Staff Profile

Dr. Mohammad Jalali (aka, ‘MJ’) is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and a senior scientist at MGH Institute for Technology Assessment. He was previously a research faculty at MIT Sloan School of Management and a consultant at the World Bank. MJ uses analytics and simulation-based approaches to help policymakers identify and develop high-leverage policies that not only are effective over the long haul, but also are not thwarted by unanticipated side effects. To achieve this goal, he spends a great deal of time working with decision-makers and policymakers, doing fieldwork and collecting different types of data that can inform richer models and analyses.

MJ’s work has been featured by various national and international media outlets, including Associated Press, The Hill, Newsweek, Scientific American, Business Insider, and NPR. He is an associate editor of System Dynamics Review and is on the editorial board of the Journal on Policy and Complex Systems. He is the recipient of the 2015 Dana Meadows Award, the 2015 WINFORMS Excellence Award, and the 2014 Lupina Young Researcher Award. MJ received his PhD in Systems Engineering, with a concentration on management and health care systems, from Virginia Tech in 2015.

Research approach and areas:

In his research trajectory, MJ follows three goals. First, he conducts simulation modeling and informatics research for various population-based health policies, focusing on health outcomes and cost-effectiveness. In his modeling research—drawn on theories of optimization and strategy—he analyzes the impacts of large-scale policies for prevention, screening, and treatment. MJ has developed models for obesity, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. He is currently working with the FDA to develop an opioid systems model, informing opioid policies at the FDA and other government agencies. Other areas of his modeling research include drug-shortages in pharmaceutical supply chains, organizational cybersecurity in health care, and the diffusion of medical technologies.

Second, MJ focuses his research on mechanisms that connect human decision-making to health care systems, because that is where many important policy-resistant problems lie. In particular, he aims to understand how and why many health policies fail to produce lasting results or create results counter to their goals.

Third, he wants his research to rigorously connect models with quantitative data. The growing complexity of health care issues, combined with the ubiquity of large amounts of data, requires increasingly sophisticated analytical methods. MJ complements his phenomenological research with methodological contributions that build bridges across methodological and application domains. For example, he has contributed to adapting various simulation-optimization approaches for model calibration and parameter estimation in dynamic models (e.g., the method of simulated moments and indirect inference), improving systematic review techniques, and developing a novel method for aggregation of prior stochastic and heterogeneous statistical findings.

Selected media coverage:

New York Times: Will Hot Weather Kill the Coronavirus Where You Live?
Washington Post: Summer weather could help fight coronavirus spread but won’t halt the pandemic

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Selected Publications

Collins, Reagan A; Herman, Tianna; Snyder, Rebecca A; Haines, Krista L; Stey, Anne; Arora, Tania K; Geevarghese, Sunil K; Phillips, Joseph D; Vicente, Diego; Griggs, Cornelia L; McElroy, Imani E; Wall, Anji E; Hughes, Tasha M; Sen, Srijan; Valinejad, Jaber; Alban, Andres; Swan, J Shannon; Mercaldo, Nathaniel; Jalali, Mohammad S; Chhatwal, Jagpreet; Gazelle, G Scott; Rangel, Erika; Yang, Chi-Fu Jeffrey; Donelan, Karen; Gold, Jessica A; West, Colin P; Cunningham, Carrie

Unspoken Truths: Mental Health Among Academic Surgeons Journal Article

In: Ann Surg, vol. 279, iss. 3, pp. 429-436, 2024, ISSN: 1528-1140.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Smith, Niamh; Georgiou, Michail; Jalali, Mohammad S; Chastin, Sebastien

Planning, implementing and governing systems-based co-creation: the DISCOVER framework Journal Article

In: Health Res Policy Syst, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 6, 2024, ISSN: 1478-4505.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Deutsch, Arielle R; Jalali, Mohammad S; Stout, Sarah; Frerichs, Leah

Equitable Policies Need Equitable Practices: Alcohol- and Substance-Exposed Pregnancy as a Case Study Journal Article

In: Health Promot Pract, vol. 25, iss. 1, pp. 17-21, 2024, ISSN: 1524-8399.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Lim, Tse Yang; Xu, Ran; Ruktanonchai, Nick; Saucedo, Omar; Childs, Lauren M; Jalali, Mohammad S; Rahmandad, Hazhir; Ghaffarzadegan, Navid

Why Similar Policies Resulted In Different COVID-19 Outcomes: How Responsiveness And Culture Influenced Mortality Rates Journal Article

In: Health Aff (Millwood), vol. 42, no. 12, pp. 1637–1646, 2023, ISSN: 1544-5208.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Stringfellow, Erin J; Lim, Tse Yang; Dong, Huiru; Zhang, Ziyuan; Jalali, Mohammad S

The association between longitudinal trends in receipt of buprenorphine for opioid use disorder and buprenorphine-waivered providers in the United States Journal Article

In: Addiction, vol. 118, no. 11, pp. 2215-2219, 2023, ISSN: 1360-0443.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Tatar, Moosa; Faraji, Mohammad R; Keyes, Katherine; Wilson, Fernando A; Jalali, Mohammad S

Social vulnerability predictors of drug poisoning mortality: A machine learning analysis in the United States Journal Article

In: Am J Addict, vol. 32, no. 6, pp. 539-546, 2023, ISSN: 1521-0391.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Vivas-Valencia, Carolina; Dong, Huiru; Stringfellow, Erin J; Russell, W Alton; Morgan, Jake R; Tadrous, Mina; Jalali, Mohammad S

Factors Associated With Abrupt Discontinuation of Long-Term High-Dose Opioid Treatment Journal Article

In: JAMA Netw Open, vol. 6, no. 11, pp. e2341416, 2023, ISSN: 2574-3805.

Links | BibTeX

Deutsch, Arielle R; Frerichs, Leah; Hasgul, Zeynep; Murphey, Foster; Coleman, Addie K; Bachand, Annie Y; Bettelyoun, Arlana; Forney, Paul; Tyon, Gene; Jalali, Mohammad S

How Funding Policy Maintains Structural Inequity Within Indigenous Community-Based Organizations Journal Article

In: Health Aff (Millwood), vol. 42, no. 10, pp. 1411–1419, 2023, ISSN: 1544-5208.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Yildirim, Melike; Webb, Karen A; Ciaranello, Andrea L; Amick, Alyssa K; Mushavi, Angela; Chimwaza, Anesu; Claypool, Anneke; Murape, Tendayi; McCann, Nicole C; Flanagan, Clare F; Jalali, Mohammad S

Increasing the initiation of antiretroviral therapy through optimal placement of diagnostic technologies for pediatric HIV in Zimbabwe: a modeling analysis Journal Article

In: Int J Infect Dis, vol. 134, pp. 31-38, 2023, ISSN: 1878-3511.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Wongseree, Peeradon; Hasgul, Zeynep; Leerapan, Borwornsom; Iramaneerat, Cherdsak; Phisalprapa, Pochamana; Jalali, Mohammad S

Dynamics of colorectal cancer screening in low and middle-income countries: A modeling analysis from Thailand Journal Article

In: Prev Med, pp. 107694, 2023, ISSN: 1096-0260.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX