Leadership & Staff

  • Dr. Len Nichols, Director

Leadership:

Dr. Len Nichols, Director

Dr. Len Nichols has been the Director of the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics (CHPRE) and a Professor of Health Policy at George Mason University since March 2010. He has been intimately involved in health reform debates, policy development, and communication with the media and policy makers for 20+ years, after he was Senior Advisor for Health Policy at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the Clinton Administration. Since that time he has testified frequently before Congress and state legislatures, published extensively and spoken to a wide range of hospital associations, physician groups, and health policy leadership forums around the country.   After OMB, Len was a Principle Research Associate at the Urban Institute, Vice President of the Center for Studying Health System Change, and Director of the Health Policy Program at the New America Foundation.   In addition to his positions at GMU Len is on the Board of Directors of the National Committee for Quality Assurance and was recently appointed by the Comptroller General to serve on the Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC), created by the MACRA legislation of 2015.  Len was an advisor to the Virginia Health Reform Initiative and is now the payment reform advisor to the Virginia Center for Health Innovation.  As he has come to focus his research more on payment and delivery reform, Len was an Innovation Advisor to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation at CMS in 2012, and is now the Principal Investigator on PCMH evaluation studies as well as more general ways to use payment and delivery reform to achieve triple aim and health equity goals.   Len’s first job was teaching economics at Wellesley College from 1980-1991, where he became Associate Professor and Economics Department Chair, after receiving his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Illinois in 1980.  Len got his B.A. from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, and his M.A. in Economics from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

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CHPRE Staff:

Treniese Polk, Project Manager

Treniese Polk is the CareFirst Project Manager for the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics. Ms.Polk possesses over 7 years of experience contributing to projects as a monitoring and evaluation technical advisor, healthcare analyst, and program/project manager. Ms.Polk currently provides programmatic support for GMU’s Evaluation of Care First Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Patient Centered Medical Home Program and supports the evaluation efforts of a talented, multidisciplinary research team. Ms.Polk monitors the progress of the evaluation and research activities, provides financial oversight of the project’s budget and resources, and maintains communication with the client. Prior to joining George Mason University in March 2013, she was a Program Manager for the US Air Force Surgeon General’s office Personalized-Genomics Medicine program, where she led the strategic planning and implementation of translating genomic information into clinical practice in four areas: clinical studies, policy, ethic/legal/social, and bio-informatics/systems engineering. Treniese Polk received a B.A. in Psychology-Health Sciences from Spelman College in 2007 and a MS in Health Systems Management/Health Policy Analysis from George Mason University in 2011.

Iwonka Kicinger, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Iwonka Kicinger, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

 

Iwona Kicinger is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics. She earned her Ph.D. in Economics in 2010 from George Mason University. She specializes in health economics, public policy, and econometric modeling. Her current research interests include evaluation of patient-centered health care delivery and health insurance premiums, effectiveness of wellness programs provided by employers, as well as efficiency and costs of the Medicare program.

 

 

 

Meng-Hao Li, Graduate Research Assistant

Meng-Hao Li, Graduate Research Assistant

Meng-Hao Li is a Graduate Research Assistant for The Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics and a PhD student in Public Policy at George Mason University. Prior to entering George Mason University, he worked as a research specialist at Yuan Ze University and University of Illinois at Chicago for more than 10 years. His previous research work principally involved in grant proposal writing, program evaluation, survey administration, and data analysis. His current interests are in health policy, translational science policy, and social network analysis. He received a B.A. in Psychology from Chung Yuan Christian University in 2000, a M.I. in Social Informatics from Yuan Ze University in 2003, and a M.P.A. in Public Administration from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013.

 

 

Brad Kells, Graduate Research Assistant

Brad Kells, Graduate Research Assistant

 

Brad Kells is currently a Graduate Research Assistant for the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics and a PhD student in Economics at George Mason University.  He works under Len Nichols on the evalulation of the CareFirst Patient Centered Medical Home program.  His research interests include health policy, decision-making under uncertainty, and applied microeconometrics.  Prior to coming to GMU, he received a B.S. in Economics at Michigan State University.

 

 

Sriteja Burla, Graduate Research Assistant

Sriteja Burla, Graduate Research Assistant

Sriteja Burla is a Masters student in Economics at George Mason University and a Ph.D Economics aspirant. He works on the CareFirst’s Patient Centered Medical Home program evaluation project under the leadership of Len Nichols, Alison Cuellar, and Lorens Helmchen. His research interests include Economics of Health, Political Economy, microeconometrics. Prior to coming to GMU, he has worked as a research associate at the Foundation for Democratic Reforms, a think-tank and scientific research-resource center for studying, formulating and promoting fundamental reforms in political, electoral and governance spheres in India. He also holds a Bachelors degree in Electronics Engineering from BITS Pilani University, India.

 

 

 

Chanup Jeung Graduate Research Assistant

Chanup Jeung, Graduate Research Assistant

Chanup Jeung is a Ph.D. student in Health Service Research at George Mason University and a Graduate Research Assistant for the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics. His doctoral research and studies are on the health policy, quantitative methods, program evaluation, and policy research using micro-economic methods. Currently, under the supervision of Dr. Len Nichols, he is working on the Virginia State Innovation Model Project. Prior to his doctoral studies at George Mason, he spent over six years working at Citibank Korea and Samsung as a corporate credit analyst. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Yonsei University in 2006, and a Master of International Development Policy from Duke University in 2012.

 

 

Julia Lawhorn, Communication and Project Coordinator

Julia Lawhorn  joined the Center early in 2017 as Communication and Project Coordinator, aiming to fulfill CHPRE’s mission of connecting the policy and research worlds to the benefit of both. She provides daily coordination and oversight support to CHPRE Director and Faculty.  Julie comes to us from LearningRx, a cognitive skills training center in Fairfax, VA.  She earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1986.