Meet our Students

Current Students' Activities:

The HSOR PhD students come with a variety of backgrounds and interests.  While students, they also take advantage of many opportunities, as shown by the summary below. 

Priya Chandan 

Priya graduated from the University of Georgia with a double major in Microbiology and Psychology.  She then continued her studies at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), earning MD and MPH degrees.  Priya's background is in clinical medicine, as she completed her clinical internship in Internal Medicine and one year of residency training in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at VCU Health System.  She currently works as a research assistant with Dr. Jessica Mittler and serves as the Clinical Director of MedFest for Special Olympics Virginia.  Priya will transition to Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville in the fall of 2016.  She will have a joint appointment within the School of Public Health and Information Sciences and within the Department of Neurosurgery, which will allow her to pursue both of her research areas of interest:  health disparities research related to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and outcomes research related to the clinical field of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 

Selected publications include: 

Sabik, L., Bazzoli, G., Carcaise-Edinboro, P., Chandan, P., Harpe, S. (in press). The impact of integrated case management on health services use and spending among non-elderly adult Medicaid enrollees. Medical Care

Bazzoli, G., Carcaise-Edinboro, P., Sabik, L., Chandan, P., Harpe, S. (in press). Integrated case management: Does it reduce health service disparities across African American and White Medicaid beneficiaries?. Medical Care Research and Review

Qutubuddin, A. A., Chandan, P., & Carne, W. (2015). Chapter 45: Degenerative movement disorders of the central nervous system. In D. X. Cifu (Ed.), Braddom's physical medicine & rehabilitation (5th ed., pp. 1017-1027). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Elsevier. 

Carter, W., Darko, I., Chandan, P., and Pai, A. (2014) “Colitis after Polytrauma.” Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development. 2014; 51(4): 655-660. 

Wehman, P, Targett, P, Dillard, C & Chandan, P. (2014, in press) “Return to School and Return to Work after Traumatic Brain Injury.” In D. Cifu & B. Eapen (Eds.), Critical Care in Traumatic Brain Injury. London, UK: Future Medicine Ltd

O’Neal, MR, Geiger, BF, Cellitti, MA., Chandan, P, & Smith, KH. (2012) “Web Sense: Assisting Individuals with Disabilities and Caregivers to Find Online Health Information.” Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet. 16(3): 295-306. 

Geiger, BF, O'Neal, MR, Firsing III, SL, Smith, KH, Chandan, P, Schmidt, A, Jackson, JB. (2010) “HealthyMe HealthyU(©2010UCPGB): A Collaborative Project to Enhance Access to Health Information and Services for Individuals with Disabilities.” Journal of Health Communication. 15(Suppl 3): 46-59.   

Matthew DePuccio 

Matt is a research assistant at VCU’s Office of Health Innovation where he helps design and implement program evaluations for VCU Medical Center.  As a research assistant to Laura McClelland, Ph.D., Matt investigated organizational drivers of patient experiences and Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores.  He co-instructed an introductory course in health care systems and is now working on his dissertation research which focuses on primary care team processes and outcomes. 

Matt graduated from St. Lawrence University with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a Master of Science from the University at Albany (SUNY) in Health Policy and Management. 


Hoff, T., and DePuccio, M. (2016). Medical home gaps for older adult patients: Perspectives from primary care physicians and their staff. Journal of Applied Gerontology, Ahead of print, doi: 10.1177/0733464816637850. 

DePuccio, M.J., and Ozcan, Y.A. (2016). Exploring efficiency differences between medical home and non-medical home hospitals. International Journal of Healthcare Management, Ahead of print, doi: 10.1080/20479700.2015.1101913. 

DePuccio, M.J. (2014). Managed care and organizational influences on hospitalist program adoption. Hospital Topics, 92(4) 1-7.  

DePuccio, M.J, and Hoff, T.J. (2013). Medical home interventions and quality outcomes for older adults: A systematic review.” Quality Management in Health Care. 22(4), 336-349. 

