My work on healthcare builds on two distinct sub-areas of expertise that originated early in my career: assessing the effectiveness of new medical interventions in real-world settings and examining changes in physician compensation.

In the first area, I use large medical claims databases to assess the costs and benefits of new medical interventions from antihypertensive drugs to osteoporosis treatments to opioid deterrent medications. My work in progress uses a database of all pharmacy and medical claims from commercial health insurance plans in Massachusetts to study opioid prescribing patterns. I find a sharp increase in prescribing for a new opioid deterrent (Suboxone) relative to existing opioids—including an increase in off-label prescribing (Paulsen, Modestino, Mahmudul, Alam, and Young 2019). Currently, I am leading a randomized controlled trial of a community health center buyback program to reduce the supply of opioids to secondary users, funded by a grant from the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT. This project seeks to determine whether informing and incentivizing patients at the point of dispensing medication increases the likelihood of returning unused opioids.

My second area of research examines healthcare labor markets; specifically, physician compensation. Using a longitudinal dataset on physicians in their first five years of practice, I find family gap of roughly one-third in annual earnings between male and female physicians that stems from a sharp reduction in work hours after having children, suggesting that individual responses to family responsibilities is a key source of the disparity in pay. My work in progress

tests whether the gender gap among physicians is reduced as markets become more competitive and profits shrink. Using variation in HMO enrollments across states over time, I find that the gender gap among physicians narrowed in the 1980s and ’90s, as HMO market share increased, but then widened after 2000 when HMO enrollments declined.


Published, In-Press, or Accepted

Cutler, D., Long, G. Berndt, E. Sasser, A., Royer, J., Fournier, A. Cremieux, P. 2007.  “The Value of Antihypertensive Drugs: A Perspective On Medical Innovation,” Health Affairs, vol. 26, no. 1: 97-110.
[Working Paper Version]

Meadows E, Rousculp M, Sasser A, Birnbaum H, Moyneur E, Mallet D, Johnston J. 2007. “Actual versus predicted first-year utilization patterns of teriparatide in patients with employer-sponsored health insurance.” Current Medical Research and Opinion 23(12):3215-22.

Sasser, A. 2005. “Gender Differences in Physician Pay: Tradeoffs Between Career and Family.” Journal of Human Resources, vol. 40, no. 2.

Sasser, A., Taylor, M., Birnbaum, H., Schoenfeld, M., Oster, E., Rousculp.M. 2005. “Assessing the Economic Impact of Chronic Conditions in Post-Menopausal Women,” Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, vol. 6, no. 11: 1803-1814.

Sasser, A., Rousculp, M., Birnbaum, H., Oster, E., Lufkin, E., Mallet, D. 2005. “Economic Burden of Osteoporosis, Breast Cancer, and Cardiovascular Disease Among Postmenopausal Women in an Employed Population,” Women’s Health Issues, vol. 15, no. 3: 97-108.

Sasser, A.,  Rousculp, M., Birnbaum, H., Moyneur, E., Wu, E., Marcus, R.  2005. “POS1 Using a Budget Impact Model to Predict First-Year Use of a New Osteoporosis Therapy,” Value in Health, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 408.

Currently Under Review
Paulsen, R.*, Modestino, A., Mahmudel, H., Alam, M., Young, L., & Young, G. 2019. Patterns of Suboxone Prescribing: An Analysis of Claims Data from Massachusetts. Journal of Addiction Medicine, pp. 1-19.
[Working Paper]

Md. Noor-E-Alam, Md Mahmudul, H., Patel, M., Modestino, A.; Sanchez, L., Young, G. 2019. “A Novel Big Data Analytics Framework to Predict the Risk of Opioid Use Disorder.” Knowledge-Based Systems.
[Working Paper]

Modestino, A. 2019. “The Relationship between Market Forces and Gender Differences in Physician Pay.”
[Working Paper

Manahan, Eric, Modestino, A., Margenthaler, J., Killelea, B., Kuerer, H., Dietz, J., Boolbol, S., Gass, J.  2019. The 2018 Compensation Survey of the American Society of Breast Surgeons.”
[Working Paper]


Sasser, A.   2007.  “Reaching the Goal: Expanding Health Insurance Coverage in New England Current Strategies and New Initiatives.” Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, New England Public Policy Center, Research Report No. 07-1.

Lake, T., Sasser, A., Young, C., & Quinn, B. 2002. A Snapshot of the Implementation of California’s Mental Health Parity Law. Mathematica Policy Research, Research Report.