Sara E. Heins

Sara E. Heins
Policy Researcher


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

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

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Sara E. Heins is a policy researcher at RAND. Her research interests include substance use and dependence, injury, occupational health, health information technology, maternal and child health, and emergency medical services. Current RAND projects include assisting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid with collecting and analyzing data from ground ambulance organizations. Recently completed RAND projects include developing and validating algorithms to predict functional impairment among Medicare beneficiaries and reviewing state-level efforts to link Medicaid claims and birth certificate data to advance maternal and child health.

Prior to beginning her doctoral program, Heins 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 Ph.D. in health policy and management with a concentration in health services research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health, and her B.A. in biology and society from Cornell University. 

Selected Publications

Heins, Sara E., Denis Agniel, Jacob Mann, and Melony E. Sorbero, Reviewing, Refining, and Validating Claims-Based Algorithms of Frailty and Functional Impairment: Final Report, RAND Corporation (RR-A1871-1), 2023

Heins SE, Agniel D, Mann J, Sorbero ME, "Development and Validation of Algorithms to Predict Activity, Mobility, and Memory Limitations Using Medicare Claims and Post-Acute Care Assessments," Journal of Applied Gerontology, 42(7), 2023

Faherty LJ, Heins SE, Kranz AM, Patrick SW, Stein BD, "Association Between Punitive Policies and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Among Medicaid-Insured Infants in Complex Policy Environments," Addiction, 117(1), 2022

Heins SE, Buttorff CB, Armstrong C, Pacula RL, "Claims-Based Measures of Prescription Opioid Utilization: A Practical Guide for Researchers," Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2021

Faherty LJ, Heins SE, Kranz AM, Stein BD, "Postpartum treatment for substance use disorder among mothers of infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome and prenatal substance exposure," Women’s Health Reports, 2(1), 2021

Heins SE, Faherty LJ, Kranz AM, "A Comparison of Approaches to Identify Live Births Using the Medicaid Analytic Extract," Health Services and Outcomes Research Methodology, 2021

Heins SE, Castillo RC, "Changes in Opioid Prescribing Following the Implementation of State Policies Limiting Morphine Equivalent Daily Dose in a Commercially Insured Population," Medical Care, 59(9), 2021

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

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Consultant360