Alison Evans Cuellar, PhD, MBA

Alison Cuellar
Titles and Organizations

Professor, HAP

Contact Information

Phone: 703-993-5048
Building: Peterson Hall
Room 2911

Personal Websites


Dr. Cuellar, Professor of Health Administration and Policy, has extensive research experience in health care systems, Medicaid, mental health, and justice involved populations. A health policy researcher, her contributions include work on evaluating new organizational forms, such as hospital systems and physician alliances and their effects on quality, efficiency, costs, prices, and equity. In other work she has examined the intersection of behavioral health and the justice system; Medicaid policies and their impact on justice-involved youth and youth with behavioral health problems; on mental health courts as an innovative alternative for justice-involved juveniles; and on health care services for incarcerated youth and adults returning to the community. She currently also engaged in research related to Medicaid perinatal care, equity, and payment. Her work has been funded by NIMH, NICHD, AHRQ, NIJ, SAMHSA, and private foundations including National Institute for Health Care Management, Robert Wood Johnson, and MacArthur.

Dr. Cuellar was appointed Vice-Chair of the Centers for Disease Control Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF), an independent, nonfederal panel of public health and prevention experts that provides evidence-based findings and recommendations about community preventive services, programs, and other interventions aimed at improving population health. 

In addition to her role as Research Associate in the National Bureau of Economic Research, Dr. Cuellar is affiliated with the Center for Micro-Economic Policy Research, a forum for policy-relevant research using micro-economic and micro-econometric methods hosted by GMU’s Schar School of Policy and Government.

Dr. Cuellar served on the NASEM Committee on Community-Based Solutions to Promote Health Equity in the United States which released its report in 2017. Previously, she was a member of a national collaborative Mental Health Policy network supported by the MacArthur Foundation. In 2005-2006, she spent the academic year as a visiting economist to the U.S. Department of Justice. Dr. Cuellar serves on the editorial board of Medical Care Research and Review and is co-editor of the Economic Grand Rounds column in the journal Psychiatric Services

Dr. Cuellar served as Interim Associate Dean for Research in the College of Health and Human Services in 2018/2019. Prior to joining George Mason University Dr. Cuellar was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. Her work has been published in several journals, including Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Journal of Health Economics, American Journal of Public Health, Health Affairs, Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, American Journal of Psychiatry, Psychiatric Services, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, JAMA Network Open, and Journal of General Internal Medicine among others.

University Service

  • George Mason University, Board or Visitors, Finance and Land Use Committee, Faculty Representative
  • George Mason University, Institute for Biohealth Innovation Advisory Council
  • George Mason University Academic Program Review (APR) Peer Review Committee, 2016/17-2018/2019
  • George Mason University, Reviewer for Provost's Multidisciplinary Research Seed Grants, 2016
  • President Cabrera’s Visioning Process, Regional Strategy Working Group, GMU, 2012
  • College of Health and Human Services Dean Search Committee, 2011, 2021
  • Host and Organizer: Annual Southeastern Health Economics Study Group meeting at George Mason University, October 2012, 2022

Community Service

  • NASEM Committee Member, Culture of Health: Committee on Community Based Solutions to Promote Health Equity in the United States
  • National Quality Forum, Measure Applications Partnership Dual Eligible Beneficiaries Workgroup, 2016-Present
  • Member, Advisory Board, Transition Clinic Network 2014-Present
  • Advisory Group member to the "Models for Change Information-Sharing Project" of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 2007-2008
  • Scientific Committee member, American Society of Health Economists
  • Scientific Committee member, International Health Economics Association
  • Research Conference Planning Committee, Greater New York Hospital Association, 2003, 2004, 2007
  • CPN (formerly Community Partners Network) Arlington, VA, Co-Chair


Research Interests

  • Vulnerable populations
  • Medicaid
  • Mental health and substance use
  • Criminal justice systems
  • Health care delivery systems
  • Physician and hospital integration
  • Merger


Cuellar, A., LoSasso, A.T., Shah, M., Atwood, A., & Lewis-Walls, T.R. (accepted). Wellness programs with financial incentives through a disparities lens. American Journal of Health Promotion, accepted.

