The first AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting since 2019 to convene in person did so over four days in June at the cojoined facilities of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and the Marriott Marquis Hotel and conference center in Washington, D.C. The plenary sessions  — usually packed to standing room only in pre-pandemic days  — had smaller audiences, but the lighter crowds did not dampen the enthusiasm of attendees to be interacting in person once again. (Photos: Hoag Levins CLICK FOR LARGER)

As it was before the pandemic, the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (Penn LDI) was a major player in the four days of activities at the 2022 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting. The event is traditionally the largest gathering of the country’s health services researchers and a thriving hub of national networking and information exchange on the latest research from the world of health care delivery. LDI’s Senior and Associate Fellows along with scholars from its three undergraduate minority research pipeline programs took part in the agenda of more than 150 panels, presentations, plenaries, and poster expositions. Among the things that were different were strict masking rules and entrance protocols backed up by a phone app system indexed to vaccination records and symptom checks. Another different thing was the significant change of content tone. Although AcademyHealth has previously taken measures to diversify its membership and programs through its centers for diversity, inclusion and minority engagement, this year represented another leap as one-third of all the meeting’s sessions focused on issues of health care equity, diversity, inclusion, and disparities.

The visual centerpiece of the annual research meeting was the Marriott Marquis. It is Washington’s largest hotel and its atrium features one of the city’s larger sculptures. Entitled “The Birth of the American Flag,” the work by Baltimore-based artist Rodney Carroll is five stories high, dwarfing everything around it.
Joyfully welcoming back AcademyHealth members to the organization’s flagship annual event, President Lisa Simpson emphasized the symbolic importance of the opening plenary’s panel discussion focused on funding and sustaining a diverse and inclusive workforce. “Improving the field’s ability to recruit, retain, and nurture diverse talent is our focus,” she said. “AcademyHealth is also working on the supply side for training, funding, and support for early career individuals of diverse backgrounds.”
After receiving the 2022 AcademyHealth HSR Impact Award, LDI Senior Fellow and Perelman School of Medicine Assistant Professor Atheendar Venkataramani, MD, PhD, addresses the plenary audience. He was honored for health services research that directly influenced federal legislation, U.S. Supreme Court decisions and Presidential Executive Orders. Read the full story.
Kit Delgado, MD, MS, LDI Senior Fellow and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine won the AcademyHealth Publication of the Year Award for a paper that appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The piece recapped the creation, testing and successful use of the COVID Watch system for remotely monitoring COVID patients at home. Read the full story.
Manning the Penn LDI booth in the main AcademyHealth exposition hall is LDI Director of Operations Traci Chupik, MSEd. The booth provided information about educational opportunities for post graduate students along with collaboration and resource opportunities for health services researchers.
LDI Executive Director Rachel M. Werner, MD, PhD and former LDI Associate Fellow Jasmine Travers, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor at the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, tour the main AcademyHealth expo hall. Travers, an adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner is an alumna of LDI’s Center for Improving Care Delivery for the Aging (CICADA).
LDI Senior Fellow Eve Higginbotham, SM, MD, chaired the AcademyHealth plenary session on Professional and Organizational Resilience: Thriving After Burnout. Higginbotham is a Professor of Ophthalmology and Vice Dean of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity at the Perelman School of Medicine. The session focused on the crisis of pandemic-driven burn-out experienced by health care professionals.
A policy roundtable featured five members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) group that produced April’s landmark consensus study on nursing home quality. Offering insights to the findings were Rachel M. Werner, MD, PhD, of Penn; Jasmine Travers, PhD, RN, of NYU; Tamara Konetzka, PhD, of the University of Chicago; David Grabowski, PhD, of Harvard Medical School; and Vincent Mor, PhD, of Brown University.
Appearing in a session about workforce turnover, LDI Senior Fellow Hummy Song, PhD, MPP, Assistant Professor of Operations, Information, and Decisions at Wharton School presented her study “I Quit”: Schedule Volatility as a Driver of Voluntary Employee Turnover. The work analyzes how constantly changing scheduling drives nurses’ to leave their jobs.
LDI Associate Fellow Elle Lett, PhD, MA, an MD Candidate at the Perelman School of Medicine, chaired a session focused on “Health Equity Tourism,” also the title of a recent paper in the Journal of Medical Systems. Lett defined the term as “the practice of scholars previously unengaged with the work of health equity and often a reaction to academic capitalism and/or a recent but superficial awakening to long-standing and ubiquitous racial inequities without developing the necessary scientific expertise for high-quality work.”
For Penn LDI’s three groups of summer minority research scholars, AcademyHealth was a richly educational immersive experience. Here in the expo hall are Maylin Ortiz a Public Health major at California State University, Dhivya Arasappan a major in Biology and Health and Societies at Penn, and Suji Kim of Penn Nursing.
At the Vanderbilt University booth, Penn LDI Summer Undergraduate Minority Research (SUMR) scholar Taussia Boadi, a Penn Sociology major, chats with PhD student Nathaniel Tran of the Vanderbilt’s Department of Health Policy.
Perusing a poster study of trends in opioid overdose deaths before and during the pandemic are Penn LDI minority research scholars Julia Mesce, a Nursing and Health Management major at Penn; Ana Glassman, a Biology major at Penn; Mateo Useche Rosania, an Economics major at Macalaster College; and Anne Lu, a Neuroscience major at Temple University.
The Penn LDI AcademyHealth Party at Washington’s Yardbird Table & Bar restaurant brought together fellows and friends from across the country. LDI Senior Fellow Kit Delgado, MD, MS (left) Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine discusses old times with former LDI Executive Director Daniel Polsky, PhD, now Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School.
Joanne Levy, MBA, MPC, LDI Director of Student Initiatives and Administrator of The Wharton School’s PhD Program in Health Management and Economics with Wharton School PhD alum Gilbert Gimm, PhD, who is now an Associate Professor of Health Administration and Policy at George Mason University.
Taking a party break from managing Penn LDI’s AcademyHealth presence were Christine Weeks, LDI Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships; Kaday Kamara, LDI Health Policy Coordinator; and Nadiyah Browning, MPH, LDI Project Coordinator of Strategic Partnerships and Health Policy.
LDI Senior Fellow Emily Vail, MD, MSc, (Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the Perelman School of Medicine and Deepshikha Ashana, MD, a former LDI Associate Fellow now an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Duke University Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy.
Adding a lightheartedly jarring visual element to the ARM 2022 meeting was the fact that it shared the convention center with Awesome Con — a regional Comic Con-like event attended by a comic book aficionados in superhero and supervillain costumes. This one is the comic book villain Plague Doctor who uses disease as a weapon.


Hoag Levins

Editor, Digital Publications

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