2020 Pilot Grants

Pilot Grant Awardees

The Hopkins Business of Health Initiative (HBHI) is pleased to announce our 6 pilot grant awardees for our request for proposals on COVID-19 and the business of health. With 31 submissions, the competition was intense.  Read about the winning projects and project teams below. 

Thank you to our review committee for their excellent work: [Aditi Sen (JHBSPH), Andrew Ching (Carey), Chris Myers (Carey), Christina Yuan (Medicine), Daniel Polsky (JHBSPH/Carey), Jodi Segal (Medicine), Kathy McDonald (Nursing/Medicine), Mario Macis (Carey), Matt Eisenberg (JHBSPH), Michael Darden (Carey)]. 

Project Title: Social Distancing Interventions: Direct and Local Spillover Effects and Labor Outcomes

PI: Luis Quintero, PhD, Assistant Professor, Carey Business School, leq@jhu.edu;  Co-I: Vadim Elenev, Alessandro Rebucci, Emilia Simeonova, JHU Carey Business School

Project Description:  The broad goal of this study is to quantify spillover effects on local economic and health outcomes that arise across counties from NPIs, and contrast them with the direct effects, which are mistakenly often the only considered. In a situation in which policies are imposed in a staggered manner over time and jurisdictions, spillovers are fundamental in the determination of the optimal policies, both during introduction of social distancing and during the reopening of the economy. Furthermore, our study will quantify how costly lack of coordination in the implementation of NPIs can be during a pandemic.

Project Title: Social Support for markets in health and health care: Insights from the Covid-19 Pandemic.

PI: Mario Macis, PhD, Associate Professor, Carey Business School and Affiliate Faculty, Berman Institute of Bioethicsmmacis@jhu.edu; Co-I: Yujung Hwang, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, KSAS

Project Description: The COVID-19 epidemic has caused shortages and sharp increases in the price of several health-related goods including mechanical ventilators and personal protective equipment such as masks. We will conduct randomized survey experiments with representative samples of Americans and Canadians to study attitudes toward market-based transactions in health-related goods during a pandemic. The study will focus on whether and how people perceive and elaborate tradeoffs between competing values and goals, and it will provide insights into what factors increase or undermine social support for markets in the health sector.

Project Title: Rules-based Approach to Telemedicine Triage 

PI: Jodi Segal, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Health Policy and Management and Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health jsegal@jhmi.edu

Project Description: We expect that in the delivery of care in an outpatient setting there are clinical situations in which telemedicine is OPTIMAL (“better” than in-person care), clinical situations in which it is ACCEPTABLE (“equivalent to in-person care), and situations in which it is SUBOPTIMAL (“inferior” to in-person care).  With stakeholder engagement and qualitative methods, we propose to develop a framework that will provide a strategy for allocating patient care needs appropriately into these categories and develop rules to inform the categorization of these patient care needs. We expect that this proposed project will inform the clinical triage process (scheduling of patient care) and inform payments for these telemedicine activities that are expected to be a more prevalent part of practice.

Project Title: Flattening the Curve of Elective Procedures: Implications and Management of Post-Pandemic Demand Surge of Dermatologic Surgery

PI: Kristin Bibee, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology, School of Medicine,kbibee1@jhmi.edu; Co-PI: Tinglong Dai, PhD, Associate Professor of Operations Management and Business Analytics, Carey Business School, dai@jhu.edu; Co-I: Ge Bai, PhD, Associate Professor of Accounting, Carey Business School, Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management, Bloomberg School of Public Health, gbai@jhu.edu; Co-I: Jeffrey Scott, MD, MHS, Director, Cutaneous Surgery and Oncology Unit, Assistant Professor of Dermatology, School of Medicine, jscott98@jhmi.edu

Project Description: The demand for delayed elective procedures, especially cancer-related treatments, is expected to surge after the COVID-19 pandemic, challenging the capacity and quality of the healthcare delivery system. This project will assess the operational and financial impact of dermatologic surgery deferral due to COVID-19, link the deferral to clinically-meaningful metrics of disease and patient-reported outcomes, and use operations management modeling to best mitigate impact to care.

Project Title: Will the doctor see you now? A RCT of video vs. Telephone Primary care Visits

PI: Jeremy Epstein, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, School of Medicine,Epstein@jhmi.edu; CO-PI: Casey Overby Taylor, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering, Division of General Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, cot@jhu.edu;

Project Description: The overall goal of this work is to pilot a framework for the set-up, delivery and use of tablets by patients for video-based telemedicine visits and compare video to telephone-based medicine. This high-quality prospective randomized trial would be the first study to date to evaluate the differences between primary care visits as conducted by video and telephone. Furthermore, this effort would allow us to begin to understand the logistical and financial landscape of providing data-connected devices for patients in need while collecting valuable data about patient satisfaction and perceived clinical impact.

Project Title: COVID-19, Elective Surgery Deferment and the Maryland Total Cost of Care Model

PI: Amit Jain, MD, Associate Professor, Orthopedic Surgery, School of Medicine,amitjain@jhmi.edu; Co-PI: Joseph Levy, PhD, Assistant Scientist, Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health, jlevy@jhu.edu; Co-I: Shruti Aggarwal, MD, Ophthalmology, James Ficke, MD, Chairman, Orthopedic Surgery

Project Description: The healthcare model in Maryland is unique due to a federal waiver, which allows a central body (HSCRC) to establish an all-payer system, adjust rates for hospital services, and limit annual revenue growth. COVID-19 resulted in a large-scale deferment of elective surgical care and loss of hospital revenue. The aim of our project is to compare the Maryland response to that in other states to investigate the hypothesized strengths of an all-payer model in stabilizing against economic shocks.   

