Mahshid Abir

Photo of Mahshid Abir
Senior Physician Policy Researcher
Off Site Office

Education

M.D. in medicine with intern, University of Cincinnati; M.Sc. in health and health services research, University of Michigan, RWJF Clinical Scholars Program

Overview

Mahshid Abir is a senior physician policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Also a practicing emergency physician, Abir's research evaluates the continuum of acute care delivery, including pre-hospital, emergency, inpatient, and ambulatory care, with a focus on policy-related issues pertaining to utilization, quality, efficiency, and acute care outcomes.  Abir's past work includes developing measures for hospital and health care coalition surge capacity funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.  She has also evaluated patient-centered outcomes as part of health system redesign initiatives. During the pandemic, she led COVID-19 related projects including identifying strategies to increase critical-care capacity in intensive care units, identifying strategies to boost COVID-19 vaccine acceptance, and pandemic response in Middle East nations. Further, she led a project funded by HHS/Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation around COVID-19 outcome measures to track the evolution of the pandemic. She co-leads a project funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency developing a process for allocation of COVID-19 Public Assistance (PA) to hospital PA Applicants. She served as a content expert on two National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) consensus committees focused on lessons learned from COVID-19 for future pandemic response and evaluating ways to secure the U.S. medical supply chain. She has expertise in health services research methods, including mixed quantitative–qualitative methods and community-/stakeholder-based participatory research. Abir received her M.D. from the University of Cincinnati.

Commentary

  • A diverse group of medical staff sitting at a table, listening to a Black doctor speaking, photo by FatCamera/Getty Images

    In Search of an Equity Lens: A Physician's Journey

    Patient health outcomes, communication with providers, and overall patient satisfaction improve when patients and providers share a similar background. Further, diverse work environments may positively impact health care provider job satisfaction. Increasing diversity in health care work settings is a first important step that could help to increase equity and inclusion in these environments.

    Aug 11, 2022 The RAND Blog

  • People wearing face masks walk past shops amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the Old City of Tunis, Tunisia, August 3, 2021, photo by Ammar Awad/Reuters

    Tunisia: Challenges and Successes in COVID-19 Pandemic Response

    Tunisia's response to the COVID pandemic has been spotty, though vaccination rates have improved and mortality rates have dropped. When the political instability is factored in, Tunisia's emergence from the pandemic may not be quick.

    Jul 22, 2022 The RAND Blog

  • People wait to have their Iftar meals during the holy month of Ramadan in Amman, Jordan, April 9, 2022, photo by Muath Freij/Reuters

    Jordan: Challenges and Successes in COVID-19 Pandemic Response

    Lockdown restrictions that may have contributed to low COVID-19 case numbers in Jordan early in the pandemic resulted in economic stresses and increased psychological distress in the general population. RAND researchers identified challenges faced by Jordanians during the crisis and the country's innovative and equitable response to mitigate them.

    Jun 20, 2022 The RAND Blog

  • A COVID-19 vaccination center in Doha, Qatar, April 27, 2021, photo by PHCC/Handout/Latin America News Agency via Reuters Connect

    Qatar: Challenges and Successes in COVID-19 Pandemic Response

    Qatar adopted a spectrum of policies and health measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 and encouraged its innovation ecosystem to play a role in fighting the pandemic. The health sector has gained experience during the pandemic that might inform response to future spikes in demand for health system resources.

    Jun 9, 2022 The RAND Blog

  • In the area of Khaldieh towards Tripoli, the poorest city in Lebanon, Lebanese and Syrian refugee families are waiting to be received at the medical bus of the Order of Malta NGO, August 2021, photo by Didier Bizet/Hans Lucas via Reuters

    Lebanon: Challenges and Successes in COVID-19 Pandemic Response

    In Lebanon, COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and daily deaths continue to decline. This is an accomplishment worthy of celebration in the midst of hyperinflation, all-time high unemployment, nadir purchasing power, and a health sector on the verge of collapse.

    May 6, 2022 The RAND Blog

  • Two women wait to receive a COVID-19 vaccination at the Iran Mall shopping center in western Tehran, Iran, February 5, 2022, photo by Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters

    Iran: Challenges and Successes in COVID-19 Pandemic Response

    Iran has faced an uphill battle since the first cases of COVID-19 were found in the country. Despite limited resources, Iran has also had its share of successes and innovations in combating the virus.

    Apr 20, 2022 The RAND Blog

  • Older couple using a mobile phone for a telemedicine appointment, photo by FatCamera/Getty Images

    No Patient Left Behind: Considering Equitable Distribution of Telehealth

    The pandemic has revealed telemedicine's potential to improve health care delivery and access. Telemedicine could help reach patients who would normally be excluded or alienated by the traditional structure of the health system.

