West Virginia University Health Affairs Institute
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Assistant Director of Health Analytics


PhD, West Virginia University
MS, Pharmacognosy, China Pharmaceutical University
BE, National Base of Life Science and Biotechnology, China Pharmaceutical University

Dr. Zheng Dai is an epidemiologist focused on data-driven research evaluation and policy decisions dedicated to protecting and improving the health of our communities. As Assistant Director of Health Analytics in the Health Affairs Institute, Dr. Dai is a key participant in the emerging State-University partnership between the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. At Health Affairs, he provides data analysis support for the Children’s In-Home and Community-Based Services Improvement Project (CMHE) and Mountain State Assessment of Trends in Community Health (MATCH). Dr. Dai also helps establish, execute, and collaborate with key external partners that complement the Health Affairs Institute internal portfolio.

Dr. Dai has received numerous awards in recognition of his work, including College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) Travel Award for Early Career Investigators Awardee, SouthEast SAS Users Group Student Scholarship Winner, and Outstanding Reviewer for the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

As the first PhD student who utilized West Virginia Medicaid administrative data in his dissertation study, Dr. Dai has an more than five years’ experience working with Medicaid data analyses. He is currently leading efforts in developing a Medicaid training program to expand Medicaid applications in a broader scope of research and public health practice.

Dr. Dai’s research has focused on drug related outcomes, overdose, and mortality among West Virginians. This research provides insight on improvement of opioid use disorder prevention and treatment, and direction of harm reduction efforts to reduce polysubstance use. He has a collaborative mindset and finds that sharing insights and identifying risk factors to shape policy decisions makes for powerful results.

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