Seed Grant 2020 Proposal Opportunity

While the US spends dramatically more on health care than any other country, the current pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the structure of the US health system and underscores the need to improve the way we deliver health to the nation.  The Hopkins Business of Health Initiative (HBHI) seeks to develop and advance new ideas and scalable approaches to address this problem by catalyzing collaboration, innovation, and real-world impact.

To kickoff this effort, we are requesting proposals for pilot projects regarding COVID-19 and the business of health.  Deadline will be April 24.  Budget requests should not exceed $20,000.

Examples of research questions emerging from the pandemic related to the business of health

  1. What can be learned from the rapid adoption of telehealth during COVID-19 about how a move to digital health might best address the nation’s health system challenges.  Projects in this area could tackle issues of heterogeneity of value, equity, reimbursement, privacy, behavioral barriers and facilitators, and organizational factors. 
  2. What is the impact of COVID-19 on the financial and organizational future of health care payer, providers, and suppliers? Are there solutions to ensure stability of health care organizations to prepare for future pandemics?  How to best organize and deliver services moving forward to jointly optimize supply chain efficiency with preparedness?
  3. How can the social and health care safety net address the externalities inherent in communicable diseases? How can business and society best internalize those externalities?
  4. How does COVID19 influence our understanding of the relationship between health, the economy, and policy? 

Who is eligible: Full-time faculty from any division from across Johns Hopkins University.

Successful applications will be scored based on the following criteria:

  1. Impact. The significance of the problem and the potential for new insights advancing health and/or health services.
  2. Theme.  The degree to which the topic of the proposal ties to COVID-19 and the business of health.  Please see description of HBHI on the last page for how HBHI plans to prioritize a focus on the business of health.
  3. Investigators. The qualifications of the investigators.   Multidisciplinary teams are preferred, but not required; these teams may be formed within a school, between schools, or may involve partners external to Hopkins.
  4. Methods.  The appropriateness and methodological rigor of the scientific plan.
  5. Future potential. The likelihood successful completion of this pilot project would lead to external funding and/or a larger research program that would support the development of the collaborative and innovative HBHI community.  Please indicate if proposal includes data or other resources that could be leveraged by others at HBHI.


April 13 at 3:00p ET                        Zoom call where HBHI will discuss RFP in more detail and answer any questions and assist in identifying potential research collaborators.  Please register with request to jhollow9@jhu.edu.

April 24, 2020 at 11:59 pm                Application deadline

April 30, 2020                                  Award Announcements

May 1, 2020                                     Project start date

May 27, 2020                                   HBHI Zoom Retreat – Grantees will present their research ideas     and get feedback from the broader HBHI community              

Dec, 2020                                          Grantees will present results to HBHI community              

How to Apply

Please submit proposals to Jamey Holloway jhollow9@jhu.edu with subject line “HBHI COVID-19”. Proposals should be a combined pdf electronic version of the following proposal elements:

Project Description (up to two pages, single-spaced, 11-point font minimum) which contains the following information:

  • statement of the project’s specific aims, significance, and impact
  • description of the research plan and methodologies to be employed
  • discussion of how the data and how key variables will be measured and analyzed
  • outline of next steps (e.g., plans for external funding and/or a new research program)
  • timetable for project completion (e.g., Gantt chart).  Timeline of 6 months is strongly preferred, but will accept applications with a one-year timeline.   

Project Budget:  clearly describe and justify the specific items to be funded by the grant (not to exceed one page).  Formal budget and application approvals will be required after proposal is selected.  Indirect costs are not permitted. Funds are intended to support research assistants, data acquisition, and survey costs. Faculty salary support is permitted, but not preferred.

Biosketches or CVs: Principal Investigator (PI’s) and Co-Investigator NIH biosketches or CVs with selected relevant publications, current research support, and research support received during the past three years.

The Hopkins Business of Health Initiative (HBHI)

The Hopkins Business of Health Initiative is a new collaborative initiative between Johns Hopkins’ Carey Business school and its three world-leading health schools – Bloomberg School of Public Health, School of Nursing, and School of Medicine – to integrate research, practice, and policy to improve the productivity of the nation’s health system.  This new initiative will ensure that Johns Hopkins University plays a leading role in transforming our national health system into the most productive and admired health system in the world.

Ultimately, HBHI will focus on the business of health by prioritizing:

  • collaborative, multidisciplinary research applying business principles to address the nation’s health system challenges;
  • testing and scaling novel approaches for firms and organizations to advance health and slow health spending growth; and
  • identifying cost-effective health interventions and the pathways to scale innovation through alignment of financial incentives and social value.

To support these goals, HBHI seeks to establish 3 platforms to sustain collaboration, innovation, engagement, and real-world impact:

  1. Data Enclave Platform that facilitates research within HBHI domains in an environment that promotes university-wide collaboration and leverage of existing data assets.  As a first step, this platform will provide secure insurance claims data that form the backbone of much of the research across HBHI.  Building a robust data platform is a requirement to be successful with strategic hires for HBHI.
  • Internal Convening Platform to build the HBHI community to incubate innovative programs and advance our collaborative, multidisciplinary work.
  • Communication and Partnership Platform to solidify the Hopkins leadership in the business of health by communicating for real-world impact, sustaining relationships with leaders in industry, government, and academia, and by branding our collective thought leadership in the business of health.