PhD in Health Services Research and Health Policy

The PhD in Health Services Research and Health Policy at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University is a full-time program that trains researchers in the fields of health policy, health economics, health management, and health services research.

Students take doctoral-level classes in the Department of Economics, the Department of Health Policy and Management, the Goizueta business school, and elsewhere throughout the university. Many students also collaborate with faculty on research.

Following the completion of their coursework, students work on their independent research for their dissertation.

What You’ll Learn

Students in our program take classes in one of two tracks: Economics or Organizations and Management.

Economics Track

Students in the Economics track take graduate-level classes in the Department of Economics, alongside students pursing a PhD in economics. The economics track prepares students to apply economic theory to evaluate topics in health and health policy.

Organizations and Management Track

Students in Organizations and Management take advanced and doctoral-level courses in Emory’s Goizueta School of Business. The track prepares students to examine questions pertaining to access, quality, cost of health care and health outcomes. Students in this track will learn how theories and concepts from fields such as organizational behavior and technology management can be applied to medicine and health care organizations.

Core Courses and More

All students in the program take classes in statistical methods, research design, and health policy seminar. Students have room to take electives, which could be any graduate-level class at Emory or nearby universities (Georgia State, Georgia Tech).

For more information, please see our program brochure and handbook.

What Can You Do With a Graduate Degree in Health Services Research and Health Policy?

The program prepares students for a variety of research-focused careers in academia, think tanks, foundations, government agencies, pharmaceutical firms, and consulting.  

Our graduates are currently employed at:

  • the American Cancer Society
  • the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Emory University
  • Weill Cornell Medical School
  • Harvard Medical School
  • IMPAQ International
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • MD Anderson
  • Merck
  • National Taiwan University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Northwestern University
  • Regeneron
  • Taipei Medical University
  • The Urban Institute
  • Trilliant Health
  • University of California at San Francisco
  • Carnegie Mellon
  • Washington University (St. Louis)
  • The University of Virginia

We discourage applications from students who view a PhD as a credential or who want to focus exclusively on administration, management, or advocacy. There are other professional degrees that are better suited to those types of careers.

What Type of Research Will You Do in the Health Services Research and Health Policy PhD Program?

Students perform research on a wide variety of topics related to delivery of medical care, insurance, and the determinants of health. Some examples of the papers that students have published from their dissertations include: 

The effect of Medicaid expansion on crime reduction: Evidence from HIFA-waiver expansions. Journal of Public Economics 2017. (Heifei Wen, Ph.D. 2015)

Heuristics in the delivery room. Science 2021. (Manasvini Singh, Ph.D. 2020)

Are two heads better than one or do too many cooks spoil the broth? The tradeoff between physician division of labor and patient continuity of care for older adults with complex chronic conditions. Health Services Research 2016. (Kenton Johnston, Ph.D. 2015).

Effect of Medicaid disenrollment on health care utilization among adults with mental health disorders. Medical Care 2019 (Xu Ji, Ph.D. 2017).

Patterns of use and survival outcomes of positron emission tomography for initial staging in elderly follicular lymphoma patients. Leukemia & Lymphoma 2017 (Ashish Rai, Ph.D. 2015)

Admissions Requirements

For detailed information about admissions, please see our program brochure.

Applicants should provide:

  • a transcript,
  • statement of purpose,
  • resume/CV, and
  • three letters of recommendation.

Please note:

  • GRE scores are optional.
  • Applicants do not need to have a master’s degree.

Visit Emory’s Laney Graduate School website to apply now.

You do not need to contact the program or faculty prior to applying. We give equal attention to all applications, regardless of whether applicants know faculty or have had prior contact with them. We do not routinely meet with applicants prior to the application deadline. However, if you have a specific question about the program that is not addressed in this document or would like to get a better sense if the program is a good fit for you, please send your question to the director, David Howard,

Key Dates

September 11, 2023 

Application opens for Fall 2024

December 1, 2023

Application deadline

Late January-Early February, 2024

Offer letters sent to successful applicants 


Ph.D. Student/faculty social event at PlantHouse PhD Student/faculty social event at PlantHouse


Program faculty

Students have wide leeway to work with faculty at any Emory school or department. Most students work with the faculty on the list below.

Department of Health Policy and Management

Kathleen Adams (Ph.D. Economics, University of Colorado) Risk behavior, maternal and child health, insurance coverage, Medicaid policy.

Sarah Blake (Ph.D. Public Policy, Georgia State/Georgia Institute of Technology) Maternal and child health, reproductive health, implementation science.

Puneet Chehal (Ph.D. Public Policy, Duke) Medicaid and chronic illness in underserved populations.

Janet Cummings (Ph.D. Health Policy, UCLA) Mental health and substance abuse policy.

Benjamin Druss (M.D., New York University) Mental health and substance abuse policy.

Maria Dieci (Ph.D. Health Policy, UC Berkeley) Health economics, global health and development economics.

Ilana Graetz (Ph.D. Health Policy, UC Berkeley) Health information technology, quality improvement.

David Howard (Ph.D. Health Policy, Harvard) Health economics, reimbursement policy, pharmaceutical markets.

Joseph Lipscomb (Ph.D. Economics, University of North Carolina) Health outcomes assessment and improvement.

Victoria Phillips (Ph.D. Economics, Oxford) Health economics, cost-effectiveness analysis.

Adam Wilk (Ph.D. Health Policy, University of Michigan) Access to care and Medicaid, coverage and payment for kidney failure treatment.

Courtney Yarborough (Ph.D. Public Policy, University of Georgia) Substance abuse policy, pharmaceutical markets.

Affiliated faculty in other departments at Emory

Michal Hórny (Ph.D. Health Services Research, Boston University) Department of Radiology. Health insurance benefit design, costs of care, price transparency, access to care.

Xu Ji (Ph.D. Health Policy, Emory) Department of Pediatrics. Health care quality, health outcomes, access to health care.

Dio Kavalieratos (Ph.D. Health Policy, University of North Carolina) Department of Family Medicine and Palliative Care. End-of-life care, implementation science.

Sara Markowitz (Ph.D. Economics, CUNY) Department of Economics. Health economics, labor economics, maternal and child health. Ian McCarthy (Ph.D. Economics, University of Indiana) Department of Economics. Health economics, industrial organization.

Evan Saltzman (Ph.D. Managerial Science and Applied Economics, University of Pennsylvania) Department of Economics. Health economics, industrial organization.

Current PhD Students

Lamont Sutton

Xue Zhang

Nada Boualam

Angie Cruz

Sonia Tetlow

Xinyue Zhang

Marissa Coloske

Martha Wetzel

Paul George

Jingxuan Zhao

Alex Soltoff

Elizabeth Staton

Zhuoqi Yang

Cristian Ramos