Alison Evans Cuellar, PhD, MBA

Alison Cuellar
Titles and Organizations

Associate Dean of Research, CPH
Professor, HAP

Contact Information

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

Personal Websites

Study Recruitment


Dr. Cuellar, Professor of Health Administration and Policy, has extensive research experience in health care systems, payer innovations, Medicaid policy, 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. She is currently engaged in research related to Medicaid perinatal care, equity, and payment. 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. 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 recently appointed to The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Improving the Health and Wellbeing of Children and Youth through Health Care System Transformation committee.  In addition, she serves as Chair of the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) to which she was appointed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CPSTF is an independent, nonfederal panel of public health and prevention experts that provides recommendations and findings on programs, services, and other interventions to protect and improve population health.

Dr. Cuellar is a Research Associate in the National Bureau of Economic Research, and is affiliated with the Mason 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.

Previously, 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, 2022/2022

  • George Mason University, Institute for Biohealth Innovation Advisory Council

  • College of Health and Human Services Dean Search Committee, 2011, 2021

  • 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

  • Host and Organizer: Annual Southeastern Health Economics Study Group meeting at George Mason University, October 2012, 2022

Community Service

  • NASEM Committee Member, Improving the Health and Wellbeing of Children and Youth through Health Care System Transformation
  • 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

  • Payer Innovations
  • Medicaid Policy
  • Health care delivery systems
  • Physician and hospital integration
  • Mental health and substance use
  • Criminal justice systems


View Dr. Cuellar's ORCID for her publications.


Principal Investigator

“Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Safety net Performance, Disparities, and Vulnerable Children” NICHD 1R01HD075118-01. 2022-2026

“Marginalized/Minoritized Communities, Health Equity, and Medicaid Telehealth Policy.” National Institute of Health Care Management. 2022 –2023

“How did the Pandemic Change Care for Patients with Chronic Conditions? National Institute of Health Care Management. 2021-2022

“Substance Use Disorder Experts on Virginia’s Justice-Involved Medicaid Population (Subcontract PI) Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services. 2020 – 2021

“Mason Cohort Health Starts Here.” George Mason University. (Co-PI Cheskin). 6/1/2019-5/31/2024)

“Secure Integrated Data Approach.”  U.S. Department of Justice. Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). (Fairfax County subcontract PI with Co-PI Tangney) 10/1/2018 – 9/30/2021

"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