Emory doctoral graduate named Outstanding Dissertation Award recipient

July 6, 2018

Xu Ji, PhD, MSPH, an alumna of Emory University’s Laney Graduate School and Rollins School of Public Health, has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the AcademyHealth Outstanding Dissertation Award. This national award is presented annually in recognition of an outstanding doctoral thesis in health services research or health policy from the previous year.  

 “Our students are engaged in cutting-edge research under the guidance of an esteemed graduate faculty,” says Lisa Tedesco, Laney Graduate School dean. “Students like Xu Ji are game-changers, and we are proud to be the institution that trains them. Our sincerest congratulations to Xu Ji for this wonderful recognition!”

Ji's dissertation examines how Medicaid eligibility policies and Medicaid coverage gaps impact the health care and health outcomes of patients with mental health disorders.  As the largest payer of mental health services in the U.S., Medicaid plays a critical role in the mental health care system. Results from Ji’s dissertation revealed that those with gaps in Medicaid coverage are more likely to miss visits with doctors and have costly emergency visits and hospitalizations. Her dissertation also identified several policies related to the administration of Medicaid programs that can facilitate continuous Medicaid coverage or lead to disruptions in coverage.    

Ji was nominated by her dissertation chair, Janet Cummings, PhD, associate professor in the department of Health Policy and Management at Rollins School of Public Health (who also won this award in 2010). "I nominated Xu because of the creativity, rigor, and overall quality of her research; and because of the importance of her findings for Medicaid policy," she says. 

"I'm so grateful for the help, advice, support and mentorship of Janet Cummings and the other members of my committee—Benjamin Druss, MD, MPH; and Adam Wilk, PhD," says Ji, who also expresses gratitude for the support of her husband and family.

Ji received her award at the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting June 24-26, 2018, in Seattle.