Leadership & Staff

  • Dr. Len Nichols, Director


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 25+ 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, hospital systems, physician groups, boards of directors, 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 in 2016 was appointed by the Comptroller General to serve on the Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC), which advises the Secretary of HHS on Medicare payment policies.  Len was an advisor to the Virginia Health Reform Initiative and is now the payment reform advisor to the Virginia Center for Health Innovation.  Len was an Innovation Advisor to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation at CMS in 2012, and has recently been the Principal Investigator on PCMH evaluation studies as well as in more general studies of how to use payment and delivery reform to achieve triple aim and health equity goals.   Recently he has become focused on how payment models may be used to incentivize sustainable investments in social determinants of health.  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.  He lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife Nora Super of the Milken Institute.



CHPRE Staff:


Iwonka Kicinger, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Iwona Kicinger, Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Iwona Kicinger is a Research Assistant Professor at the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics.  She specializes in health economics, public policy, and econometric modeling.  Her research interests include health care delivery models, health insurance premiums and designs, effectiveness of wellness programs, quality of health care outcomes, and efficiency of the Medicare payment program.  Currently, she is involved in the CareFirst’s Patient Centered Medical Home program evaluation project and Heart of Virginia Healthcare initiative as part of EvidenceNOW: Advancing Heart Health in Primary Care sponsored by Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).  She earned her Ph.D. in Economics in 2010 from George Mason University.




Julia Lawhorn, Communications and Project Coordinator

Julia Lawhorn  joined the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics in January 2017 as CHPRE’s Communication and Project Coordinator, to assist in connecting the policy and research worlds to the benefit of both.  While providing daily coordination and oversight support to the CHPRE Director and Research Faculty, Julie manages center and grant funds, purchasing and website content as well as CHPRE’s liaison to the GMU Office of Sponsored Programs and Institutional Review Board.  Julie comes to us from LearningRx in Fairfax, a business that provides cognitive therapy, otherwise known as Brain Training.  Prior to raising her three children, Julie was Manager, Government and Industry Affairs for Sterling Winthrop, a pharmaceutical company based in New York that has since partnered with Elf Sanofi is and now known as Sanofi Aventis.  Julie earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill In 1986.




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 2



Chanup Jeung Graduate Research Assistant

Chanup Jeung, Graduate Research Assistant

Chanup Jeung is a Ph.D. student in Health Policy at George Mason University and a Graduate Research Assistant for the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics.  His research interests are health policies on chronic diseases, impacts of the Affordable Care Act on health care demands and on hospital’s behavior, and program evaluation (Micro-econometrics).  Under the supervision of Dr. Len Nichols, he has been working on developing bundled payments for high risk Medicaid moms in Virginia. Prior to his doctoral studies at Mason, he spent over six years working at Citibank Korea and Samsung Card Company as a corporate credit analyst. He earned a Master of International Development Policy from Duke University in 2012 and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Yonsei University, Seoul, in 2006.