Donald Nichols

Director, Health Equity Analytics and Solutions Program

Donald Nichols


  • PhD, Economics, Stanford University
  • BA, Mathematics and Economics, Washington University in St. Louis
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Donald Nichols is an economist specializing in studies of the U.S. health care system, including multiple projects focused on innovations in health care quality and cost reduction. He has an interest in equity, having studied the relationship between hospital racial makeup and disparities in treatment and outcomes, the impact of health care transformation on disparities, and ways to decrease rural-urban health disparities.

Currently, Dr. Nichols is directing an evaluation of Round 2 of the State Innovation Models (SIM) Initiative for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Our role in the project involves both providing an overall evaluation of whether state governments can succeed at health care reform and evaluating individual states’ plans for achieving higher quality care, lower costs, and improved health. Dr. Nichols also serves as project director for an evaluation of the Frontier Community Health Integration Project, a demonstration designed to improve the ability of frontier critical access hospitals to provide access to and to integrate care in their frontier communities. He has designed and led a variety of evaluations for major federal agencies and worked with large federal and state databases.

Dr. Nichols joined RTI in 2014. Previously, he was a principal research associate and managing director at IMPAQ International. He was an assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis and has also taught at the University of Maryland.

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