    Apr 20, 2021 Health Affairs Blog

  • Array of portraits of a diverse group of doctors, photo by JohnnyGreig/Getty Images

    When It Comes to U.S. Health Systems—Diversity Matters

    Health care systems are a powerful and relatively well-resourced stakeholder in the effort to eliminate inequities both among the health workforce and among patient populations. The deliberate practice of increasing diversity within the workplace may have the power to create significant, positive impacts on workplace culture and patient care.

    Sep 25, 2020 The RAND Blog

  • Low angle shot of a group of doctors stacking hands in a hospital, photo by Hiraman/Getty Images

    Out of the Ashes: Forging the Post-Pandemic U.S. Health System

    With shifting insights, new problems, and exacerbation of old problems revealed by the pandemic, innovative solutions in the U.S. health system are being adopted where rapid change would normally have been rare. There is both an opportunity and a responsibility to assess how these changes are working and where they can improve health, reduce inequity, and save money.

    Jul 31, 2020 The RAND Blog

  • A laboratory technician working on research for a vaccine against COVID-19 in Bern, Switzerland, April 22, 2020, photo by Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

    Needed: A Blueprint for a Post-Vaccine World

    When a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, many in rich countries may be able to afford it while the poor and uninsured may not. The time to plan for equitable access, financing, intellectual property rights, and global production is now.

    May 11, 2020 The Hill

  • A health care worker in protective equipment enters the Brooklyn Hospital Center during the COVID-19 outbreak in Brooklyn, New York, March 31, 2020, photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

    Amidst a Pandemic, a Mental Health Crisis May Be Looming

    The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on health care workers' mental health could be significant and may weaken the health care system's ability to resolve the crisis and survive over the long term. Interventions to promote psychological well-being should be implemented now.

    Apr 1, 2020 The RAND Blog

  • A worker checks part of a delivery of hospital beds to The Mount Sinai Hospital during the COVID-19 outbreak, New York City, March 31, 2020, photo by Andrew Kelly/Reuters

    Implement Critical Care Surge Strategies Now to Save Lives

    As COVID-19 continues to spread, hospitals are bracing for a surge of patients requiring critical care. To meet the demand, U.S. health care facilities may need to fundamentally change the way they allocate space, staff, and equipment.

    Apr 1, 2020 Health Affairs Blog

  • Nurses Becky Barton and Jess White help nurse Jeff Gates take off protective gear after interacting with a patient at a drive-through testing site for coronavirus, flu and RSV, currently by appointment for employees at UW Medical Center Northwest in Seattle, Washington, March 9, 2020, photo by Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

    COVID-19: A Stress Test for a U.S. Health Care System Already Under Stress

    There are many things hospitals and health systems could be doing in the coming weeks to best prepare for the advancing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Evaluating their surge response plans will be critical.

    Mar 12, 2020 Health Affairs Blog

  • Volunteers in protective suits disinfect a railway station as China tries to contain an outbreak of coronavirus, Changsha, Hunan province, February 4, 2020, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Coronavirus Outbreak Intensifies: Q&A with RAND Experts

    Cases of the coronavirus have now spread to several dozens of countries, infecting thousands and thousands of people across the globe. With concerns about the disease rising, we asked a group of RAND researchers to answer a wide range of questions about the crisis.

    Mar 5, 2020

  • Boy using breathing treatment, photo by mixetto/Getty Images

    At the Interface of the Health Care System and the Community: Insights from an Academic-Community Partnership in Camden, New Jersey

    Asthma is a common and expensive childhood condition that erodes quality of life for kids and families. Researchers sought to identify patient-centered interventions to reduce avoidable asthma-related acute care use and improve outcomes. They found that the solutions lie at the nexus of the health care system and the community.

    Dec 3, 2019 The RAND Blog

  • A guest looks at the Temple of Time, a structure built to serve as a healing place for those affected by the shooting which claimed 17 lives at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Coral Springs, Florida, February 14, 2019, photo by Joe Skipper/Reuters

    After School Shootings, Children and Communities Struggle to Heal

    School shootings leave wounds that affect students, school staff, families, and communities for years. Building community resilience, implementing evidence-based mental health support early, and providing access for survivors and the community immediately and in the long term could help promote healing and prevent more tragedy.

    Jul 19, 2019 Health Affairs Blog

  • Nurses discussing patient records

    On Nurse Staffing Ballot Measure, Massachusetts Voters Should Look to Evidence from California

    Massachusetts residents will soon vote on the Patient Safety Act, a mandate to increase nurse-to-patient ratios in acute care facilities. Evaluating existing data on the impact of a similar nurse staffing law implemented in California in 2004 may help inform voters as they head to the polls.