Hoff, T., Weller, W., and DePuccio, M. (2012). “The patient-centered medical home: A review of recent research.” Medical Care Research and Review. 69(6), 619-644.  

Jennifer Early 

Jennifer (Jen) Early is a doctoral candidate who received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (2005) and Master of Science in Health Administration (2012) from Virginia Commonwealth University. Jen works as a research associate in Community-Engaged Research under VCU’s Division of Community Engagement and Center for Clinical and Translational Research.  She is interested in the role of academic health centers, their relationships with surrounding communities, and how they interact to impact community health. She also has research interests in how organizational structure can hinder or improve individual and organizational performance.  


Holton, V., Early, J. L., Resler, M., Trussel, A., Howard, C. (2016). “The University Next Door:  Developing a Centralized Unit that Strategical Cultivates Community Engagement at an Urban University.” Metropolitan Universities Journal. 

Holton, V., Jettner, J. F., Early, J. L., & Shaw, K. K. (2015). “Leveraging existing resources to develop university community engagement data systems.” Metropolitan Universities Journal, 26 (2). 

Holton, V., Early, J. L., Jettner, J. F., & Shaw, K. K. (2015). “Measuring Community-University Partnerships across a Complex Research University: Lessons and Findings from a Pilot Enterprise Data Collection Mechanism.” Metropolitan Universities Journal, 26 (2). 

Invited Presentations:  

Early, J., Haley, A., & Edinboro, P. (2016, January). Creative Collaborations: Community-Academic Collaborations. Ready, Set Grant!, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (local). 

Early, J. (2015, November). Finding Community Partners for Research in 5 Simple Steps. Curious Conversations Brown Bag Lunch Series, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (local). 

Early, J. L. (2015, October). Resources for Conducting Community-Engaged Research at VCU. Curious Conversations Brown Bag Lunch Series, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (local). 

Holton, V, & Early, J. (2015, May). Creating Virginia Commonwealth University’s Climate for Community-Engaged Research. Community Engagement Institute, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (local).  

Early, J. (2014, October). Successful Collective Impact Model Formation, Community-Engagement Committee, Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (local).  

Early, J. (2014, October). Successful Collective Impact Model Formation, Federation for Community Engaged-Research, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (local).  

Peer-Reviewed Presentations: 

Zimmerman, E., Cook, S., Haley, A., Walker, A., Bea, C., Early J. (2016). The SEED Method: A participatory process for stakeholder involvement in selecting and prioritizing health research questions. Campus-Community Partnerships for Health 14th International Conference. New Orleans, Louisiana. 

Jen is also sole author on the following presentation, for which she won 2nd place in the Academy Health's Annual Research Meeting's "First Annual Student Pecha Kucha Style Competition:"   

Early, J. (2014) “Acuity Adaptable Units: Innovative Investment or Disaster in the Making?” Academy Health 2014 Annual Research Meeting. San Diego, California.   

Tina Highfill 

As an economist at the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Tina produces estimates of medical care spending and price indexes by type of disease. These alternative measures of health care spending provide a better understanding of the sources of health care costs and inflation in the economy. 

Tina is an author of the following papers: 

Highfill, Tina, and Yasar Ozcan. Productivity and Quality of Hospitals that Joined the Medicare Shared Savings Accountable Care Organization Program. International Journal of Healthcare Management, 2016. 

Highfill, Tina, and David Johnson. Measuring Nursing Home Price Growth between 2000-2009. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2015. 

Aizcorbe, Ana, and Tina Highfill. Medical Care Expenditure Indexes for the US, 1980-2006. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2015. 

Highfill, Tina, and Elizabeth Bernstein. Using Disability Adjusted Life Years to Value the Treatment of Thirty Chronic Conditions in the US from 1987-2010. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2014. 

