Cristian Meghea, Ph.D. is an NIH-funded Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Michigan State University. He is the Director and Co-Founder of the Maternal Health Equity Lab. His expertise is in maternal and child health, global health, health services research, health policy, and women’s health. His research focuses on the prenatal and perinatal period as a window of opportunity to improve the long-term health of mothers and their children. Trained as an Economist, he brings evaluation and data analysis expertise to his field of research.
Dr. Meghea’s research focuses on improving women’s health in low resource settings with a collaborative, community-engaged, multidisciplinary, and global approach. The broad goal of this research is to use the prenatal and perinatal period as a window of opportunity to improve the long-term health of women and their families and to reduce health disparities. Dr. Meghea accomplishes this goal by leading clinical and policy relevant health research to improve the care and health of the Medicaid population of pregnant women and by leading interventions focused on tobacco control during and around pregnancy. His research agenda was supported by over $21 million awarded by National Institutes of Health (NIH), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Romanian Government, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and other sources. He is the primary author or co-author of 55 academic articles (over 700 citations) published in journals including JAMA Open Network, JAMA Pediatrics, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Pediatrics, American Journal of Public Health, and European Journal of Public Health.
Dr. Meghea is leading a 5-year NIH-funded R01 project to develop, implement, and test in a randomized trial a multilevel intervention to address disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality among Medicaid-insured women. Other current work focused on improving the health of Medicaid-
insured women and infants includes the evaluation of a Michigan Healthy Start home visiting program in a Pay For Success public-private partnership, with partners including the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Spectrum Health, one of five top large health systems in the US. Dr. Meghea is also leading the evaluation of a Michigan Healthy Start program implementing prenatal and postnatal patient safety bundles, in a partnership led by the National Healthy Start Association
Previously, Dr. Meghea led a research program using quasi-experimental methods that established the Medicaid enhanced prenatal services program in Michigan (MIHP) as an evidence-based program. The analyses relied on multiple complete statewide Medicaid birth cohorts with linked data sources including birth and death records, Medicaid claims, and MIHP program data. The work showed that MIHP participation improves the healthcare utilization of mothers and infants and reduces the risk of adverse birth outcomes and infant mortality. MIHP is now one of the programs that meets the Department of Health and Human Services criteria for an evidence-based home visiting program.
Dr. Meghea’s ongoing tobacco control work builds on a program of research in the US and in Romania and includes completed trials of a phone counseling tobacco cessation intervention and of an app-based mHealth tobacco cessation intervention (the SFT 1.0 app), both focused on pregnant couples, and co-designed with patient, clinical, governmental, non-governmental, and community partners. Both interventions show evidence of feasibility, acceptability, and initial efficacy. He uses mixed methods, including advanced research design and evaluation methods in his projects. The mHealth trial uses a factorial design to test main and interaction effects of the intervention components.
Dr. Meghea recently secured NIH funding for an up to 5-year project to further develop and test in a hybrid effectiveness/implementation trial the SFT 2.0 tobacco cessation app which incorporates an AI algorithm (reinforcement learning) to continuously optimize the content, flow, and cost-effectiveness of the intervention. Dr. Meghea is actively involved in the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT), and currently serves as the Public Health Research Director of SRNT-University.
National Institutes of Health (NIH), Agency for Health Care Quality (AHRQ), W.K. Kellogg Foundation)