New AcademyHealth President and CEO Aaron Carroll at the opening plenary of the 2024 Annual Research Meeting in the Baltimore Convention Center. (Photos: Hoag Levins)

Kicking off 2024’s Annual Research Meeting (ARM), AcademyHealth’s new President and CEO Aaron Carroll, MD, MS, nodded to his predecessor and mentor Lisa Simpson as he spoke of the 48-year-old organization’s ongoing challenges. He pointed to a significant distrust in science; attacks on diversity, equity, and inclusion; and the rollbacks of the right to choose for women and health-related rights for other groups. “These challenges necessitate a strong united response, which is why we need community and collaboration more than ever,” he said. “We need to maintain a seat at the table of expertise to combat the misinformation that’s being spread all the time. AcademyHealth must continue acting as a trusted broker of information and advocating always for the production and use of evidence to improve health and health care.”

This year’s four-day meeting brought more than 2,900 health services researchers to the Baltimore Convention Center for more than 500 sessions and 1,680 posters covering a broad array of the latest health and health care trends and research projects. As shown below and on the companion ARM 2024 Poster Photo Page, the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard David Institute of Health Economics‘ (LDI) Senior and Associate Fellows played a significant role in all of that (Click images for larger).

At LDI’s centrally located booth in the ARM Expo Hall visitors were greeted by LDI staffers Krystal Pleasant, MA, Senior Associate Director of Communications; Traci Chupik, MSEd, Director of Operations; and Julia Hinckley, JD, Director of Policy Strategy.
LDI’s booth was a crossroads and meeting place for alumni and newcomers alike. Here, new AcademyHealth President Aaron Carroll, MD, MS, and LDI Adjunct Senior Fellow and former LDI Executive Director Dan Polsky, PhD, MPP, stop for a chat. Polsky is now the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Health Economics at Johns Hopkins University.
A study of bundled payments for spine surgery and their association with reduced spending and hospital readmission among Medicare beneficiaries was the subject of LDI Senior Fellow Austin Killaru‘s, MD, MSHP, presentation. Kilaru, MD, MSHP, is the Deputy Director of the Penn Parity Center and an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine.
Addressing the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) decision on admission policies at schools involved in health care training, LDI Senior Fellow and Dean of Penn’s School of Nursing Antonia Villarruel, PhD, RN, spoke on a panel looking back on the first year after that decision. “Colleges and universities have lost an important tool,” she said. “The SCOTUS decision is a rallying cry. It’s a challenge for those of us who really believe in health equity and social justice, to step up, and to dig deep in what we know is effective and not effective as we move forward and focus on the structural inequities in health care and our communities.”
A Penn Nursing School team of researchers explains the findings of its study, “The Burnout Crisis and Psychological Distress Among Hispanic Nurses Across U.S. Hospitals: Implications for Structural Solutions.” On hand are four LDI Fellows: Heather Brom, PhD, RN; J. Margo Brooks Carthon, PhD, RN; John Rizzo, MSN, CRPN; and Jennifer Gil, MSN, RN. See more photos from the Expo and Poster Hall.
LDI Associate Fellow Hyunmin (David) Yu, MSN, RN, presents on the Penn Nursing poster of a study that found that U.S. hospitals with “Magnet” recognition are associated with increased inclusivity in their treatment of LGBTQ+ patients. The four other LDI Senior Fellows on the project were Stephen Bonett, PhD, RN; Dennis Flores, PhD, ACRN; Seul Ki Choi, PhD, MPH; and José Bauermeister, PhD, MPH. See more photos from the Expo and Poster Hall.
Some of the 42 undergraduate scholars from the Penn LDI mentored undergraduate health disparities research programs prepare to set out across the sprawling AcademyHealth Expo and Poster Hall. The four-day trip provides the young students with opportunities to connect with some of the country’s leading health services research professionals and institutions. Learn more about the mentored programs here.
LDI Senior Fellow Katherine Courtright, MD, MSHP, heads into her speaking engagement at the “Improving Advanced Illness Care: Contribution of PCORI’s Funded Portfolio” presentation session that was supported by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). An Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Perelman School, Courtright is a core faculty member of the Palliative and Advanced Illness Research (PAIR) Center there.
In a session focused on how payment policies impact minority communities, LDI Senior Fellow Aaron Schwartz, MD, PhD, detailed the findings of a Penn Population Aging Research Center (PARC) study of how U.S. doctors face substantial financial disincentives to serve Black patients–a trend that may drive widespread disparities in care access, utilization, and outcomes. The study was co-authored with LDI Executive Director Rachel M. Werner, MD, PhD.
Dropping by the LDI booth are LDI Senior Fellow Karen Lasater, PhD, RN, Associate Professor and Term Chair of Nursing and Health Policy at Penn Nursing’s Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research (CHOPR), and Elizabeth Nguyen, a member of the 2024 cohort of the Summer Undergraduate Mentored Research Program (SUMR).
Also cruising by the LDI booth was Austin Frakt, PhD, former LDI Adjunct Senior Fellow and Professor of Health Law, Policy, and Management at the Boston University School of Public Health. Frakt is best known as the Co-Editor-in-Chief with Aaron Carroll, MD, MS, of the evidence-based health policy blog, The Incidental Economist.
LDI Senior Fellow Emily Largent, PhD, RN, moderated the Aging and End-of-Life Policy Roundtable “Transforming Healthcare for People with Dementia: Policy Challenges and Opportunities.” She is an Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy in the Perelman School and a Lecturer at the Penn Carey Law School.
Panelist at a session reviewing the various methodological approaches used to complete the update of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s (PCORI) Foundational Expectations for Partnerships Guidance was LDI Senior Fellow Mark Neuman, MD, MSc. Neuman is the Director of Research Partnerships at LDI and Director of the Penn Center for Perioperative Outcomes Research and Transformation (CPORT) at the Perelman School.
In a session on Care for Vulnerable Populations in Medicare, Eric Roberts, PhD, LDI Senior Fellow and Associate Professor of General Internal Medicine at the Perelman School, discussed the findings of a study on Medicaid disenrollment among low-income Medicare beneficiaries and its effect on Medicare prescription drug coverage, subsidies, and medication filling.
LDI Senior Fellow and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School Aditi Vasan, MD, MSHP, was the discussant in a session on the role of income-relevant policies in relation to health and social needs among low-income Americans. Topics included the expiration of the expanded child tax credit and energy insecurity, and the health effects of increased state minimum wages among low wage-earning adults.
The site of LDI’s 2024 AcademyHealth party, Baltimore Inner Harbor’s 136-year-old Pratt Street Ale House, once known as the Wharf Rat Bar, is a brew house and restaurant a short walk from the Orioles’ Camden Yards Baseball Stadium.
As LDI ARM parties always do, this one drew a crowd of Penn/LDI alumni, health services research colleagues, and newcomers that packed two floors.


Hoag Levins

Editor, Digital Publications

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