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Home > For the Media Home > Biosketches > By Topic > Immigrants

Biosketches - Immigrants

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Research on Vulnerable Populations turns a critical eye on the dynamics influencing coverage for the poor, immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, children, and people with chronic mental illness.
Borjas, George J.
Escarce, Jose J.
Lo Sasso, Anthony T.
McLaughlin, Catherine

Senesky Dolfin, Sarah.
Smith, James
Sood, Neeraj

George J. Borjas is the Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Professor Borjas has written extensively on labor market issues. He is the author of several books, including Labor Economics (McGraw-Hill, 1996; 2 nd Edition, 2000), and Heaven's Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy (Princeton University Press, 1999). He has published over 100 articles in books and scholarly journals, including the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, and the Quarterly Journal of Economics. Professor Borjas currently edits the Review of Economics and Statistics.

Josť J. Escarce, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Senior Natural Scientist at RAND. Dr. Escarce graduated from Princeton University, earned a Master's degree in Physics from Harvard University and obtained his medical degree and doctorate in health economics from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Escarce has served on the National Advisory Council for Health Care Policy, Research, and Evaluation of the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Advisory Committees of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Minority Medical Faculty Development Program. He is past Chair of the Health Economics Committee of the American Public Health Association, and has served on numerous Institute of Medicine and National Research Council committees and panels. He was Deputy Editor of the journal Medical Care and is currently Senior Associate Editor of Health Services Research. Dr. Escarce's research interests include provider and patient behavior under economic incentives, access to care, racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care, and immigrant health, and the impact of managed care on cost and quality.

Anthony T. Lo Sasso, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and Senior Research Scientist in the Health Policy and Administration Division at the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Lo Sasso is an economist and applied econometrician whose research spans several dimensions of health and labor economics and health services research. He received his doctorate in economics in 1996 from Indiana University, Bloomington. He is currently in the final year of a 5-year Independent Scientist Award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality studying workplace health benefits and how they affect employee health. As part of this broad research agenda, Dr. Lo Sasso has recently completed a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to examine the impact of an expansion of mental health benefits on cost and quality of care at a Fortune 50 manufacturing firm. In addition, Dr. Lo Sasso is currently studying the nascent consumer-driven health care movement and its potential impact on employer-sponsored health insurance and employee health. Other recent research has examined the effect of copayment levels on the use of employer-provided substance abuse benefits. Additionally, he has explored the extent of so-called “responsible purchasing” by employers: the degree to which employers collect and use non-financial information in selecting and managing employee health care plans.

Dr. Lo Sasso is also keenly interested in how government policies affect private sector decisions. He has studied the impact of the State Children's Health Insurance Program on uninsurance among children and the extent to which public coverage may have “crowded out” private coverage of children. He currently has a grant to study how community rating provisions in state non-group health insurance markets affect non-group health insurance coverage and uninsurance. Dr. Lo Sasso also has recently completed a project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization initiative to study how the availability of safety net health care services affects the willingness of firms to offer health insurance and the willingness of employees to take-up health insurance when it is offered.

Dr. McLaughlin is a Professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy and the Director of the Economic Research Initiative on the Uninsured (ERIU) at the University of Michigan. ERIU, a five-year initiative funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has been conducting and disseminating research aimed at increasing our understanding of the interaction between health and labor market dynamics and the uninsured. In addition, Dr. McLaughlin is the director of the University of Michigan component of the Agency for Health Care Policy Research's Center of Excellence on Managed Care Markets and Quality directed by Harold Luft at University of California, San Francisco. The projects being pursued at Michigan focus on the dynamic interaction between plan performance measures, market structure, and employer behavior.

Dr. McLaughlin is also currently the Vice-Chair of the Citizens' Health Care Working Group and a Senior Associate Editor of Health Services Research. From 1993 to 2003 she was the Director of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Scholars in Health Policy Research Program at Michigan. Her current research interests are focused on the uninsured, managed care, market competition, and employer and employee benefit choice.

Dr. McLaughlin has studied various health economics topics. She has published numerous articles on the impact of HMOs on market competition and health care costs, the determinants of small area variation in hospital utilization and costs, and issues surrounding the working uninsured. Recent publications include: “The Long-Term and Short-Term Effects of a Copayment Increase on the Utilization and Expenditures of Prescription Drugs,” in Inquiry, “Donated Care Programs: A Stopgap Measure or a Long-Run Alternative to Health Insurance?” in Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, “Quality and Employers' Choice of Health Plans,” in Journal of Health Economics, "Causes and Consequences of Lack of Health Insurance: Gaps in Our Knowledge," in Health Policy and the Uninsured , Urban Institute Press; "Who Walks Through the Door? The Effect of the Uninsured" in Health Affairs; "Medigap Premiums and Medicare HMO Enrollment" in Health Services Research; "The Who, What, and How of Managed Care," The Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law; "Health Care Consumers: Choices and Constraints" in Medical Care Research and Review, "Competition, Quality of Care, and The Role of Consumers," in The Milbank Quarterly, and "The Demand for Health Insurance Coverage by Low-Income Workers: Can Reduced Premiums Achieve Full Coverage?," in Health Services Research.

Professor McLaughlin received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin.

Sarah Senesky Dolfin is a researcher at Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. Her interests focus broadly on labor economics, including labor supply and the role of employers in determining hours of work. Her current work in the labor area involves examining the effect of overtime laws, measuring compliance with FLSA regulations, and evaluating the impact of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program on workers' wage and employment outcomes. Dolfin also pursues research on education and immigration, including evaluating the impact of high-intensity mentoring support for teachers on student and teacher outcomes, and analyzing the role played by networks in migration decisions.

Prior to her current position, Dolfin was an assistant professor of economics at the University of California, Irvine. She received a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University in 2000 and a B.A. magna cum laude in economics from Princeton University.

James Smith (Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1972) holds the RAND Chair in Labor Markets and Demographic Studies and was the Director of RAND's Labor and Population Studies Program from 1977-1994. He has led numerous projects, including studies of immigration, the economics of aging, black-white wages and employment, wealth accumulation and savings behavior, and the interrelation of health and economic status. He is currently a co-Principal Investigator for The New Immigrant Survey.

Dr. Smith was the Chair of the Panel on Demographic and Economic Impacts of Immigration (1995-1997), for the National Academy of Sciences. The Panel was convened to examine the interconnections of immigration, population, and the economy, and to provide evidence about the impact of immigration. Dr. Smith has served on the Population Research Committee at the National Institutes of Health. He currently serves on the NIA Data Monitoring Committee for the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS) and was chair of the National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). Dr. Smith was the public representative appointed by the Governor on the California OSHA Board. He has received the National Institutes of Health MERIT Award, the most distinguished honor NIH grants to a researcher.

Dr. Sood is an associate economist in RAND. He has extensive experience in doing health economics and health policy research. His prior work at RAND includes studying the effects of new HIV treatments on risky behavior among the infected and uninfected, evaluating the role of payment generosity on resource use for acute care patients, examining the effects of insurance on HIV related mortality and evaluating the role of price regulation in health and life insurance markets. He is also a member of an advisory committee helping the state of California evaluate policy options for financing and delivery of prescriptions drugs to low income HIV+ persons. Dr Sood's work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Health Economics and Journal of Risk and Insurance. Prior to joining RAND he worked in the Health Outcomes Evaluation Group at Eli Lilly.