Hall, Anne E., and Tina Highfill. Calculating Disease-Based Medical Care Expenditure Indexes for Medicare Beneficiaries: A Comparison of Method and Data Choices. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2013. 

Hall, Anne E., and Tina Highfill. A Regression-Based Medical Care Expenditure Index for Medicare Beneficiaries. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2013. 

Tina earned a BA in Economics from Virginia Tech University, summa cum laude, and an MA in Applied Economics from the Johns Hopkins University.  

Jaya Khushalani 

Jaya’s current research interests are assessing disparities in cancer care and the role of health information technology in care delivery.  Jaya was awarded a pre-doctoral fellowship from the Susan Komen foundation and Massey Cancer Center for conducting research on disparities in breast cancer care. She was recently awarded a Dissertation Grant from the Massey Cancer Center Cancer Prevention and Control Program to conduct her dissertation titled ‘Multilevel Decomposition of Racial Disparities in Breast Reconstruction Surgery’. 

Jaya is a physician from Grant Medical College and holds a master’s degree in hospital administration from Tata Institute of Social Sciences as well as a diploma in Marketing Management from Welingkar Institute of Management, all in Mumbai, India.   

Papers include:   

Ozcan, Y.; Khushalani, J. (2016). “Assessing efficiency of public health and medical care provision in OECD countries after a decade of reform.” Central European Journal of Operations Research, 1-19. 

Clement, J.; Khushalani, J. (2015). “Does Assisted Living Capacity Influence Case-Mix at Nursing Homes?” Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine. January-December 2015 1: 2333721415587449, doi:10.1177/2333721415587449. 

Clement, J.; Khushalani, J. (2015). “Are Publicly Reported Quality Measures Aligned with Nursing Home Prices?” Journal of Health Care Finance. 42(1), 1-18. 

Khushalani, J.; Ozcan, Y. “Measuring the efficiency of producing quality using Dynamic Network Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA)” (Under Review) 

Posters include:  

Khushalani, J. (2016) “Multilevel Determinants of Disparities in Breast Reconstruction: Review and Meta-Analysis” American Society of Preventive Oncology, Columbus, Ohio. 

Khushalani, J. (2015) “Making a Business Case for EMR in Hospitals: Does EMR provide Strategic Advantage?” AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting, Minneapolis, MN. 

Clement, J, Khushalani, J. (2015) “Does public reporting of quality measures encourage value-based pricing in nursing homes?” AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting, Minneapolis, MN. 

Clement, J,Khushalani, J. (2014) “Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Home Case-Mix in Stable Markets.” AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting, San Diego, CA. 

Invited presentations include:  

Khushalani J. “Multilevel Determinants of Disparities in Breast Reconstruction: Review and Meta-Analysis” William & Mary Graduate Research Symposium, Williamsburg, VA, March 18-19, 2016. 

Khushalani, J, Ozcan, YA. “Examining change in hospital quality and efficiency after ACA using Dynamic Network DEA” Invited Presentation, INFORMS Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, November 1-4, 2015. 

Ozcan, YA, Khushalani, J. “Public and Medical Care Provisions in Global Health Assessment using Dynamic Network DEA of OECD Countries.” Keynote Speaker at International Healthcare Management Conference (IHMC): “Local Health Care Services & Global Perspectives.” Gumushane, Turkey. June 15-17, 2015.  

In addition, Jaya has the following working papers: 

Khushalani, J.; Adunlin, G. “Multilevel Determinants of Disparities in Breast Reconstruction: Review and Meta-Analysis” 

Khushalani, J.; Yao, N. “Racial disparities in complications after breast reconstruction surgery” 

Khushalani, J.; Kimmel, A. “Cost-effectiveness of alternative screening modalities for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Conjunctiva (SCCC) in Central and East Africa”  

Jaya won 3rd place in the Academy Health's Annual Research Meeting's "Presenting Research in Compelling Ways Student Competition." Jaya has co-taught an undergraduate healthcare management course last fall and has been invited as a guest lecture for courses in the Department of Health Administration and the Department of Health Behavior and Policy at VCU. 

