Niall Brennan, BA, MPP, President and Executive Director.

Mr. Brennan was appointed President and Executive Director of HCCI in June 2017. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing HCCI’s advancements in price transparency and public reporting, increasing both the comprehensiveness and access to HCCI’s expansive data set, as well as working with state policy and decision makers to improve their health care systems. He is a nationally recognized expert in health care policy, the use of health care data to enable and accelerate health system change, and data transparency. He has published widely in leading academic journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine and Health Affairs. Prior to joining HCCI, Mr. Brennan was Chief Data Officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). He has also worked at the Brookings Institution, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, the Congressional Budget Office, the Urban Institute, and Price WaterhouseCoopers.

Mr. Brennan received his MPP from Georgetown University and his BA from University College Dublin, Ireland.

Eric Barrette, PhD, Director of Research.

Dr. Barrette directs HCCI’s public reporting and research efforts and contributes to HCCI’s mission more broadly through data governance strategy and planning. He has co-authored numerous HCCI publications and peer reviewed journal articles. Prior to joining HCCI, Dr. Barrette was an economic consultant working on topics related to hospital and insurer competition, false claims act damages, and pharmaceutical pricing. Dr. Barrette’s research interests include the diffusion and impact of new medical technology, geographic variation in utilization and prices, and competition in health care markets.

Dr. Barrette received his MA in Economics from the University of Arizona and an MS and PhD in Health Services Research, Policy, and Administration from the Division of Health Policy and Management at The University of Minnesota.

Kristine Burnaska, PhD, Director of Operations.

As Director of Operations, Dr. Burnaska works with both the HCCI staff and stakeholders to ensure that HCCI is able to effectively work towards its mission. She is also involved in the management of HCCI’s national price transparency initiative, Guroo, as well as coordinating HCCI’s efforts related to state claims database and price transparency initiatives. Prior to joining HCCI, Dr. Burnaska served as a research consultant focusing on quantitative and qualitative research methods and client services in a variety of public and private sectors ranging from healthcare and education to hospitality and transportation.

Dr. Burnaska received her MS and PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Applied Research Methods and Statistics.

Amanda Frost, PhD, Senior Researcher.

Dr. Frost is the lead author of the 2015 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report, HCCI’s latest annual report on the privately insured. Her research has focused on the spending and utilization patterns of individuals diagnosed with diabetes, with a focus on children with diabetes. She has also worked on issues of out-of-pocket spending and consumer health care “shopping”, including the role of individuals in the “value” debate in health care. In addition to research, Dr. Frost also oversees the Academic Partnership Program and the Health Data for Action Grant Program.

Dr. Frost received her MA and PhD in Political Science from The University of Iowa.

John Hargraves, BS, MPP, Senior Researcher.

Mr. Hargraves’ recent research has focused on trends in Medicare spending, hospice, and the impacts of social determinants and market factors on geographic variation in healthcare spending. Prior to joining HCCI, Mr. Hargraves was a researcher at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). He has also worked at Optum Labs and the George Washington University.

Mr. Hargraves received his MPP from the George Washington University and his BS in Economics from Binghamton University.

Bill Johnson, PhD, Senior Researcher.

Dr. Johnson’s recent research has focused on the effects of health insurer and health care provider organization on health care providers’ use of costly treatments. Dr. Johnson has also published research estimating the shortages of the public provision of mental health services across localities in Virginia.

Dr. Johnson received his MA and PhD in Economics from the University of Virginia.

Kevin Kennedy, BA, BS, Researcher.

Mr. Kennedy works closely with other researchers on a wide variety of projects at HCCI. In his role as researcher, his responsibilities largely include data management and analysis. Additionally, he has co-authored multiple HCCI publications related to health care spending, utilization, and geographic price variation.

Mr. Kennedy received his BA in International Affairs and BS in Economics with a concentration in International Economics from The George Washington University.

Sofia Kharadi, BS, AAS, Business Analyst.

Ms. Kharadi is the lead Business Analyst for the health care cost price transparency tool Guroo.com. Ms. Kharadi is responsible for gathering and finalizing requirements as well as testing and quality assurance.  Prior to joining HCCI, Ms. Kharadi worked as a government contractor serving as a Business Analyst and Quality Assurance tester on a variety of projects.

Ms. Kharadi received her BS in Dental Hygiene from University of Maryland, Baltimore Dental College and AAS in Biotechnology from Montgomery College.

Violet Richardson, Esq., General Counsel.

In her role as General Counsel, Ms. Richardson advises HCCI management and staff on a wide range of legal matters, including contracts, intellectual property, tax-exempt status, and research issues. Prior to joining HCCI, she served as an associate attorney at a global law firm in Minneapolis, MN providing legal advice on a variety of complex corporate matters to the firm’s clients.

Ms. Richardson received her BA in Accounting from Howard University and her JD from Howard University School of Law.

Sally Rodriguez, BS, MPH, CSPO, SA, Director of Products.

Ms. Rodriguez directs HCCI’s product strategy to create impactful offerings in support of its mission. Prior to joining HCCI, Ms. Rodriguez served in a variety of healthcare research, consulting and product development roles, most recently leading product development for Avalere Health and previously conducting research with the Government Accountability Office and Center for the Study of Services. Her past research and product development work focused on providing business intelligence and insights related to the Medicare population to a variety of healthcare stakeholders.

Ms. Rodriguez received her BS in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention from the University of Southern California, and her MPH with a concentration in Policy from the George Washington University. She is a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) and SAFe Agilist (SA).

Sarah Vermeland, BS, Research Assistant.

Ms. Vermeland received her BS in Health & Society and Political Science at Beloit College. A portion of her undergraduate research concentrated on the influence of race on infant mortality rates in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Another portion of Ms. Vermeland’s research was focused on HIV/AIDS rates in Washington DC and different community based programs that could help address the growing issue.

Chao Zhou, PhD, Pharmaeconomics Research Fellow.

Before joining HCCI, Dr. Chao Zhou was an economist at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the CDC. Her research focuses on the interaction of behavioral economics, the health insurance market, and health care policy. At the CDC, Dr. Zhou conducted research on prescription opioid use. She is an expert in analyzing large scale health care claims data (Commercial, Medicare A, B, and D). Her research has been published in journals such as JAMA-Internal Medicine, Health Affairs, Medical Care, and has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and on National Public Radio.

Dr. Zhou received her PhD in Economics from Boston University.

David Newman, PhD, JD, Senior Adviser.

Dr. Newman was previously Executive Director (ED) of the Health Care Cost Institute and served as ED for the first five and a half years of the Institute.

Dr. Newman possesses a PhD in Political Science from the University of Rochester and a JD from the University of New Hampshire Law School and has held academic appointments at Georgetown University, the National University of Singapore, and Lingnan University in Hong Kong.