Thomas Tsai, MD, MPH

I am an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. I engage in multidisciplianry research across the fields of health policy, public health, and data science. I am a faculty associate of the Center for Surgery and Public Health, Ariadne Labs, the Harvard Global Health Institute, and the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.

As a practising surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital, my clinical interests are in minimally invasive surgery for GERD and other benign gastrosophageal disorders; metabolic and bariatric surgery; and complex abdominal wall reconstruction. 

My research focuses on understanding the impact of health policy efforts on achieving value in our healthcare system by reducing spending and improving outcomes. Using national Medicare claims data, my work has examined the relationship between hospital quality and readmissions; patient experience as a measure of quality; and racial and socioeconomic disparities in readmission rates. From 2014-2015, I served as a senior advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) in the Office of Health Policy at the US Department of Health and Human Services. I currently serve as the Vice-Chair of the Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME) and am actively engaged in advising federal policies on the physician workforce, graduate medical educaiton, and rural/urban disparities in medical care. My recent focus is on 1) achieving value in the Medicare system with projects focused on bundled payments and low-value care in Medicare Advantage (private Medicare) vs traditional Medicare (fee-for-service) 2) understanding the effect of hospital mergers on site of care optimization and outcomes; and 3) developing models to prepare the US health system for pandemic resilience. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic my work has focused on understanding the effect of the pandemic on the US health care system as well as in developing testing targets to inform state and federal pandemic response and preparedness (www.globalepidemics.org).