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Shena Popat

Pronouns: She/Her

Senior Research Scientist
Shena is an experienced leader in rural and frontier health policy and evaluation.

Shena has over a decade of experience leading and conducting mixed methods and qualitative health research and program evaluation, including research design and planning, data collection and analysis, synthesizing findings, and conducting environmental scans. She has extensive experience conducting rural and frontier health program evaluations and policy analysis, and she collaborates with partners and stakeholders to develop policy recommendations for federal agencies, state agencies, and foundations. 

Her current projects focus on research and evaluation to advance health equity and support rural providers participating in value-based care arrangements. For example, Shena conducts qualitative data collection and analysis and leads report development for the Evaluation of the Pennsylvania Rural Health Model. Shena also supports several studies for the East Tennessee State University/NORC Rural Health Equity Research Center, including studies focused on Health Professional Shortage Area designations, Medicare Advantage utilization, and pilot programs implemented in rural communities. 

Popat was previously the improvement director for a critical access hospital and rural health clinic located in a frontier county, where she led the organization’s implementation of an accountable care organization. 



George Washington University


University of Southern California

Honors & Awards

Rural Health Fellow | 2018

National Rural Health Association

Project Contributions

Evaluation of the Vermont All-Payer Accountable Care Organization Model

Evaluating Vermont’s efforts to improve health outcomes and reduce health care spending


Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation Support for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Providing research, monitoring, and evaluation services to support CDC’s legacy Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support (CSTLTS)


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Reducing Health Disparities Through Quality Improvement

Helping to embed health equity into Medicare and Medicaid services


Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Office of Minority Health

Improving Rural Health Care Delivery in Maryland’s Mid-Shore Region

Developing innovative health care delivery models with the University of Maryland


Maryland Health Care Commission

Evaluation of the YMCA ForeverWell Expansion Project

NORC evaluated a holistic health and wellness program for older adults living in rural communities


YMCA of the USA

Alaska Healthcare Transformation Project

Producing a roadmap to reduce health care costs and improve health outcomes


Alaska Healthcare Transformation Project