Angelica Meinhofer, Margaret Lowenstein and Rachel Epstein Awarded Fifth Cycle of CHERISH Pilot Grant Funding

by Sarah Gutkind, MSPH

May 20, 2019

Angelica Meinhofer, PhD

Dr. Angelica Meinhofer is an Instructor in the Department of Healthcare Policy & Research at Weill Cornell Medical College. She completed her doctorate in Economics at Brown University and previously worked as a Research Economist at RTI International’s Behavioral Health Services, Policy and Economics Research Program where she designed and conducted evaluations of interventions for opioid use disorder. Her pilot grant will examine the impact of punitive and supportive pre-natal drug use policies on maternal behaviors, pregnancy outcomes, and costs using national data sets. Using CHERISH funds she will purchase the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) data set, which includes the largest collection of longitudinal hospital care data in the United States, with all-payer, encounter-level information. This study will address critical knowledge gaps regarding the impact of state policies for reducing substance use during pregnancy, and will guide policy approaches to improve maternal and infant health.

M. Lowenstein
Margaret Lowenstein, MD, MPhil

Dr. Margaret Lowenstein is a Fellow and VA Scholar in the National Clinicians Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania and an Associate Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. As part of her health services research fellowship, Dr. Lowenstein’s research focuses on access to harm reduction and substance use treatment for people with opioid use disorders. Her pilot grant will estimate the cost and effectiveness of naloxone distribution to prevent overdose fatalities in public libraries in Philadelphia from a city policymaker perspective. This study will be among the first to examine overdose outcomes, costs and cost-effectiveness of naloxone distribution in public institutions and the first to evaluate naloxone distribution efforts in public libraries. Libraries represent an innovative model for scaling up community-based overdose prevention efforts and are a promising part of comprehensive strategies to combat the opioid crisis. The results from her pilot study will inform policymakers about the best use of scarce resources to reduce overdose mortality and increase access to naloxone.

Rachel Epstein, MD, MS

Dr. Rachel Epstein is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Infectious Diseases and Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Boston Medical Center. She previously completed a combined fellowship in adult and pediatric infectious diseases while completing an MS in Epidemiology from the Boston University School of Public Health. Her previous research has largely focused on characterizing the HCV care cascade for people with substance use disorder, and HIV medication adherence and prevention. With pilot grant funding from CHERISH, Dr. Epstein will be able to access the MarketScan commercial claims dataset and link these data with a novel dataset of Medicaid HCV treatment policies maintained by the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable and the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School. This will enable her to analyze HCV screening, linkage, and treatment rates by state and compare the trends in outcomes among states maintaining more restrictive HCV treatment Medicaid policies to those that decreased restrictions over the study period. Her pilot grant will provide important information regarding unintended (or “spillover”) effects from Medicaid policies to commercial payers that could have future implications for the treatment policy landscape.