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Dora Illei

Research Assistant

Dora Illei is a Research Assistant at AcademyHealth supporting a number of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grantmaking programs. Her responsibilities include managing the grant application process for special topic solicitations, providing logistical support for convening activities, writing policy briefs and one-pagers to help disseminate research findings, and supporting the programs’ communications strategy.

Prior to joining AcademyHealth in November 2017, she worked as a development and fundraising intern at Families USA, where she supported both individual and institutional giving programs. She received her bachelor’s degree in Global Development Studies from the University of Virginia. 

Authored by Dora Illei


Special Topic Research Programs

The most effective health care policy is informed by objective, rigorous evidence. For 25 years, AcademyHealth served as the national program office for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization (HCFO) grantmaking initiative and continues to manage special topic solicitations for the Foundation covering a broad array of topics.


With guidance from the Foundation, AcademyHealth staff manage rigorous external review of grant proposals, monitor funded projects, and collaborate with grantees to disseminate study findings through a variety of channels, including meetings, written products, and social media. AcademyHealth is known for managing successful grantmaking programs that promote the development of high-quality evidence that is useful and used by policymakers and other decision makers. AcademyHealth staff are currently managing the following special topic solicitations:



If you have questions about any of these projects, please contact Megan Collado


Engaging Businesses for Health

AcademyHealth manages the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Engaging Businesses for Health project, which awarded eight research studies in 2017 to build the evidence base for how private-sector investment can help build a Culture of Health—promoting greater well-being and health equity for all.

Achieving a Culture of Health requires unprecedented collaboration from communities, policymakers, businesses and other key stakeholders. Recognizing the importance of investing in health beyond corporate walls, businesses and other collaborators are seeking new ways to invest in community health, equity and well-being and encountering questions along that path.

In February 2017, RWJF announced eight awarded grants examining the dynamic relationship between the innovation and drive of American businesses and entrepreneurs and the needs and health of the communities that support them. Topics range from how poor health outcomes negatively influence anchor companies to how labeling and incentives can be used to change consumers’ healthy food purchasing behavior. Other studies will provide evidence on the value of employers’ investments in the health and well-being of workers and their communities and inform strategies and best practices for engaging businesses to contribute to building a Culture of Health.

Meet the 2017 Grantees


Research Insights

​The aim of public and private funders of health services research is not only to support studies on the health care system and health care services, but also to disseminate results to policymakers.

Through the Research Insights project, AcademyHealth convenes invitational meetings, holds webinars, and produces reports and issue briefs to foster discussion of existing, relevant research evidence among policy audiences who need it to implement health reform and develop new policy.


The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality


Research in Transforming Health and Health Care Systems

This Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant program, managed by AcademyHealth, funds rigorous, empirical studies that evaluate or predict the potential effects of policies or policy changes intended to transform health and health care systems.

While there is consensus that more reform is needed to improve the value we receive from our investment in health care in the U.S., questions remain around the optimal mechanisms to achieve this goal. For example, how can we promote greater affordability and stability in the individual insurance market? What does the evidence suggest about the effectiveness of benefit design strategies and consumer engagement in health care decision-making? How are safety net health systems responding to alternative payment models and coverage expansions? The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Research in Transforming Health and Health Care Systems (RTHS) program, managed by AcademyHealth, funds rigorous, empirical studies that evaluate or predict the potential effects of policies or policy changes intended to transform health and health care systems.

See below for descriptions of 2017 Awarded Grants.

Insurer Exit from the Individual Market:  Affected Populations, Impacts, and State Efforts to Stabilize Markets through Reinsurance
Grantee Institution: University of Minnesota
Principal Investigator: Jean Abraham, Ph.D.
Grant Period: 12/01/2017 – 7/31/2018

Medicaid Policy and the Supply of Primary Care
Grantee Institution: 
Rutgers University
Principal Investigator: Derek DeLia, Ph.D.
Grant Period: 12/01/2017 – 11/30/2018

Strategies for Stabilizing and Strengthening the Individual Insurance Market
Grantee Institution: 
Wake Forest University Health Sciences
Principal Investigator: Mark Hall, J.D.
Grant Period: 12/01/2017 – 5/31/2018

Predicting the Impact of Transforming the Medicaid Program on Health Centers’ Revenues and Capacity to Serve Medically Underserved Communities
Grantee Institution: George Washington University
Principal Investigator: Anne R. Markus, Ph.D., J.D.
Grant Period: 12/01/2017 – 5/31/2018

The Effect of the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansion on Geographic Access to Safety Net and Acute Care Hospitals
Grantee Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Principal Investigator: David J. Wallace, M.D.
Grant Period: 12/01/2017 – 11/30/2018

The Impact of Medicaid/SCHIP Disenrollment on Adult and Children’s Healthcare Utilization and Expenditures in Arizona: A Natural Experiment
Grantee Institution: University of Arizona
Principal Investigator: Patrick Wightman, Ph.D.
Grant Period: 12/01/2017 – 11/30/2018

Medicaid Contraction: The Impact of Arkansas’s Income Eligibility Cap​​​​​​​
Grantee Institution: 
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Center for Health Improvement
Principal Investigator: Craig Wilson, J.D., M.P.A.
Grant Period: 2/15/2018 – 2/14/2019