Sara E. Heins

Photo of Sara Heins
Associate Policy Researcher
Pittsburgh Office


Ph.D. in health policy and management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; B.A. in biology, Cornell University


Sara E. Heins is an associate policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her research interests include substance use and dependence, injury, occupational health, health information technology, and maternal and child health. Current RAND projects include developing claims-based algorithms to identify Medicare beneficiaries with functional impairments, educating ambulance organizations on use of a RAND-developed survey instrument, and investigating the association of maternal substance use policies with rates of neonatal abstinence. Recent completed RAND projects include characterizing differences in injuries reported in different care settings, synthesizing literature on blast-injuries among service members, and developing an ambulance cost data reporting instrument.

Heins received her B.A. in biology and society from Cornell University and, prior to beginning her doctoral program, worked as a data analyst for the Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium, both at Johns Hopkins. She received her doctorate from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health in the Department of Health Policy and Management, with a concentration in health services research.

Selected Publications

Heins SE, Sorbero MJ, Jones CM, Dick AW, Stein BD, "High-risk Prescribing to Medicaid-Enrollees Receiving Opioid Analgesics: Individual and County Level Factors," Substance Use and Misuse, 53(10), 2018

Heins SE, Caulkins JP, Kilmer B, Stein BD, "Variation in the Degree of Concentration of Prescription Opioid Utilization Using Different Measures," Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 213, 2020

Heins SE, Castillo RC, "The Impact of Morphine Equivalent Daily Dose Threshold Guidelines on Prescribed Dose in a Workers’ Compensation Population," Medical Care, 58(3), 2020

7.Heins SE, Frey KP, Alexander GC, Castillo RC, "Reducing High Dose Opioid Prescribing: State-Level Morphine Equivalent Daily Dose Policies, 2007-2017," Pain Medicine, 21(2), 2020