Lisa Simpson at the AcademyHealth podium for the last time as CEO.
Stepping down after a dozen years as AcademyHealth President and CEO, Lisa Simpson looked back at the changes the organization and its members have been through since 2011. (Photos: Hoag Levins) Click images for larger

Taking the podium at the 2023 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting for the last time as President and CEO, Lisa Simpson looked out on an audience in the Seattle Convention Center that was much more diverse than when she took over the organization 12 years ago. She spoke of the dynamism of the health services research community and the new voices and ethnic and racial perspectives that are enriching and strengthening its work. She also noted the existential threats that continue to push against progress, including campaigns of misinformation, partisan rhetoric, and increasing hate and national division.

“We must all be mentors, champions, and sponsors for the next generation. Most importantly, we must stand together in the face of unprecedented attacks on science, education, and freedom of speech. Make no mistake. If science and education are suffering anywhere, they are suffering everywhere,” Simpson said to rousing applause. Further underscoring the legacy of her tenure were the topics of the three plenary sessions of the four-day event: health equity, reproductive justice, and the impact of climate change on health and health care.

As it has done since it played a role in the formation of AcademyHealth 41 years ago, the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) was heavily involved in the latest event with dozens of its Senior and Associate Fellows involved in podium presentations, panel discussions, research poster displays, and networking activities:

Nadiyah Browning, MPH, and Kaday Kamara man the Penn LDI booth at AcademyHealth 2023
Manning the LDI booth in the 2023 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting’s expo hall are Nadiyah Browning, MPH, LDI Senior Project Coordinator for Strategic Partnerships and Policy, and Kaday Kamara, LDI Policy Coordinator and Master’s in Public Health student.
Norma Coe, PhD, Sungchul Park, PhD, and Rachel M. Werner, MD, PhD
Winning authors of the AcademyHealth Health Services Research (HSR) journal’s 2023 John M. Eisenberg Article of the Year award were Norma Coe, PhD, LDI Senior Fellow; Sungchul Park, PhD, of Korea University; and Rachel M. Werner, MD, PhD, LDI Executive Director. See full story.
Amol Navathe, MD, PhD, at the podium at AcademyHealth 2023
One of the liveliest and most-crowded AcademyHealth sessions was the “Great Debates in Payment Reforms in Value-Based Payments and Medicare Advantage” chaired by Amol Navathe, MD, PhD, LDI Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Healthcare Transformation Institute at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. The session featured point-counterpoint sparring and direct voting on each point by the audience. When asked if value-based payment is working, a majority voted “No, barely any of the programs generate true savings. Plus, private payers and employers aren’t doing it so it can’t really work.”
Michael Chernew, Richard Kronick, Karen Joynt Maddox, Andrew Ryan, and Amol Navathe on AcademyHealth 2023 panel
The “Great Debates” session panel consisted of Michael Chernew, PhD, Harvard Medical School Professor and Chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC); Richard Kronick, PhD, University of California, San Diego Professor and former Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); Karen Joynt Maddox, MD, MPH, Washington University in St. Louis Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the Center for Advancing Health Services, Policy & Economics Research; and Andrew Ryan, PhD, Brown University Professor and Director of the Center for Health Policy.
Karen Lasater, PhD, RN, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Karen Lasater, PhD, RN, LDI Senior Fellow and Assistant Professor in Penn’s School of Nursing and its Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research (CHOPR) presented findings related to the lowering of a hospital’s nursing skill mix. Essentially, as some hospitals seek to save money by replacing registered nurses with lower-skilled personnel, those claimed “savings” fail to consider the increased care costs of this tactic. Lower-skilled nursing results in higher mortality and more complications for patients–the costs of which offset the purported “savings.”
Gary Weissman, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.
LDI Senior Fellow Gary Weissman, MD, MSHP, Assistant Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine, presented his study analyzing the current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) methodology for authorizing new medical devices for critical care driven by artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML). The work concluded that the agency lacks a clear and relevant regulatory framework for the unique nature and potential risks of AI/ML devices for clinical decision support.
Lauren Ashley Hogstrom, Azin Pooresmaeil, Joanne Levy, Mary Catherine Papandreas, and Shivani Iyer at AcademyHealth 2023.
As part of its Summer Undergraduate Minority Research (SUMR) program, LDI brings four LDI-Penn Dental Summer Health Services Research Fellows to the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting: Lauren Ashley Hogstrom; Azin Pooresmaeil; Joanne Levy, MBA, MPC, Founding Director of SUMR; Mary Catherine Papandreas; and Shivani Iyer. The four are current students in Penn’s School of Dental Medicine who are exploring health services research careers as well.
Bianca Rodriguez Diaz, Josiah Drakes, Rhoodjinie Mentor, Sebastian Spataro, Arturo Bardales, Kelly Su, Medha Romee Maitra, Gordon Elnagar, Faith Dempsey, Anam Rawoof, Rafeeul Jaman Chinwe Nwadiogbu at AcademyHealth 2023
Eleven Penn LDI GEAR UP (Get Experience in Aging Research Undergraduate Program) fellows were part of the LDI contingent. The program immerses them in Penn’s aging-related health care research community. Top row: Bianca Rodriguez Diaz; Josiah Drakes; Rhoodjinie Mentor; and Sebastian Spataro. Middle: Arturo Bardales; Kelly Su; and Medha Romee Maitra. Bottom: Gordon Elnagar; Faith Dempsey; Anam Rawoof; Rafeeul Jaman; and GEAR UP Deputy Director Chinwe Nwadiogbu, MLA.
Arnold Rosoff, JD, of The Wharton School at the 2023 AcademyHealth Research Meeting in Seattle.
LDI Senior Fellow and Wharton School Professor Emeritus of Legal Studies and Business Ethics Arnold Rosoff, JD, browses the AcademyHealth expo hall.
Onome Osokpo, PhD, RN, of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Nursing at the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting in 2023
LDI Associate Fellow Onome Osokpo, PhD, RN, was on hand as part of a large contingent from the Penn School of Nursing.
Crowded poster expo aisles at the 2023 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting
The AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting hosted three different poster session enabling more than a thousand scientists to display the details of their latest works. (See the separate photo page from the poster sessions).
University of Pennsylvania student Alexander Eapen at the 2023 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting
A Penn-LDI SUMR scholar last year, this year Alexander Eapen was back as a presenter with a poster of his team’s study analyzing the health-equity units that have been created in many state health departments to focus on structural racism.
Arturo Bardales, Payton Nashe, Amol Jhala, Srikar Yelamarthy, and Gordon Scott Elnager at the 2023 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting
Networking at the LDI AcademyHealth party at Seattle’s Outlier Restaurant were minority research scholars Arturo Bardales, Payton Nashe, Amol Jhala, Srikar Yelamarthy, and Gordon Scott Elnager.
Tia Yancey, Christine Duah, Kimi Li, Daniella Jacob, Medha Romee Maitra, and Azeeza Sarour at the 2023 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting
Also at the LDI AcademyHealth party were minority research scholars Tia Yancey, Christine Duah, Kimi Li, Daniella Jacob, Medha Romee Maitra, and Azeeza Sarour.

Companion ARM 2023 Stories