussion until the learning event ends on February 16, 2020. The Teach-Out also encourages participants to commit to some action or behavior change. The learning materials will also be available on the Gun Center’s website.
Pre-enrollment is open. Enroll and learn more.
Shannon Frattaroli, PhD, and colleagues from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health recently launched a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the opioid epidemic on the online learning platform Coursera. The course, “Opioid Epidemic: From Evidence to Impact,” features 10 online modules that provide learners with evidence-based and actionable solutions to curbing the epidemic at the local, state, and national level.
The course curriculum builds off the 2017 report “The Opioid Epidemic: From Evidence to Impact” prepared by the Bloomberg School and the Clinton Health Matters Initiative with input from a team of national experts. Learners can enroll at any time and complete coursework at their own pace.
Frattaroli, the course’s lead instructor, is associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management and core faculty in the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, for which substance use prevention is a priority focus area. The Center is one of nine Injury Control Research Centers funded by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Enrollment is ongoing.
Learn more about the course.
Colleen L. Barry, PhD, MPP, Fred and Julie Soper Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, was elected into the National Academy of Medicine. She joins three more faculty members of the Johns Hopkins University to be elected in 2019.
Through its domestic and global initiatives, the National Academy of Medicine works to address critical issues in health, medicine, and related policy. New members are elected by current members through a selective process that recognizes people who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health.
Barry's research focuses on how health and social policies can affect a range of outcomes for individuals with substance use disorders and mental illness, including access to medical care and social services, care quality, health care spending, financial protection and mortality. In addition, she conducts empirical research to understand how communication strategies influence public attitudes about addiction, mental illness and violence. A focus of this work is to identify evidence-based approaches to reducing stigma. She has led research studies funded by the NIH and various foundations including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund and the Arnold Foundation. She has authored over 180 peer-reviewed publications on a range of health policy and public health topics in journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Pediatrics, Health Affairs and the American Journal of Public Health. Barry holds a joint appointment in the Department of Mental Health and is founding co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Mental Health and Addiction Policy Research. She is a core faculty member with the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. She is Principal Investigator of the Johns Hopkins NIMH T32 Mental Health Services and Systems Training Grant. She serves on various national advisory boards on policy related to addiction, mental health and violence. She recently served as a member of the National Academy of Medicine Consensus Panel on Medication Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder. Barry is also co-chair of the Forum on Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Join us as we congratulate Colleen!
The Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research (CHSOR) Celebrates 50 Years of Excellence
This October, the Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research (CHSOR, formerly Health Services Research and Development Center) celebrated its 50th anniversary. CHSOR conducts multidisciplinary research on health care policies and practices, with a special focus on their impact on quality of care and patient-centered outcomes, and a particular attention to vulnerable population groups.
Faculty members conduct research covering a wide range of topics and issues including quality of care, patient-reported outcomes and other patient outcome measures, program evaluation, health policy, patient safety, shared decision making, health care providers, systems and organizations, innovative methods and their applications, patient and community engagement, health information technology, aging, end of life care, comparative effectiveness research, applied microeconomics and economic evaluation.
CHSOR was established in 1969 and is one of the oldest in the United States devoted to research on health care. Over the years, the Center has made several important contributions to the field including studies of the use, outcomes and cost of health and mental health services for people with severe mental illnesses, work demonstrating the value of mammograms in detecting breast cancer and reducing breast cancer mortality, and various studies in gerontology, including the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS). Other research conducted at the Center includes Patient-reported outcomes assessment tools, including the Sickness Impact Profile, the Child Health and Illness Profile, and Asthma outcomes and the creation of the ACG® System for case-mix categorization and the Center for Population Health Information Technology (CPHIT).
CHSOR’s research is supported by major federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Department of Defense; by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute; by Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine; and by private foundations and industry.
Jennifer Wolff, Awarded $2.5 Million Grant To Improve Advanced Care Planning in Primary Care for Persons with Cognitive Impairment
Dr. Jennifer Wolff, professor in the department of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has received a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Institute on Aging. Dr. Wolff will conduct a randomized controlled trial of a communication intervention in primary care that engages family caregivers in advance care planning of older adults with cognitive impairment.
Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are among the most disabling and costly of all health conditions. However, persons with dementia often do not receive a diagnosis, and are less likely to complete an advance directive than persons without dementia. Family caregivers of persons with dementia are often heavily involved in scheduling and attending medical visits and providing care in the community, but are commonly not well prepared to assume a role in medical decision-making.
The study will seek to facilitate advance care planning between primary care providers, patients and family caregivers by incorporating a range of strategies known to improve communication outcomes. Findings from the study will provide critical information to improve care planning in primary care settings, places where persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are often diagnosed and medically managed.
Dr. Wolff is the Eugene and Mildred Lipitz Professor and Director of the Roger C. Lipitz Center for Integrated Health Care. She is a leader in research and policy relating to the care of persons with complex health needs and disabilities.
Judith Kasper, Awarded $45 Million Grant to Support Continuation of the National Health and Aging Trends Study
Dr. Judith Kasper, professor in the department of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has received a five-year $45 million grant from the National Institute on Aging. Dr. Kasper and her team, including researchers at the Bloomberg School, Johns Hopkins Medicine, University of Michigan, and other universities, will use the grant to continue the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), a nationally representative study of disability trends and trajectories later in life.
This is the third five-year cycle of funding awarded to support the ongoing aging trends study. Dr. Kasper has been principal investigator of the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) since 2008.
The number of people age 65 and older is projected to make up 20 percent of the U.S. population by 2030. The study is gathering comprehensive, high-quality data to address the implications of an aging population for services to meet the anticipated needs for long-term services and supports, family caregiving, and a host of other family and societal issues.
The study has collected data through in-person interviews with Medicare beneficiaries ages 65 and older since 2011. Participants are asked about their living environments, routine activities, assistance from others, and participation in valued activities. To date, over 3,000 researchers have registered to use NHATS data, and findings from their work appear in a wide variety of scientific publications on topics including quality of end-of-life care, use of devices or environmental features to compensate for functional declines, barriers to participation in activities, and dementia caregiving.
Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the 19th U.S. Surgeon General and previous Vice Admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, will join the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health as the Distinguished Policy Scholar, beginning in September 2019.
Murthy served as U.S. Surgeon General under President Barack Obama, focusing his tenure on pressing public health issues, from the opioid epidemic and e-cigarettes to vaccine-preventable illness and emotional well-being. He released the first Surgeon General’s Report on substance use disorders as well as the first federal report on e-cigarettes and youth.
The Distinguished Policy Scholar program, housed in the Bloomberg School’s department of health policy and management, was created to bring national policy leaders to campus to collaborate with faculty and students on pressing public health challenges. During a year-long residence, the Distinguished Policy Scholar takes part in wide-ranging research, education, and public health practice activities in partnership with faculty.
Murthy follows Michael Botticelli, former director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, who served as Distinguished Policy Scholar at the Bloomberg School in 2018. Other former Distinguished Policy Scholars include former Congressman Henry Waxman, of California, and former Governor Ronnie Musgrove, of Mississippi.
Alyssa Moran, Awarded $1.6 Million to Evaluate Healthy Restaurant Kids' Meal Policy
Alyssa Moran, ScD, assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management, has been awarded a $1.6 million dollar grant by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The four-year grant will support evaluating a healthy restaurant kids meals policy in New York City.
More than a dozen cities and states have passed healthy kids meals policies to help prevent childhood obesity. These policies seek to reduce child consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by requiring restaurants to serve beverages such as water, milk, or 100 percent juice instead of sugary beverages as the default choice with children’s meals.
These policies have potential to reduce sugary drink consumption, however, there are virtually no data on how healthy kids meals policies influence children’s eating behaviors or health. The goal of this research is to evaluate the effects of a healthy kids meals policy passed in New York City on children’s fast-food meal orders, dietary intake, and cost-effectiveness. The study will provide the first empirical evidence on the degree to which healthy kids meals policies impact child nutrition.
Angie Cradock, ScD, MPE, senior research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is co-principal investigator.
Moran conducts research on policies to improve nutrition in early childhood, and has worked on child nutrition policies at the state and local levels, serving as a technical adviser to New York City’s Nutrition Strategy Program and New York State’s Advancing Prevention Agenda.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy Awarded $4.2 Million from CDC to Study Injury Research and Prevention Including Medication Storage and Opioid Prescription Laws
The Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy in the department of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has received a five-year grant of $4.3 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study effective solutions to the costly impact of injuries.
The award will focus on interventions and translation of research specifically in medication storage and disposal among older adults in tribal communities, child sexual abuse prevention strategies, promoting the use of safety technologies to better protect teen drivers and determining the impact of opioid prescribing laws on fatal motor vehicle crashes. Additionally, the new funding will support new online and in-person learning opportunities that expand partnerships, training and technical assistance to community stakeholders.
Founded in 1987, the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy prioritizes research in home safety, substance use and overdose, transportation safety and violence with a focus on groups that are at higher risk for experiencing certain types of injury, including children, older adults, veterans and trauma survivors.
“There are proven effective solutions to many injury problems,” says Andrea C. Gielen, ScD, center director, professor and principal investigator. “However, access to those solutions is often not equitably distributed across the population. We place a high priority on addressing inequities in our research projects, as well as in our training and outreach activities with practice partners that share our commitment to reducing disparities in injury rates.”
Keshia M. Pollack Porter, PhD, associate dean for faculty development, director of the Institute of Health and Social Policy and professor in the department, will lead a major new initiative funded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to house the Health Policy Research Scholars national program center at the Bloomberg School. The program will support doctoral students who are underrepresented in nonclinical disciplines such as economics, sociology, and political science, as well as more traditional public health fields such as epidemiology and nutrition. It is a four-year, competitive leadership training program in health policy that complements the students’ doctoral training.
The department welcomed Daniel Polsky, PhD as the School’s 40th Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in March 2019. He is also has an appointment at Carey Business School. Dr. Polsky is a national leader in health policy and economics. His work focuses on exploring how healthcare is organized, managed, financed and delivered, especially for low-income and vulnerable populations. He joins Hopkins from the University of Pennsylvania where he was a professor in both the Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School. He was the executive director of the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics, a leading research center focused on an interdisciplinary approach to healthcare delivery and policy. Recently, Dr. Polsky was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, serving on its Health and Medicine Committee, and its Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice. He also currently serves on the Congressional Budget Office's Panel of Health Advisors.
Darrell Gaskin, William C. and Nancy F. Richardson Professor in the department of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The award is the highest honor presented by the U.S. government to scientists who demonstrate leadership in research, science and technology.
Since 1996, the award has been given to scientists, engineers and others whose leadership and research provide outstanding contributions to science, technology, education and mathematics. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy coordinates the award with participating departments and agencies. The National Institutes of Health nominated Dr. Gaskin for this award.
Dr. Gaskin works to promote policies and practices that improve access to care and quality of care that focus on improving racial and economic disparities in health care. He is director of the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions. His research primarily focuses on hospital quality disparities, access to health care for minority, low-income, uninsured and other vulnerable populations as well as evaluating strategies to address cardiovascular disease risk factors. His research has helped in identifying and understanding the impacts of geographical place and contextual factors on disparities and has encouraged policymakers to support community-level interventions to address them.
Department Chair Helps Author New Report on The Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder in Care Settings
Colleen L. Barry, PhD, Fred & Julie Soper Professor and Chair of the department was a member of a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine consensus panel that authored a new report on the evidence base for medications to treat opioid use disorder. The report titled Medications for Opioid Use Disorders Save Lives concluded that withholding or failing to provide medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder in any care setting is denying medical treatment. It also highlights major barriers to the use of medications to treat opioid use disorder, including stigma towards substance use, inadequate education and training of professionals responsible for working with people with opioid use disorder and current regulations about these medications not supported by research. Dr. Barry and the committee highlighted the critical need to greatly expand lifesaving medication treatment for opioid use disorder.
This spring, the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research launched the first massive open online course (MOOC) on gun violence prevention. The free 6-week course titled Reducing Gun Violence in America: Evidence for Change provides students of all ages with knowledge about the scope of gun violence in America, relevant legal issues, evidence-based data surrounding current and proposed gun violence policies and an understanding of interventions that have demonstrated the greatest impact. Daniel Webster and Cassandra Crifasi, the center’s director and deputy director, both professors in the department, created the course to help people understand the research on gun violence and the broad range of potential strategies to address the problem. Currently, the course has more than 3,100 people enrolled across North America, Europe, Asia and South America.