I research quality and accountability of health care, with a focus on behavioral health services. The majority of my work has focused on the setting of inpatient psychiatry given the extreme power imbalances and vulnerabilities that patients face in these settings. My work aims to describe variation in quality of care across organizations and patients, as well as to identify effective strategies (both in the inner-organization and external context) to promote equitable, patient-centered care. The motivation behind my research comes from a philosophy that all humans have inherent worth and are deserving of respectful care, regardless of the power they hold or ease with which they can negotiate the system.
As one of the only health services and policy researchers studying quality of inpatient psychiatry in the country, I have had measurable impact with my work. For example, in 2016, the Deputy Under Secretary for Health and Organizational Excellence at the Veteran’s Health Administration informed me that our paper had triggered internal investigations into the quality of care provided at VHA inpatient psychiatric facilities. Our paper eventually led to the implementation of a program to improve trauma-informed care throughout the eastern region’s inpatient psychiatric facilities. In 2019, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health revamped their critical incident monitoring system for inpatient psychiatric facilities in order to better support trend analyses of complaints and safety incidents in response to a 2018 paper I published in Health Affairs. And I have been called upon to offer expert testimony and consultation in several legal matters regarding the treatment of patients in psychiatric hospitals.
I am currently finishing an NIMH T32 postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Mental Health (CMH), Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. I completed my Ph.D. at Brandeis’ Heller School for Social Policy, where I was supported by a T32 fellowship from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and was a Harvard Kennedy School Rappaport Doctoral Public Policy Fellow. I received an M.Sc. from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. I have published 23 peer-reviewed manuscripts in outlets such as Health Affairs, Medical Care, Psychiatric Services, and Medical Care Research and Review, as well as several contracted policy reports for entities such as the HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.