Cuellar, A., Haviland, A.M., Richards-Shubik, S., LoSasso, A.T., Atwood, A., Wolfendale, H., Shah, M., & Volpp, K.G. (2017). Boosting workplace wellness programs with financial incentives. The American Journal of Managed Care, 23(10), 604-610.

Nadash, P., & Cuellar, A. (2017). The emerging market for supplemental long term care insurance in Germany in the context of the 2013 Pflege-Bahr reform. Health Policy, 121(6), 588-593.

Cuellar, A., & Dave, D.M. (2016). Causal effects of mental health treatment on education outcomes for youth in the justice system. Economics of Education Review, 54, 321-339.

Cuellar, A., Helmchen, L.A., Gimm, G., Want, J., Burla, S., Kells, B.J., Kicinger, I., & Nichols, L.M. (2016). The CareFirst Patient-Centered Medical Home Program: Cost and utilization effects in its first three years. Journal of General Internal Medicine November 2016, (31) 11:1382-1388.

Cuellar, A.E., & Markowitz, S. (2015). School suspension and the school-to-prison pipeline. International Review of Law and Economics, 43, 98-106.

Cuellar, A.E. (2015). Preventing and Treating Child Mental Health Problems. Future of Children issue on Policies to Promote Child Health, Spring 2015.

Markowitz, S., Cuellar, A.E., Grossman, M., & Conrad, R. Alcohol control and foster care. Review of Economics of the Household, 12(4), 589-612.

Welch, P., Bindman, A., Cuellar, A.E., & Stearns, S. (2014). Use of hospitalists by medicare beneficiaries: A national picture. Medicare and Medicaid Research Review, 4(2).

Cuellar, A., & Cheema, J. (2014). Health Care Reform, Behavioral Health Care, and the Criminal Justice Population. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 41(4).

Watkins, K.E., Cuellar, A.E., Hepner, K.A., Hunter, S.B., Paddock, S.M., Ewing, B.A., & de la Cruz, E. (2013). The cost-effectiveness of depression treatment for co-occurring disorders: A clinical trial. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

Welch, P., Cuellar, A.E., Bindman, A. & Stearns, S. (2013) The growth of physician groups in the United States. Health Affairs, 32(9), 1659-66.

Cuellar, A., & Cheema, J. (2012). As Roughly 700,000 Prisoners are released annually, about half will gain health coverage and care under federal laws. Health Affairs.

Herndon, J.B., Mattke, S., Cuellar, A.E., Hong, S.Y., & Shenkman, E. Anti-inflammatory medication adherence and health care utilization and expenditures among Medicaid and children's health insurance program enrollees with asthma. PharmacoEconomics, 30(3).

Mattke, S., Martorell, F., Hong, S.Y., Sharma, P., Cuellar, A., & Lurie, N. (2010). Anti-inflammatory medication adherence and cost and utilization of asthma care in a commercially insured population. Journal of Asthma, 47(3), 323-329.

Cuellar, A.E., & Haas-Wilson, D. (2009). Competition and mental health services. American Journal of Psychiatry, March 2009, 278-283.

Cuellar, A.E., Kelleher, K.J., Kataoka, S., Adelsheim, S., & Joseph J. Cocozza, J.J. (2008). Incarceration and psychotropic drug use for youth. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 162(3), 219-24.

Snowden, L.R., Masland, M.C., Wallace, N.T., Fawler, K., & Cuellar, A.E. (0208). Increasing California children's public-sector mental health treatment access by vigorously enforcing provisions of Medicaid's Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) Program. Medical Care, 46(6), 558-564.

Morrissey, J.P., Cuddeback, G., Cuellar, A., & Steadman, H.J. (2007). The role of Medicaid enrollment and outpatient service use in jail recidivism among persons with severe mental illness. Psychiatric Services, 58(6), 794-801.

Cuellar, A.E., & Markowitz, S. (2007). Antidepressants and youth: Healing or harmful? Social Science and Medicine, 64(10), 2138-2151.

