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Lauren Hersch Nicholas, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

Departmental Affiliations

Center & Institute Affiliations

Contact Information

624 N. Broadway
Hampton House 450
Baltimore, Maryland 21205


Personal Website

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PhD, Columbia University, 2008
MPhil, Columbia University, 2008
MPP, George Washington University, 2004


Lauren Hersch Nicholas is a health economist whose research focuses on the role of public policy in improving health and healthcare quality for the elderly. Her current research combines survey, administrative, and clinical data to study the interaction between healthcare utilization and economic outcomes.  Dr. Nicholas's work uses clinical and econometric approaches to answer questions in medical and health economics, particularly for surgery and end-of-life care. She has received several awards for her research including the National Academy of Social Insurance John Heinz Dissertation Award, the AcademyHealth Article-of-the-Year Award, and the HCUP Most Outstanding Article Award.

Press Coverage

New York Times, "Helping Patients and Doctors Talk about Death"

New York Times "Rethinking Centers of Excellence (and Other Well-Laid Plans)"

NPR Blog "Avoiding the Nursing Home Ups the Odds of Unwanted Medical Care"

WebMD Health, "Advance Directives Shape End-of-Life Experiences"

Wall Street Journal, "Medicare Faulted on Surgery Evaluation"

Honors and Awards

Delta Omega Honor Society, 2015

Johns Hopkins University Catalyst Award, 2015

HCUP Outstanding Article of the Year Award, 2014

AcademyHealth Article of the Year Award, 2012

Best Overall Abstract Award, Academic Surgical Congress, 2011

National Academy of Social Insurance John Heinz Dissertation Award, 2009

  • health economics
  • Medicare
  • regional variation
  • end-of-life
  • surgery

Selected Recent Publications

  • Peer-Reviewed Narang AK, Nicholas LH. Out-of-pocket spending and financial burden among Medicare beneficiaries with cancer. JAMA oncology. 2017 Jun 1;3(6):757-65. Narang AK, Wright AA, Nicholas LH. 2015. Trends in Advance Care Planning in Patients With Cancer: Results From a National Longitudinal Survey. JAMA Oncology, 1(5):601-608. Osborne NH, Nicholas LH, Thumma, J, Ryan AR, Dimick JB. 2015.  Association of Hospital        Participation in a Quality Reporting Program with Surgical Outcomes and Expenditures for Medicare Beneficiaries.  JAMA, 313(5) 496-504. Schwartz DA, Shah AA, Zogg CK, Nicholas LH, Velopulos CG, Efron DT, Schneider EB, Haider AH (2015). Operative Delay to Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy: Racking Up the Cost of Healthcare. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery: 79(1):15-21. Nicholas LH, Bynum JPW, Weir DR, Iwashyna TJ, Langa KM (2014).  Advance Directives And Nursing Home Stays Associated With Less Aggressive End-Of-Life Care For Severe Dementia Patients.  Health Affairs, 33(4):667-74. Nicholas LH (2014) Will Medicare Advantage Benchmark Reforms Impact Plan Rebates and      Enrollment? American Journal of Managed Care, 20(11):917-924. Nicholas LH, Dimick JB (2013).  Bariatric Surgery in Minority Patients Before and After    Implementation of a Centers of Excellence Program. JAMA, 310(13):1399-1400. McInerney M, Mellor J, Nicholas LH.  (2013). Recession Depression? Mental Health Effects of the     2008 Stock Market Crash.  Journal of Health Economics, 32(6): 1090–1104. Nicholas LH (2013).  Better Quality of Care or Healthier Patients? Hospital Utilization by Medicare Advantage and Fee-for-Service Enrollees.  Forum for Health Economics and Policy, 16(1): 1 –25.  Norton EC, Nicholas LH, Huang SH (2013).  Informal Care and Inter-vivos Transfers: Results from the National Longitudinal Survey of Mature Women, B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy,14 (2), 377-400. Shih T, Nicholas LH, Thumma JR, Birkmeyer JD, Dimick JB (2014).  Does Pay-for-Performance  Improve Surgical Outcomes? An Evaluation of Phase 2 of the Premier Hospital Quality Incentive  Demonstration.  Annals of Surgery, 259(4):677-8. Dimick JB, Nicholas LH, Thumma, J, Ryan AR, Birkmeyer JD (2013).  Complications Following  Bariatric Procedures Before vs. After Implementation of National Policy Restricting Coverage to Centers of Excellence, JAMA, 309(8): 792 - 799. Dimick JB, Staiger DO, Osborne NH, Nicholas LH, Birkmeyer JD (2012). Composite Measures for Rating Hospital Quality with Major Surgery.  Health Services Research, 47(5): 1861 - 1879. Nicholas LH, Langa KM, Iwashyna TJ, Weir DR (2011).  Regional Variation in the Association Between Advance Directives and End-of-Life Medicare Expenditures, JAMA, 306(13): 1447 - 1453. Nicholas LH (2011).  Modeling the Impact of Medicare Advantage Payment Cuts on Ambulatory Care Sensitive and Elective Hospitalizations, Health Services Research, 46(5): 1417 1435. Nicholas LH (2011).  Can Food Stamps Help to Reduce Medicare Spending on Diabetes? Economics & Human Biology, 9(1), 1-13. Nicholas LH, Dimick JB, Iwashyna TJ (2011).  Do Hospitals Alter Patient Care Effort Allocations Under Pay-for-Performance?  Health Services Research.  46(1 part I): 61–81. Nicholas LH, Osborne NH, Birkmeyer JD, Dimick JB (2010). Hospital Process Compliance and Surgical Outcomes in Medicare Beneficiaries, Archives of Surgery, 145(10): 999 – 1004.