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2020 Rossi Award Winner
Randall S. Brown
We are delighted to announce that Dr. Randall S. Brown of Mathematica Policy Research has been selected to receive the 2020 Peter H. Rossi Award for Contributions to the Theory or Practice of Program Evaluation.
Dr. Brown is a senior fellow emeritus in the Health Research division at Mathematica Policy Research, where he worked for 42 years, retiring in April of 2020. He was Director of Health Research in the company's Princeton office from 2005 to 2018, and a Vice President from 2005 to 2012. Dr. Brown specializes in the evaluation design of complex interventions, focusing primarily on studies of care coordination, primary care reform, and long-term care, for Medicare and Medicaid populations. He has led many of the largest and most visible program evaluations funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) over the past 36 years. He continues to do part-time consulting.
After receiving a PhD in Economics (Econometrics major) from the University of Wisconsin in 1977, he was hired by Mathematica Policy Research and began working on follow-up studies to the Negative Income Experiments and an evaluation of the Supported Work Program. In 1983, he shifted his focus from labor and welfare issues to the health area and became a co-Principal Investigator of the landmark National Long-Term Care study. He led several CMS-funded evaluations of the effects of allowing Medicare beneficiaries to receive their health care from Health Maintenance Organizations. This work led to his interest in assessing how care coordination and disease management interventions for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic illnesses could slow the growth in total Medicare expenditures nationally. In that area, he led several large, national studies between 1993 and 2010, and was invited to present his work to several key government agencies including CBO, OMB, USAID, and MedPAC. The work resulted in numerous Reports to Congress, presentations at National Academy of Medicine, the National Health Policy Forum, conferences, major health care foundations, and many advisory panel roles. A paper that Dr. Brown and his colleagues published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on their evaluation the Medicare Coordinated Care Demonstration led to Paper of the Year awards in 2010 from both AcademyHealth and the National Institute for Health Care Management. Their Health Affairs paper identifying six distinguishing features of successful care coordination programs was selected by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as one of the 5 Most Influential Research Articles for their 2012 Year in Research. Dr. Brown also continued to conduct research in long term care, leading the Evaluation of the Cash and Counseling program (jointly funded by ASPE and RWJF, 1996-2005), for which he and his colleagues published many journal articles and received the AcademyHealth 2009 Impact Award.
Throughout his career, Dr. Brown's work has focused on bringing the strongest and most robust methodological approaches to program evaluations, and providing clear, heuristic interpretation for policymakers on why the results from these methods differ from conventional analysis.
A letter nominating Dr. Brown is worth quoting at length:
[Dr. Brown's] body of work has had a major influence on Medicare and Medicaid policy. Not only through the traditional publication channels, but directly through Reports to Congress and briefings with top CMS administrators. In many cases, CMS turned to Randy and his team to draft reports to Congress that set the stage for new legislation and refinements to existing programs.
Randy brought unrelenting rigor to all of his work. But while continually pushing for the highest standards in estimating program effects, he also recognized the importance of deeply understanding the how, what, and why that explained these effects. Across a tremendous mix of projects, Randy never stopped at such a simple bottom line as to say whether a model did or did not work. Instead, he looked for what did work or what had potential to work. He took each demonstration as a precious opportunity to learn and did exactly that.
Randy's publication record also shows his influence on the field. His desire to increase the value of his research and see that it would inform the field led him to publish widely. To date, he has published 58 articles, most of them in top health services research journals. These articles – published in Health Affairs (8), Health Services Research (12), New England Journal of Medicine (1), and Journal of Health Economics (1), among other journals–have been cited over 2,100 times.
Randy has had an incalculable effect as a generous mentor to dozens of other researchers at Mathematica Policy Research. He always used each opportunity he had to not only answer a critical research question, but to also develop more and better health services researchers.
Finally, beyond Randy's tremendous contribution to the field of health services research, it is worth mentioning that he and his wife raised two charming and successful daughters along with nurturing several foster children. It is not clear how it was possible, but Randy was always there for these young people and helped them to have promising futures.
The award will be presented during the Annual Meeting (online) of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, Thursday, November 12, 2020, 2:00 p.m.-2:55 p.m. (Eastern Time).
In his acceptance talk, Dr. Brown will speak on the subject of "The Evolving Art of Program Evaluation." Larry Orr, Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Kathy Swartz, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, will comment on his remarks.
Those interested in participating should register here.
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