Zirui Song, MD, PhD, Named 2016 Winner of Seema S. Sonnad Emerging Leader in Managed Care Research Award

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Dr. Song is a resident at Massachusetts General Hospital and a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School. The American Journal of Managed Care presents the award to an early-career researcher whose achievements show the potential for exceptional long-term contributions in the field of managed care.

Zirui Song, MD, PhD

He is clearly a leader. The real question is if he is emerging.

Zirui Song, MD, PhD, a resident at Massachusetts General Hospital recognized by the Forbes “30 Under 30” in Science and Healthcare for his work on the effect of provider payment reform and Medicare fee policy on health care spending and quality, today received the 2016 Seema S. Sonnad Emerging Leader in Managed Care Research Award from The American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC).

Dr. Song completed his medical degree Magna Cum Laude in 2014 and his doctorate in Health Policy (Economics) in 2012, both at Harvard. He received his undergraduate degree in Public Health Studies with Honors from Johns Hopkins University in 2006.

In the past five years, he has published more than 45 peer-reviewed papers in journals that include AJMC, JAMA, the New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs, and JAMA Internal Medicine. Dr. Song serves as a reviewer for more than a dozen academic journals, including AJMC, and serves in several leadership roles at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

His policy research examines questions that are front-and-center as healthcare moves from a fee-for-service system to one that is value-based. Dr. Song was the lead author on the first empirical analysis of competitive bidding in Medicare, which appeared in AJMC in 2012. He has also studied various strategies to contain spending, including global payment for accountable care organizations, the behavioral effects of Medicare fee changes on physicians, and the effect of federal benchmark changes on insurer pricing behavior in the Medicare Advantage program.

He received the 2013 AcademyHealth Article-of-the-Year award for his research on the effects of the Alternate Quality Contract. He also received the Daniel Ford Award for health services and outcomes research from Johns Hopkins and the High Value Care research award from the American College of Physicians in 2015, as well as the Mack Lipkin Sr. Award from the Society of General Internal Medicine in 2016.

Michael E. Chernew, PhD, AJMC co-editor-in-chief and a frequent collaborator, noted that Dr. Song’s work combines both clinical and economic perspectives, and his strengths evoke those of Dr. Sonnad, for whom the award is named.

Dr. Song “identifies important topics and jumps in with gusto,” Dr. Chernew writes. “He is clearly a leader. The real question is if he is emerging.”

The award was created in honor of Seema S. Sonnad, PhD, the former AJMC associate editor who died suddenly in June 2015. Dr. Sonnad was a mentor to many young investigators. Before her passing, she had advocated for the creation of an award to recognize and encourage early career achievement.

“We are honored to recognize a young physician who is not only an expert on payment reform, but who is also sharing his findings with our readers,” said Justin Gallagher, associate publisher of AJMC.

This year’s award was presented to Dr. Song at a reception during the fall conference of the ACO and Emerging Healthcare Delivery Coalition, which is meeting October 20-21, 2016, at the Westin in Philadelphia.

About the Journals and AJMC.com

The American Journal of Managed Care is the leading peer-reviewed journal dedicated to issues in managed care. AJMC.com distributes healthcare news to leading stakeholders across a variety of platforms. Other titles in the franchise include The American Journal of Accountable Care, which publishes research and commentary on innovative healthcare delivery models facilitated by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. AJMC’s Evidence-Based series brings together stakeholder views from payers, providers, policymakers and pharmaceutical leaders in oncology and diabetes management. To order reprints of articles appearing in AJMC publications, please call (609) 716-7777, x 131.

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