Research background

Dr. Cornell is a investigator at Brown University and a Health Research Specialist at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Providence, RI. Her research interests are in the economics of aging and the financing and quality of long-term care. In the realm of econometric methods, Dr. Cornell uses quasi-experimental methods for comparative-effectiveness and policy research. She studies research questions such as the following:

  • Can putting social workers in VA primary care teams help aging Veterans stay in the community and prevent costly hospitalizations?
  • Do residents in dementia-specialized assisted living communities have different outcomes from those in regular assisted living?
  • How have hospitalization rates at VA community living centers changed over time as these facilities shift away from long-term and toward more post-acute care?
  • What is the effect of being admitted to a skilled nursing facility with a higher star rating on patient outcomes?

Dr. Cornell holds a Ph.D. in Health Policy from Harvard University. There, her dissertation with Professor David Grabowski focused on underwriting in the market for long-term care insurance. They showed that approximately 40% of Americans of prime purchasing ages would likely be disqualified from purchasing a long-term care insurance policy, even if they could afford it. That project was supported by a predoctoral research fellowship from the Social Security Administration.

She also has an M.S.P.H. from the University of North Carolina School of Public Health and a B.A. in Public Policy Studies from Duke University, and lives in Providence, RI.

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