Snowden, L.R., Masland, M.C., Wallace, N.T., & Cuellar, A.E. (2007). Effects on outpatient and emergency mental health care of strict Medicaid early periodic screening, diagnosis, and treatment enforcement. American Journal of Public Health, 97(11), 1951-6.

Cuellar, A.E., Snowden, L.M., & Ewing, T. (2007). Criminal records of persons served in the public mental health system. Psychiatric Services, 58, 114-120.

Cuellar, A.E., & Markowitz, S. (2007). Medicaid policy changes in mental health care and their effect on youth mental health outcomes. Health Economics, Policy, and Law, 2(1).

Morrissey, J.P., Steadman, H.J., Dalton, K., Cuellar, A., Stiles, P., Cuddeback, G. (2006). Medicaid enrollment and mental health service use following jail release by persons with severe mental illness. Psychiatric Services, 57(6), 809-815.

Morrissey, J.P., Steadman, H.J., Dalton, K., Cuddeback, G., Haynes, D., Cuellar, A. (2006). Assessing gaps between policy and practice in medicaid enrollment of jail detainees with severe mental illness. Psychiatric Services, 57(6), 803-808.

Glied, S., & Cuellar, A. (2006). Better behavioral health care coverage for everyone. New England Journal of Medicine, 354, 1415-1417.

Cuellar A.E., & Gertler, P. (2006). Strategic integration of hospitals and physicians. Journal of Health Economics, 25.

Cuellar, A.E., McReynolds, L.S., & Wasserman, G.A. (2006). A cure for crime: Can mental health treatment diversion reduce crime among youth? Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 25(1), 197-214.

Cuellar, A.E., & Gertler, P. (2005). How the expansion of hospital systems has affected consumers. Health Affairs.

Cuellar, A.E., Kelleher, K., Rolls, J., & Kathleen Pajer, K. (2005). Medicaid policies and juvenile justice. American Journal of Public Health, 95(10), 1707-11.

Gupta, R.A., Kelleher, K.J., Stevens, J., Panjer, K., & Cuellar, A.E. (2005). Delinquent youth: Medicaid and re-entry into the community. Pediatrics, 115, 1077-1083.

Cuellar, A.E. (2004). Letter: Hospital Consolidation. Health Affairs, 23(3).

Cuellar, A.E., Markowitz, S., & Libby, A.M. (2004) Mental health and substance abuse treatment and juvenile crime. NBER working paper #9952, September 2003, Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics, 7(2), 59-68.

Cuellar, A.E., & Gertler, P.J. Trends in hospital consolidation: the formation of local systems. Health Affairs, 22(6), 77-87.

Glied, S., & Cuellar, A.E. (2003). Trends and issues in child and adolescent mental health. Health Affairs, 22(5), 39-50.

Cuellar, A.E., Wagner, T.H., Hu, T., et al(2003). New opportunities for integrated child health systems. American Journal of Public Health, 93(11), 1889-1890.

Snowden, L., Cuellar, A.E., & Libby, A.M. (2003). Minority youth in foster care: Managed care and access to mental health treatment. Medical Care, 41(2), 264-74.

Libby, A.M., Cuellar, A.E., Snowden, & L., Orton, H. (2002). Substitution in a medicaid mental health carve-out: services and costs. Journal of Health Care Finance, 28(4), 11-23.

Cuellar, A.E., Libby, A.M., & Snowden, L. (2001). How capitated mental health care affects utilization by youth in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Mental Health Services Research, 3(2), 61-72.

Catalano, R., Libby, A., Snowden, L., & Cuellar, A.E. (2000). The effect of capitated financing on mental heath services for children and youth: The Colorado experience. American Journal of Public Health December, 90(12), 1861-1865.

Cuellar, A.E., & and Wiener, J.M. (2000). Can social insurance for long-term care work? The experience of Germany. Health Affairs, 19, 8-25.

Wiener, J.M., Cuellar, A.E. (1999). Public and private responsibilities: Home and community-based aervices in the United States and Germany. Journal on Aging and Health, 11, 417-444.

Holahan, J., Zuckerman, S., Evans, A., & Rangarajan, S. (1998). Medicaid managed care in thirteen states. Health Affairs, 17, 43-64.

