Author Interview with Research to Practice Award Winner Jennifer Torres Mosst

Jennifer Torres-Mosst, PhD, MPH, MSSW, with Associate Editor Justin B. Moore

Congratulations to Jennifer Torres Mosst, PhD, MPH, MSSW, whose abstract “Demonstration Project to Test Medicaid Reimbursement Models for Coverage of the National Diabetes Prevention Program in Los Angeles” was selected as the winner of the 2017 Research to Practice Award, co-sponsored by the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice and the APHA Health Administration Section.

The Research to Practice Award solicits best examples of current research that has effectively been put into the practice of health administrators. These papers may demonstrate translation of research findings to inform decision making and action by public health practice and policy stakeholders, development of new and/or effective dissemination strategies for research, or demonstrated achievement of work being utilized beyond peer-reviewed manuscripts.

In an effort to encourage the work of emerging public health researchers and practitioners, the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice welcomes Dr. Mosst to submit her work for publication in the journal as an invited article where she will receive special guidance from the JPHMP editors on her manuscript before it is then submitted for regular peer review.

Dr. Mosst was recognized at the Health Administration Section Awards Reception at the 2017 APHA annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. HA Section Chair, Brian Martin; HA Section Chair-Elect, Claude Jacob; and Awards Committee Chair, Kusuma Madamala officiated. JPHMP Associate Editor Justin B. Moore presented the award at the CNN Center where the ceremony took place.         

Associate Editor Justin B. Moore presents the 2017 Research to Practice Award to Jennifer Torres-Mosst

Dr. Mosst serves as the program manager of diabetes and chronic disease prevention strategies for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, where her work focuses on the scale and spread of the National Diabetes Prevention Program. JPHMP Direct had an opportunity to speak with Dr. Mosst after the awards reception in Atlanta.

JPHMP Direct: How did you hear about the Research to Practice Award?

Jennifer Torres Mosst: I heard about the award through the APHA abstract submission process and then was able to find more information about the award on the JPHMP Direct website, where I learned more and gathered information on the past recipient. It was an honor to know that I was selected at such an early stage in my career.

JPHMP Direct: Why is this award important?

Mosst: This award is important to me because it not only acknowledges the work that I am doing in the field of chronic disease but it also affords me the opportunity to present my work in a larger venue and to be able to highlight the issues of coverage/access for programs like the National Diabetes Prevention Program and highlight best practices for addressing such issues.

JPHMP Direct: What is the objective of your article/abstract? Why is it important to public health?

Mosst: My objective with this abstract was to showcase the work we are doing in Los Angeles County to address the issue of cost for the National Diabetes Prevention Program. The abstract discusses a demonstration project we launched that allowed us to partner with one of the largest Medicaid Managed Care Plans in the region and identify potential payment options for the National Diabetes Prevention Program, a program proven to reduce the prevalence of diabetes in our communities–but also a program that up until recently had not been covered by insurance plans. We were hoping that through this project we would be able to identify a payment option that would secure access to the program and reduce the risk of diabetes among low-income residents in Los Angeles County.

JPHMP Direct: What motivated you to conduct this study?

Mosst: I am very passionate about chronic disease prevention. I believe that all diseases can be prevented if proper efforts are in place to address the challenges individuals face with accessing proper health care in a timely manner. This particular project demonstrated that with proper mechanisms in place that individuals could gain access to evidence-based programs that have been effective in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the long-term. The investment the Medicaid Managed Care Plans have made will afford members with the option to take their health into their own hands and make choices to live a healthier life without worrying about cost or accessibly to life-saving programs, a barrier that often leaves so many behind, especially those in the priority population.

JPHMP Direct: Were any of your findings surprising?

Mosst: The biggest surprise and challenge with this project has been getting all of the players to work together and to solidify contracts because this project has two components, a payment piece and a program implementation piece. Contracting was required by the payor to not only ensure the program would be implemented but also to protect their members and to ensure that all data collected/shared was done in a manner that did not comprise participant information. Because of the additional contracting requirement, it became difficult to move the program forward in a timely manner and we have experienced delays that in some cases have lasted approximately a year, something we did not anticipate as we began moving this project forward.

JPHMP Direct: What are the public health implications of your work?

Mosst: The public health implications of this particular project would be the reduction of the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Current research indicates that the National Diabetes Prevention Program, an evidence-based lifestyle change program, has been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%, with 5%-7% weight loss among individual participants.

JPHMP Direct: What’s next relating to this field?

Mosst: The National Diabetes Prevention Program has been established as a leading evidence-based program for the prevention of diabetes; however, access to the program remains low due to lack of coverage options by health plans and Medicaid. Recommendations by federal agencies should provide guidance on how states and local jurisdictions can work with their Medicaid providers to address the issue of access and coverage for the program. Additionally, national Medicaid demonstration projects should be administered, similar to the CMS Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program Expansion (MDPP), which resulted in coverage of the NDPP through Medicare. Data from projects similar to this one that are being carried out in Los Angeles County can serve as an important next step to sharing information about public health efforts to increase access to and coverage of this lifestyle change program in large jurisdictions.

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