HPM Alumni Stories

Department of Health Policy and Management alumni have crafted interesting career paths and are applying their wealth of professional and academic experiences in a variety of roles.

Hernandez finds price of brand-name drugs has increased 3x faster than inflation

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90.5 WESA – Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM ’16) said what’s concerning is that discounts are often paid directly to insurers. This means people who are un- or under-insured generally don’t benefit from the markdowns. “This is probably increasing disparities in health care access…. We are not doing a good job of protecting patients against increases in co-pays, out-of-pocket costs and certainly those that don’t have insurance.”  

Hernandez on barriers to biosimilars

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POLITICO - “It comes back to financial incentives,” said Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM ’16), who cited her paper published in JAMA a week ago. Once biosimilars entered the market, list prices for their biologic rivals stagnated while net prices began declining. This shows brand companies were offering bigger rebates to PBMs to try to keep market share away from biosimilars.  

Roberts and Hoffman featured in Hulu documentary on anti-vaccine movement

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HULU - Available now on the streaming service, Vice Investigates “Anti-Vaxx Fever” explores the growing anti-vaccine movement. The documentary features in-depth looks at the varied work of professor Mark Roberts and of student Beth Hoffman (BCHS ’19 ’23). Each uses system science methods to investigate the dangers of this movement, generating compelling images that are powerful tools for communicating science to the public.  

Alumna profile: Diane Peterson

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PITT PUBLIC HEALTH MAGAZINE — Looking back, Diane Peterson (HPM ’75) says her unconventional academic journey ended up being the perfect foundation for a career that has taken her all over the world and to the height of her profession. “I’m very proud to be a Pitt grad,” she says. “Even with the circuitous approach I took, I think the program did a marvelous job of providing me a well-rounded education.” Hear reflections on her highly successful... 

Hernandez explains why some Americans are forced into bankruptcy to pay for prescriptions

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THE GUARDIAN – A 2019 report published in the journal Health Affairs found drug costs are driven largely by pharmaceutical manufacturers’ year-on-year price hikes on drugs already on the market rather than by innovation, as often claimed by the industry. Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM ’16), lead author of the study, says, “Our results are relevant from a policy perspective because they show that price increases do not necessarily reflect innovation o... 

Meet HPM alum Mina Kabiri

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Mina Kabiri (HPM '17) is the associate director of global health economics and value demonstration at the Health Economics and Market Access division of Johnson and Johnson Medical Devices Companies. In her role, she leads the global efforst of developing health economic modeling tools for orthopedics, bio-surgery, and cardiovascular medical devices.   

As a Pennsylvanian with a disability, Tomko is forced to choose between higher pay and essential benefits

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PUBLICSOURCE - Until salary caps are removed, Heather Tomko (HPM ’19) must constantly choose between her career and her health. Right now, people with disabilities are barred from positions of power and influence because they can’t afford the accompanying salary. Without people with disabilities in these positions, the needs of people with disabilities aren’t represented in policy.  

Megan Crilly

Megan Crilly is a senior CMC regulatory affairs specialist at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. She develops regulatory strategies for the chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) section of clinical applications to regulatory agencies around the world. Her responsibilities also include reviewing clinical trial applications and managing submission approvals and timelines to support supply of clinical trials.  

Zhijie Ding

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Zhijie Ding is the manager of real world value & evidence, immunology for The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. In this role he demonstrates the value of STELARA® in Crohn’s disease by generating and communicating high quality real-world evidence through collaboration with internal and external stakeholders. Ding contributes to the U.S. market access scientific strategy for STELARA® by providing insights from real-world evid... 

Sally Caine Leathers

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Sally Caine Leathers is currently serving as a health insurance specialist at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) where she is leading the development of a rural health model. While at CMMI, she has led the Hospital Payment Program under the Maryland Total Cost of Care Model, where all MD hospitals operate under a global budget, and helped implement the Million Hearts Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Model, which aims to re... 

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HPM Alumni Awards & Profiles

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Alumna profile: Diane Peterson  

Alumna profile: Diane Peterson

PITT PUBLIC HEALTH MAGAZINE — Looking back, Diane Peterson (HPM ’75) says her unconventional academic journey ended up being the perfect foundation for a career that has taken her all over the world and to the height of her profession. “I’m very proud to be a Pitt grad,” she says. “Even with the ci... (02/20/2020)
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Meet HPM alum Mina Kabiri 

Meet HPM alum Mina Kabiri

Mina Kabiri (HPM '17) is the associate director of global health economics and value demonstration at the Health Economics and Market Access division of Johnson and Johnson Medical Devices Companies. In her role, she leads the global efforst of developing health economic modeling tools for orthoped... (02/12/2020)
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Meet HPM alum Ray Van Cleve  

Meet HPM alum Ray Van Cleve

Ray Van Cleve (HPM '19) is working at the PRIME Center, a collaboration between Yale School of Medicine and The West Haven VA Hospital. He is working on the Pain and Opioids Consortium of Research (CORE) serving as the group's statistician and helping manage some of the group's day to day projects ... (02/05/2020)
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Morgan wins Carl E. Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award  

Morgan wins Carl E. Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award

Russell E. Morgan Jr (HSADM ’70) received the Carl E. Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding lifetime achievements in international health from the International Health Section of the American Public Health Association. Morgan was presented with the award during the 201... (12/04/2019)
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Hernandez receives 2019 Seema S. Sonnad Emerging Leader in Managed Care Research Award 

Hernandez receives 2019 Seema S. Sonnad Emerging Leader in Managed Care Research Award

VALDOSTA DAILY TIMES - "As an exemplary leader in the field of managed care, Dr. Hernandez sincerely represents the values that the Seema S. Sonnad Emerging Leader in Managed Care Research award was founded on," said Mike Hennessy Jr., president and CEO of MJH Life Sciences, parent company of the p... (11/11/2019)
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Meet HPM alumna Cassandra Leighton 

Meet HPM alumna Cassandra Leighton

Cassandra Leighton (HPM '19) is a health services solutions analyst at AmeriHealth Caritas. Headquartered in Philadelphia, AmeriHealth Caritas is a managed care organization, serving over 5.1 million Medicaid, Medicare, and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) members across 11 states. In her... (10/17/2019)
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Garrison, Abdi, Litam win first place nationally in 2019 Everett V. Fox Student Case Competition 

Garrison, Abdi, Litam win first place nationally in 2019 Everett V. Fox Student Case Competition

Erika Garrison (MHA/MBA '20), Ilham Abdi (MHA '20), and Terrance Litam (MHA '20) took top honors in NAHSE's case competition held in Washington, DC. Competing among 29 teams representing the nation's top programs, the Pitt students developed a plan to address the health care needs of San Francisco'... (10/14/2019)
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Boehm selected as Pittsburgh Business Times' 30 Under 30 

Boehm selected as Pittsburgh Business Times' 30 Under 30

Congratulations to Meghan Boehm (HPM '18)! Award winners were selected for their successful efforts to grow a busines or nonprofit and for their contributions to the community and civic organizations. "I am so honored to be among this group of incredible leaders in the Pittsburgh community, and I a... (09/01/2019)
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