Blumberg, L., & Evans, A. (1998). Reforming the Medicare AAPCC: Learning from previous proposals. Inquiry, 35, 62-77.

Boex, J.R., Kirson, S.M., Keyes-Welch, M., & Evans, A. (1994). Hospitals' use of financial incentives in recruiting students for primary care residencies and medical student perceptions of their effectiveness. Academic Medicine.

Book Chapters

Cuellar, A.E., & Cheema, J. (2014). Health Care Reform in the United States. In G. Bruinsma & D. Weisburd (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Friedland, R.B., Evans, A. (1996). People with Disabilities: Access to Health Care and Related Benefits. In J. Mashaw, V. Reno, R. Burkhauser, & M. Berkowitz (Eds.), Disability, Work and Cash Benefits.


Principal Investigator

"The Impact of Direct-to-Consumer, Video Telemedicine," AHRQ 1R01HS025163. April 2017-March 2020. 

"Differential Effects of Prevention Efforts, Behavioral Interventions, and Alternative Sanctions on Juvenile Justice Youth Outcomes," Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. October 2014-September 2016.

"The Impact of a Customized Price Transparency Tool on Consumer Behavior," Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Co-Principal Investigator Mandic, P.K. December 2013-November 2015.

"Evaluation of the Medicare Medicaid Financial Alignment Demonstration," Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services. November 2013-September 2016.

"The Impact of Wellness Programs and Incentives on Preventive Services," NICHD 1R01HD075118-01. September 2012-June 2016.

Department of Health and Human Services. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. March 2011-December 2013.

"Correctional Health Information Sharing Policies and Practices Project," US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance. Co-Principal Investigator Taxman, F. October 2009-September 2010. 

"Financing and Systems Change in Models for Change: Systems Reform in Juvenile Justice," John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. August 2009-September 2011.

"Interactions Among Schools, Juvenile Justice and DMC," John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. October 2008-September 2009.

"Child Mental Health Systems and Juvenile Justice Outcomes," NIMH K01 MH067086-01. April 2003-December 2008.

"Physician and Hospital Determinants of Inpatient Quality and Patient Safety," Columbia Alliance for Healthcare Management. 2004.

"How Do Youth with Emotional Disorders Fare in the Juvenile Justice System?" Calderone Researcher Prize for Junior Faculty, Columbia University. 2004.

"Child Mental Health Systems and Juvenile Justice Outcomes," Columbia Institute for Child and Family Policy Small Grants Program. April 2002-February 2003.


"Restoring Primary Care in Virginia: PCOR Learning as a Pathway to Value," AHRQ. Kuzel, PI. June 2015-June 2018.

"Evaluation of the CareFirst Patient-Centered Medical Home Program," CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield. Nichols, PI. January 2013-December 2017.

Subcontract Principal Investigator, "Children's Mental Health Initiative (CMHI)," SAMHSA RFTOP 280-13-0407. Moran, Westat, PI. December 2013-November 2015.

"Evaluation of the Multi-site Demonstration Field Experiment: What Works in Reentry Research," U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice. Bloom (PI), January 2011-December 2014.

"Information Sharing Policies and Practices for Correctional Health," US Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance. Taxman (PI). October 2009-September 2010.

"Models for Change: Systems Reform in Juvenile Justice," John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. August 2007-December 2007.

"Hospital and Physician Strategic Integration," National Institute of Health Care Management. Gertler, Co-Investigator. 

Project Director. "Criminal Records of a Sample of Persons Served by the Public Mental Health System," California Policy Research Center. April 2002-May 2003.

"Juvenile Crime and the Availability of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment," Cornwall Center Faculty Award for Scholarly Research. Markowitz, PI. April 2002-December 2002.

"Variation by Gender and Ethnicity in the Effect of Alternative Work Arrangements on the Mental Health of California Workers," Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco. Snowden, PI. July 2001-December 2001.

Honors and Awards

  • Calderone Researcher Prize for Junior Faculty, 2005, Columbia University



  • PhD, Health Services and Policy Analysis, Economics Concentration, University of California, Berkeley
  • MBA, University of Texas at Austin
  • BA with Highest Honors, University of Texas at Austin