Health Care Economist Awarded MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant
Health Care

Health Care Economist Awarded MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant


The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation on Thursday announced the 25 winners of this year’s fellowships — awards, commonly called “genius grants,” for “exceptional creativity” and the “promise for important future advances” in various fields. The fellowships come with a “no strings attached” stipend of $625,000 each, distributed over five years. Here’s a look at some of this year’s recipients whose work is related to health care and/or public policy, with descriptions from the MacArthur Foundation:

Amy Finkelstein, health economist at MIT: “Finkelstein is challenging conventional assumptions about the economics of health care and providing stakeholders and health care institutions with data-driven guidance for validating program refinements and designing future interventions.”

Gregg Gonsalves, epidemiologist and global health advocate at Yale: “His efforts to connect the HIV/AIDS community with top-tier researchers and scientists were a critical catalyst to fundamental advances in scientific knowledge of the disease. These experiences deeply informed his later training in epidemiology and current efforts to optimize the effectiveness of health programs for epidemic diseases, particularly within poor and marginalized communities.”

Rebecca Sandefur, sociologist and legal scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: “Sandefur’s investigations of the civil justice needs of low-income populations are shedding light on the availability of civil legal aid services, the help-seeking behavior of individuals facing civil legal issues, and the impact of lawyers in civil cases.”

Ken Ward Jr., investigative journalist: “As a staff writer for the Charleston Gazette-Mail for more than twenty-five years, Ward fearlessly reports on worker safety violations, environmental hazards, and corporate malfeasance of regional coal and chemical companies. … Working jointly with reporters at National Public Radio and the Center for Public Integrity, Ward uncovered decades of government inaction around black lung disease that allowed it to continue to afflict miners even as regulators and politicians assured the public it was no longer a threat.”

Livia Eberlin, analytical chemist at the University of Texas at Austin: “Her technological innovations have the potential to improve health care by decreasing the time between diagnosis to treatment and increasing the accuracy of cancer diagnoses and surgical interventions.”