Rachel Dungan works at the intersection of sectors and stakeholder groups – supporting the advancement of health policy and systems research (HPSR), and the enhancement of its impact. As Director, Rachel oversees a work portfolio focused on studying the effective and ethical engagement of diverse stakeholders in health research activities. She also contributes to AcademyHealth’s Revolutionizing the Health Services Research Paradigm Learning Community initiative. This work involves HSR leaders and others, in applying human-centered design approaches to develop and test disruptive innovations that may potentially revolutionize the health research enterprise.

This builds on Rachel’s prior work, as Senior Manager. In this role, Rachel developed and applied strategies for translating and disseminating HSR – to benefit policy and practice audiences. She continues to lead this strategic portfolio analysis work, conducted in partnership with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). As part of this collaboration, she oversees an ongoing investigation of literature on the engagement of patients, communities, and stakeholders throughout research design and implementation processes. This growing body of research is captured and catalogued in PCORI’s Engagement in Health Research Literature Explorer.

Rachel also oversees AcademyHealth’s work, in partnership with NORC at the University of Chicago, bolstering the patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) data infrastructure – on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). For this and other projects, she has led research and writing efforts on topics including T-MSIS data use for opioid-related PCOR, and the use of public health return on investment (ROI) evidence to support policymaking.

Prior to joining AcademyHealth, Rachel worked for Transcendent Endeavors, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant awardee. There, she led projects to test and demonstrate the value of innovative, technology-enabled products and programs – designed to increase health access and education for underserved populations. She has also worked as an independent strategy consultant: supporting Johnson & Johnson’s TEDxJNJ programming, and managing a strategic outreach initiative for Justrojgar, Inc. Previously, Rachel completed internships with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN Women), Think Local First DC, and Poverty Resolutions. She separately writes and lectures about aspects of the Keratoconus patient experience, and serves as an outspoken advocate for vision research.

Rachel holds a Master of Science in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Biobehavioral Health (Civic & Community Engagement) from the Pennsylvania State University Schreyer Honors College, where she served as a Teaching Assistant with the University’s Department of Health Policy & Administration. Her research has focused on global health equity, social justice advocacy, and eliminating avoidable disparities in health.

Authored by Rachel Dungan, M.S.S.P.