Assistant Director of Research Support



BA, Psychology, Marshall University

Johnna provides research and evaluation support to the Medicaid Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Outcomes and Recovery (MOTOR) study, primarily performing qualitative research and evaluation activities, including interview design, recruitment, administration, and analysis. She is also the program director of the Children with Serious Emotional Disorders Waiver Education and Outreach for Medicaid Members, their Caregivers, and Providers (CSEDWED) project where she oversees the overall project direction and implementation of deliverables and activities.  Additionally, she serves as the co-principal investigator of the Evaluation of the Bureau for Medical Services Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic (COVID-19) project. This was a multi-year policy evaluation of COVID-19 policies put in place by the West Virginia Medicaid program. She led the development, implementation, and execution of primary data collection activities including surveys, focus groups, and interviews. After moving into the co-leadership role, she provided guidance and oversight of the deliverable development including the final comprehensive findings report and is currently disseminating results.  

In her administrative role as Assistant Director of Research Support, she oversees the research specialist functional group and provides leadership, coaching, and planning for the 17 research specialists at HAI. She also supervises senior research specialists and managers within the group. She serves on the Standard Operating Guidelines and Science Leadership internal work teams.  

Johnna is a native West Virginian and has spent more than 25 years working on rural health, health policy, public health, prevention, clinical, and other health related evaluation and research projects. She has specific training and experience in community engagement; group facilitation; project and program evaluation; surveys; grant writing; budget management; mixed methodology, and especially has expertise in qualitative evaluation design, implementation, administration, and analysis. 

Before joining Health Affairs, she was the Director of Community Impact for the American Heart Association’s (AHA) West Virginia office. She worked on health impact programs in clinical and community settings and led the implementation of a clinical quality improvement program in partnership with the American Medical Association called Target:BP. She also led regional rural health and multi-regional Appalachian internal workgroups to develop strategic plans to improve health impacts. Prior to that, she previously spent 20 years in various roles and departments at West Virginia University Health Sciences Center. Most of this time was working under the direction of Sally K. Richardson in the Institute for Health Policy Research. There she honed her skills as an evaluator and researcher working on health services research, program development and evaluation, health policy, rural health, and other related projects. She has direct experience on topics such as Medicaid and CHIP; health insurance; population health surveys; school health; early childhood; healthy environments, and health workforce. For a portion of that time she concurrently served as a research associate at the West Virginia Rural Health Research Center, one of six HRSA Office of Rural Health Policy funded research centers in the country, where the research focused on environmental health issues for rural populations in America.  

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