    Nov 2, 2018 Health Affairs Blog

  • Residents wade through flood waters from Tropical Storm Harvey in Beaumont Place, Houston, Texas, August 28, 2017

    Anticipating Harvey's Toll on Health and Health Care

    After Hurricane Harvey, challenges to the health of affected communities and the health care systems that serve them are expected to grow. Among the problems are closures of hospitals, pharmacies, and dialysis centers. Lessons from Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy could help relief efforts.

    Sep 5, 2017 U.S. News & World Report

  • Ambulances line the street after explosions interrupted the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013

    Lessons for First Responders on the Front Lines of Terrorism

    Given the persistent risk of terrorist attacks, it is critical to learn from past incidents to prepare for future ones. Medical and nonmedical first responders need more training in basic lifesaving skills. Open communication lines such as a dedicated radio frequency could help responders better coordinate. Disaster drills are also essential.

    Jul 10, 2017 The Conversation

  • A woman sick in bed calling her doctor

    Need a Doctor Now? Solve the Acute Care Crisis

    Many Americans struggle to receive acute care when they need it. The health care system is not focused on meeting unscheduled needs. Reforming acute care delivery will require making it a policy and research priority.

    Nov 17, 2016 The Hill

  • Volunteers distribute bottled water to help combat the effects of the contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan, March 5, 2016

    Community Resilience Is Key in the Aftermath of Flint's Lead Water Crisis

    For Flint to recover from this latest disaster, it will be critical for the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to invest in and implement strategies to build on existing community resilience and strengthen Flint's ability to bounce back.

    Mar 9, 2016 U.S. News & World Report

  • Paramedics pushing a patient on a gurney into a hospital

    Saving Lives After Tragedy

    Natural and man-made mass-casualty incidents are a growing threat. Evaluating successes and shortcomings after each crisis can contribute to the design and implementation of robust and resilient response systems and ensure the best possible outcomes for individuals and impacted communities.

    Dec 14, 2015 U.S. News & World Report

  • Nepalese military personnel and international rescue crews check on a collapsed building after the earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, May 12, 2015

    Another Nepal Earthquake Makes Disaster Relief Planning Even More Important

    Leadership, coordination, communication, and involvement of local stakeholders are critical in order to mount an informed response to natural disasters. Improved disaster management in Nepal could help limit the suffering of impacted communities and help secure a more successful recovery in the long run.

    May 13, 2015 U.S. News & World Report

  • Participants practice a medical procedure on a dummy arm during training for the Ebola response team at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, October 24, 2014

    Ebola Shows America Needs Better Disaster Preparedness

    Crafting an effective, whole-community strategy to respond to Ebola could stop the spread of the disease now and lay groundwork for responses to future outbreaks and other emergencies. In the long run, this could make public preparedness and resilience valuable assets for the U.S.

    Nov 7, 2014 U.S. News & World Report

  • Volunteers from the North Carolina Southern Baptists help clean out some apartments that were flooded during Hurricane Sandy

    One Year Later: Hurricane Sandy's Lessons in Resilience and Recovery

    The recovery from Sandy shows once again that how well communities bounce back from disasters depends not just on how they react after a crisis, but on how resilient they have made themselves beforehand. Building community resilience should be part and parcel of disaster preparedness.

    Nov 15, 2013 The RAND Blog

  • Moore, Okla. resident looking through remains of her house that was detroyed by the tornado

    Moore Must Be Ready for Psychological Aftermath

    Ensuring the availability of needed mental health resources was critical in the immediate aftermath and recovery phase of the 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado. Authorities in Oklahoma must ensure that such services are in place early so that Moore's residents can begin the long journey to recovery.

    May 31, 2013 CNN

  • Moore,Oklahoma,Oklahoma tornado,U.S. Air Force,assistance

    From Boston to Oklahoma—Lessons for the Regional Trauma Response System

    Three mass-casualty events occurring in three very different settings show that disaster preparedness should not be limited to large cities or “target” areas in the United States. One trait that is common to all such events is the need for coordinated, responsive trauma care for victims.

    May 23, 2013 The Health Care Blog

  • Damage sustained by St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., after the May 22, 2011 EF-5 tornado

    Medical Records Immune to Tornado in Joplin, Mo.

    Across the country, electronic medical records, designed first and foremost to make health care delivery safer and more efficient, are proving valuable when disaster strikes, write Mahshid Abir and Art Kellermann.

    May 23, 2012 USA Today

Publications