Sandra Lamm  

Sandra is a supervisor in Transfusion Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. She has a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from Medical College of Virginia and an MS in Health Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.  

She has published the following abstracts with poster presentations:  

Lamm S, Stalley A, Bhavnagri, Armstrong, S, Squyars, K Sanford, K. (2014) “Platelet Utilization Forecasting: Using the Past to Predict the Future”. Transfusion, 54(S2):247  

Lamm S, Shemenski J, Stalley A, Bhavnagri R, Sanford K. (2013) “Improving an Electronic Maintenance Documentation Form.” Transfusion , 53(S2):270A.  

The following is in press:  

Lamm S, Stalley A, Bhavnagri R, Armstrong S, Franks M, Sanford K. “Platelet Utilization Forecasting: Impact on Ordering Practice,” Transfusion (In press)  

She is co-author of:  

Stalley A, Armstrong S, Lamm S. (2010) “Creating an Electronic Reagent Quality Control Form.” Transfusion. 50(S2): 249.  

Hillary Linhart  

Hillary earned an MBA and BBA in Process Management and Consulting from The College of William and Mary.  She previously worked in various roles for the Medicaid business division of Anthem, Inc. and also has experience as an IT consultant at CRGT, Inc. Her research interests include Medicaid managed care operations, Medicaid Modernization, and health plan provider data quality practices. Hillary currently works as a graduate assistant to Dr. Yasar Ozcan. 

Hillary has presented the following poster: 

Linhart, H. & Shay, P. D. (2016). “Medicaid Modernization: Will it Change Medicaid Managed Care Organizational Forms?” Organization Theory in Health Care Conference, Nashville, TN.  

Steven Menzies 

Steve has a MS in Computer Science from St. Mary's University and an MBA from University of Oregon-Eugene. Steve has worked in numerous care settings throughout the continuum of health care.  Currently, he is a Database and Web Developer/Architect (Riverside Health System, Newport News, VA). 

Mary Cait Nannery 

Mary Cait earned an MBA with a focus in Healthcare Informatics and a BA in Philosophy and Political Science from the University of Mary Washington. She previously worked as a Business Performance Analyst in Finance at Virginia Premier and also as a Project Analyst at Boar's Head and Financial Analyst at Obsidian Solutions Group. Her research interest is women's health including midwifery model care, baby friendly hospitals, community doula programs, and under-served populations.

She was elected as a Board member of Nurture RVA, a local non-profit organization aimed at improving the health and well-being of childbearing families through fitness, education, social support, and community engagement during the critical life transition of pregnancy, birth, and early parenting. 

Martinson Owusu 

Martinson earned a BA in Economics from the University of Ghana, an MA in Economic Development and Policy Analysis from the University of Nottingham in the U.K., and a Master of Accountancy from Virginia Commonwealth University.  Martinson currently works as a Grants Management Specialist for the National Institute of Health and is an adjunct instructor at Northern Virginia Community College.  

Jennifer Palazzolo 

Jennifer’s research interests include evaluation of health reform initiatives, variation in utilization and cost of health care, and public reporting of health care information. 

She is author of the following paper:  

Palazzolo, J. (2015). A Multi-theory Application: The Evaluation of Accountable Care Organizations. Management & Avenir Santé, (1), 19-36. 

This year Jennifer will be working as a research assistant with Dr. Laura McClelland and continue her work with Dr. Michael McCue on the analysis of requests for premium increases by health plans on public exchanges. 

Jennifer previously worked at Virginia Health Information as the Program Manager for the Virginia All Payer Claims Database (APCD), and has experience in the fields of public health, technology and finance.  She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce from the University of Virginia, Certificate in Information Systems from the University of Richmond, and a Master of Public Health from VCU.