The NYU Health Evaluation and Analytics Lab (HEAL) promotes applied research to help health sector organizations evaluate initiatives that seek to improve health outcomes among populations and to improve health care delivery practices. HEAL was established in 2016 by the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and the Department of Population Health at the NYU School of Medicine.

HEAL recognizes New York State’s national influence on Medicaid, population health, and healthcare delivery reform. As such, HEAL seeks to contribute to identifying successful health and healthcare innovations that can be implemented widely across New York and beyond. To accomplish this, HEAL fosters evidence-based interventions and program evaluation to accelerate solution development, iteration, and the implementation process. We seek better health for everyone; the sooner the better.

The HEAL initiative is directed by James Knickman, PhD, the Robert Derzon Chair in Public and Health Affairs, with joint appointments at NYU School of Medicine and NYU Wagner. HEAL builds on the broad research experience of Professor John Billings of NYU Wagner and Professor Tod Mijanovich of NYU Steinhardt .

What we do

Over the next few years, HEAL hopes to build organizational capacity to help NYU faculty engage in applied evaluation research to assist both health care providers and a wide array of organizations dedicated to promoting population health so they can develop evidence about which new initiatives work and which ones do not. People working on HEAL projects or currently developing projects include faculty from NYU Wagner, the NYU School of Medicine, the NYU Steinhardt School, and NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress. Faculty from City University’s Public Health School, Weill-Cornell Medical School, the Hunter College Social Work School, the Columbia Mailman School, and Mount Sinai Medical School also are in the process of developing projects.

HEAL also seeks to partner with the public sector, communities, health care and public health organizations, foundations, and non-profits to learn about how to improve the functioning of the New York health system.

Our focus is on applied research that answers concrete questions for organizations trying to improve health outcomes. We want to learn, as do all academics, but we also want to learn things that can have impact in real time.

The Medicaid Data Initiative 

In its first year, HEAL has built a unique New York State Medicaid claims file. This large data system allows for a wide range of evaluative work focused on improving care and outcomes for the most vulnerable New Yorkers, who rely on Medicaid to pay for their medical care needs. The data set also allows providers to better track the services received by patients they serve.  The effort to create the claims file analytical system was financially supported by the New York State Health Foundation and was done in close collaboration with the New York State Department of Health.

Our primary goal in developing the NYU Medicaid Claims File is to make it accessible to researchers and analysts across New York State and beyond. Our key metric of organizational success is to see the data set used as frequently as possible across New York State. A second metric of organizational success is an improved understanding among the research community and health sector leaders and managers about how the data can be used to answer questions about performance, cost patterns, and health outcomes.

Linking Social Determinants Data to the NYU Medicaid Claims Files

With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a team directed by Dean Sherry Glied of NYU Wagner is linking the Medicaid Claims File to effects on medical care use and well-being. Policies and programs in non-health sectors, such as education, transportation, housing, and social services, may influence health outcomes directly and indirectly; yet many of these policies may not be based on scientific evidence or may not be implemented in a way that will optimally improve health. The project will investigate the relationship between a range of social policies and health outcomes, and develop and validate a range of metrics for tracking the impact of these policies, which can be applied in settings across the country. Visit NYU Wagner's Policies for Action (P4A) hub for more detail about this initiative.