Research Spotlight

At my heart I am an economist and a data person . . . I [use] data to find answers for societal or population issues.  Shahla Mehdizadeh, PhD, Senior Research Scholar

Dr. Mehdizadeh applies her talents as an economist to provide information that helps shape policies for older people with disabilities in Ohio. Working with other Scripps researchers and using national and state data, Shahla developed a series of research reports that addressed issues related to Ohio’s capacity, both financially and structurally, to meet the needs of this growing population. Many questions were addressed such as:

  • What are the financial resources of Ohio’s older population with a disability?
  • How many will potentially need Medicaid assistance?
  • Could Ohio benefit from a more managed long-term care services and supports strategy?

The reports provided information to project several different scenarios into the future by examining alternatives to nursing home care for people who needed daily assistance with simple everyday tasks. Among the alternatives were a rapid expansion of home and community-based care, as well as providing education, training, and therapy support for people who could remain independent through simple home modifications and assistive devices. The projections demonstrated that changes have to be made soon with regular and continuous adjustments as more of the baby boomers reach older ages and need assistance.

Shahla presented these findings to the Medicaid Reform Committee and testified in front of the Ohio House Committee on Aging. “I believe those presentations and the discussions that followed made an impact. Both committees continued in reforming Medicaid long-term care services and supports by expanding and experimenting with alternatives to nursing home care while balancing allocations for caring for the most vulnerable people and other state needs.” Learn more about this groundbreaking work at:

About Shahla

Shahla Mehdizadeh is a Senior Research Scholar at the Scripps Gerontology Center and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Gerontology. Her research expertise is in estimating the prevalence of disability and examining health and long-term services and supports utilization patterns of people with a disability.