November 2020
CHAS eNews
Policy Briefs
Modeling Mitigation Strategies to Reduce Opioid-Related Morbidity and Mortality in the United States
In 2017, nearly 50,000 individuals in the US died from an opioid overdose, and mortality and morbidity from this epidemic continues to grow. Given that relatively little is known about the future impact of the opioid epidemic and the potential mitigating impact of interventions to address it, a group of researchers including Harold Pollack (CHAS Co-Director and Helen Ross Professor at the School of Social Service Administration) conducted a study that examines how the crisis may evolve over time. Their study – which used a decision analytic dynamic Markov model developed with input from experts in addiction and pain medicine, public health, health economics, epidemiologic factors, and health policy – analyzed data on individuals 12 years or older from the US general population with different ranges of opioid use. The findings project that the number of fatal opioid overdoses will remain high over the next 10 years and estimates more than four hundred thousand opioid overdose deaths. They suggest that aggressive deployment of evidence-based interventions, including expanded use of medications for addiction treatment and improved naloxone distribution, may save many lives and should be implemented quickly to limit the harm from this devastating epidemic. Read the full study and findings linked below.
Inside the Black Box of Improving on Nursing Home Quality Measures
In 2008, Nursing Home Compare (NHC) – a popular online public report card for nursing homes across the country – began using a 5-star composite rating system that assigns a quality measure (QM) score to each nursing home facility. These QMs, which happen to be determined by the nursing homes' self-reported data, have prompted questions about their validity and what happens within the black box of quality improvement. A team of researchers, including Tamara Konetzka (CHAS Fellow and Professor of Public Health Sciences at the University of Chicago), recently conducted a qualitative study to better understand how nursing homes interact with their QM scores. Through in-person observations and semi-structured interviews with personnel from facilities in 3 states, they found that nursing homes are working to improve the quality of care they provide to their residents, not just their QM scores. However, their findings also emphasize that QM scores are limited in their ability to accurately reflect the quality of care that nursing homes provide. They recommend making several changes to improve NHC, including adding information related to resident and family experiences, providing greater risk adjustment, and providing incentives for nursing homes that serve residents with complex needs. Read the full article linked below.
Upcoming eLectures

Boaz Keysar, PhD, MA
University of Chicago
2/02/2021 @ 12:30 pm CDT

Jamila Michener, PhD, MA
Cornell University
2/09/2021 @ 12:30 pm CDT

Reuben Miller, PhD
University of Chicago
2/16/2021 @ 12:30 pm CDT
CHAS Podcasts
Invisible Visits: Black Middle-Class Women in the American Healthcare System
Dr. Tina Sacks, AM ’98, PhD ’13 Assistant Professor
School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley
The Importance of Community Asset Mapping, Medical Integration with Social Sciences, and Youth Involvement
Dr. Stacy Lindau, PhD
Professor, Department of Medicine, UChicago Medicine and CIO/Founder of NowPow
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CHAS Welcomes Gina Miranda Samuels
Over the years, University of Chicago faculty have been named CHAS Fellows based on their commitment and contributions to health policy and services research. This month, we are excited to name Gina Miranda Samuels, Associate Professor at the School of Social Service Administration, as a new CHAS Fellow. Her extensive research on health policy and services and her dedication to improving the physical and mental health of children, youth, and families is highly valued in our work. Welcome, Gina Miranda Samuels!
Search Begins for the Next President of the University of Chicago
Following President Robert J. Zimmer's announcement that he will transition into the new role of chancellor at the end of the current academic year, the Board of Trustees has launched their search for the 14th President of the University of Chicago. Consistent with past searches, the Board has formed a Trustee Search Committee that will work closely with a Faculty Advisory Committee, which includes Waldo E. Johnson, Jr., CHAS Fellow, Associate Professor, and recently appointed Deputy Deputy Dean for Curriculum at the Social Service Administration, to elect the next president.