Investigator in Health Services, Policy and Practice


Portia Cornell is a investigator at Brown University and a Health Science Specialist at the Veterans Health Administration Medical Center in Providence, RI. Her research interests are in the economics of aging and the financing and quality of long-term care. Dr. Cornell uses quasi-experimental methods for comparative effectiveness, evaluation, and policy research. She studies research questions such as the following:

  • Can putting social workers in VA primary care teams help aging Veterans stay in the community and prevent costly hospitalizations?
  • Do residents in dementia-specialized assisted living communities have different outcomes from those in regular assisted living?
  • How have hospitalization rates at VA community living centers changed over time as these facilities shift away from long-term and toward more post-acute care?
  • What is the effect of being admitted to a skilled nursing facility with a higher star rating on patient outcomes?

In previous work, Dr. Cornell has studied underwriting in the market for long-term care insurance. Her research has been published in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals, including  Health Services Research and Health Affairs. 

Dr. Cornell received her Ph.D. in Health Policy from Harvard University.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas