Robert Coulam

Professor of Practice
  • School of Business
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(617) 521-2372

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  • J.D. Harvard Law School
  • Ph.D. Harvard Kennedy School
  • B.A. Harvard University

About Me

Dr. Coulam has been an academic and researcher for 35 years. He was formerly a Principal at Abt Associates, where he managed large-scale research and evaluation projects on Medicare and Medicaid policy issues. He has been active in research efforts supporting recent federal initiatives to reform the Medicare program and an advisor to federal agencies on health reform initiatives. ​He led the technical support team for Medicare’s demonstration of competitive pricing for health plans in the late 1990s. He has been active in research efforts supporting recent federal initiatives to reform the Medicaid and Medicare programs, to develop and evaluate quality  measures for physician services, and to evaluate markets for individual and small group health insurance under federal health reform.  His most recent publications focus on the technical, legal, and political problems of applying competitive pricing to Medicare.  Dr. Coulam's work has been published in Health Services Research, Health Affairs, Health Care Financing Review, Journal of Health Policy Politics and Law, and other health services research journals.  At Simmons, his primary responsibilities are to enhance the Health Care MBA program's research activities and funding and to teach courses in health policy, health law, and the health system. He also does work on international human rights, focused on issues of interrogation, morality, and terrorism.

What I Teach

  • MBAH 575 Health Policy
  • MBAH 480  The Health System
  • MBAH 481  Health Law and Ethics
  • GSM 412  Business, Government, and the Global Economy

Research/Creative Activities

Racial and Gender Discrimination in Hospital Senior Management

Professor of Practice Robert Coulam and Associate Professor Gary Gaumer continue their long-standing econometric research on inequity in management opportunities in U.S. hospitals, using data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In 2009, they published an initial paper on racial inequity in hospital management. With additional funding support from Simmons they are now able to study discrimination using new EEOC data that reports gender and race for all hospital managers and senior managers.

Learn more


Dowd, B., Swenson, T., Parashuram, S., Coulam, R., Kane, R., “The Effect of PQRS Reporting on Health-related Outcomes and Cost,” Health Services Research (forthcoming).

Atherly, A., Call, K., Coulam, R., and Dowd, B.,  “Medicaid expansions and crowd-out: Evidence from HIFA premium assistance programs,” Health Services Research (forthcoming).

Coulam, R., Kralewski, J., Dowd, B., and Gans, D. (2015), “The Role of Medical Group Practice Administrators in the Adoption and Implementation of Medicare’s Physician Quality Reporting System,” Health Care Management Review.

Dowd, B., Li, C., Swenson, T., Coulam, R., and Levy, J. (2014), “Early Results from the Medicare Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS): Quality Measurement and Beneficiary Attribution,” Medicare & Medicaid Research Review, 4(2).

Coulam, R. (2013).  Skill versus Brutality in Interrogation: Lessons from Israel for American Policy.  Intelligence and National Security, 28 (4), 566-590.

Coulam, R., Feldman, R., & Dowd, B. (2013).  A Response to the Bipartisan Policy Center's Proposal for Competitive Bidding In Medicare.  Health Affairs blog.

Dowd, B., Feldman, R., and Coulam, R. (2013).  A Response to Burke, et al., Health Affairs blog.

Dowd, B., Swenson, T., Kane, R., Parashuram, S., & Coulam, R. (2013).  Can Data Envelopment Analysis Provide a Scalar Index of Value?  Health Economics, 24.

Dowd, B., Karmarker, M., Swenson, T., Parashuram, S., Kane, R., Robert Coulam,  Molly Jeffrey (2013).  Emergency Department Utilization as a Measure of Physician Performance.  American Journal of Medical Quality, X, 1-9.

Dowd, B., Parashuram, S., Swenson, T., Kane, R., Coulam, R., David Knutson, UMN (2013).  Value-Based Purchasing for Physician Services.  Minnesota Medicine, 96 (4), 43-46.

Feldman, R., Dowd, B. and Coulam, R. (2013).  A Competitive Bidding Approach to Medicare Reform.   Paper in the series Preserving Medicare for Future Generations: Market-Based Approaches to Reform, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.

Adam Atherly, Bryan Dowd, and Robert Coulam, "The Effect of Adult HIFA Waiver Expansions on Insurance Coverage of Children," Medical Care Research and Review (March 2012).

Adam Atherly, Bryan E. Dowd, Robert F. Coulam, and Gery Guy, “The Effect of HIFA Waiver Expansions on Uninsurance Rates in Adult Populations,” Health Services Research, 47:3 (June 2012), 939-962.

Roger Feldman, Robert Coulam, and Bryan Dowd “Competitive Bidding Can Help Solve Medicare’s Fiscal Crisis,” Health Policy Outlook, American Enterprise Institute, No. 2 (February 2012).

Robert Coulam, Roger Feldman, and Bryan Dowd, “Competitive Pricing and the Problem of Cost Control in Medicare,” Journal of Health Policy, Politics, and Law (August 2011).

Robert Coulam, Roger Feldman, and Bryan Dowd, Bring Competitive Prices to Medicare!  Essential Reform at a Time of Fiscal Crisis (Washington D.C.:  American Enterprise Institute, 2009).

Gary Gaumer and Robert Coulam, “Geographic Variation in Minority Participation in Hospital Management in the United States,” Hospital Topics, 87:2 (Spring 2009), 13-24.

Robert Coulam, "Approaches to Interrogation in the Struggle against Terrorism:  Considerations of Cost and Benefit," in Robert Fein (ed.), Educing Information:  Science and Art in Interrogation – Foundations for the Future  (Washington, D.C.:   Intelligence Science Board, Joint Military Intelligence College Press, 2007).

Robert Coulam, "Interrogation of Suspected Terrorists in Israel:  An Overview of the Organization and Approach of the Shin Bet," paper submitted to the U.S. Intelligence Science Board, January 2006.

Bryan Dowd, Robert Coulam, Roger Feldman, and Steven Pizer, “Fee-for-Service Medicare in a Competitive Market Environment,” Health Care Financing Review, 27:2 (Winter 2005-2006), 113-126.

Roger Feldman, Bryan Dowd, and Robert Coulam, “The Effect Of Health Plan Characteristics On Medicare + Choice Enrollment,” Health Services Research, 38:1 (February 2003, Part I), 113-135.

Roger Feldman, Robert Coulam, and Bryan Dowd, “Premium Rebates and the Hidden Consensus on Market Reform for Medicare,” Health Care Financing Review, 23:2 (Winter 2001), 19-33.

Bryan Dowd, Robert Coulam, and Roger Feldman, “Competitive Pricing and Medicare Reform,” Health Affairs, 19:5 (September/October 2000), 9-29.

Bryan Dowd, Roger Feldman, and Robert Coulam, “The Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan: Implications for Medicare Reform,” Inquiry, 36:2 (Summer 1999), 188-199.

Margo L. Rosenbach, Carol Irvin, and Robert Coulam, “Access for Low-income Children:  Is Health Insurance Enough?” Pediatrics, 103:6 (June 1999), 1167-1174.

Robert Coulam, David Kidder, Carol Irvin, and Margo Rosenbach, “Managing Access and Utilization: Extending Medicaid to Florida Children through School-Based HMO Coverage,” Health Care Financing Review, 18:3 (Spring 1997), 149-175.

Laurence G. Branch, Robert Coulam, and Yvonne Abel, "The PACE Evaluation: Initial Findings," The Gerontologist, 35:3 (June 1995), 349-359

Robert Coulam and Gary Gaumer, “Medicare's Prospective Payment System:  A Critical Appraisal,” Health Care Financing Review (1991 Annual Supplement), 45-77.

Barbara Burns, Joseph Smith, H Goldman, Lynn Barth, and Robert Coulam, “The CHAMPUS Tidewater Demonstration Project,” New Directions For Mental Health Services, Vol. 43 (Fall 1989), pp. 77-86; also appearing in D. Mechanic and L. Aiken (Eds.), Paying for Services: Promises and Pitfalls of Capitation, Jossey Bass, Inc.: San Francisco, CA, 1989, 77-86.

Robert Coulam and Stephen Fienberg, “The Use of Court-Appointed Statistical Experts:  A Case Study,” in M.H. DeGroot et al., Statistics and the Law (New York:  John Wiley, 1986).

Robert Coulam and Gregory W. Fischer, “Problems of Command and Control in a Major European War,” in Robert Coulam and Richard Smith  (co-editors), Advances in Information Processing in Organizations  (Greenwich, Conn.:  JAI Press, 1985).

Robert Coulam, “New Defense Systems,” in Gerald Benjamin (ed.), The Communications Revolution in Politics  (New York:  The Academy of Political Science, 1982).

Robert Coulam, Illusions of Choice:  The F-111and the Problem of Weapons Acquisition Reform  (Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 1977).

Robert Coulam, “Inter-Service Rivalry,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 33, (June 1977), pp. 25-36.

Robert Coulam, “The Importance of the Beginning,” Public Policy, Vol. 23, (Winter 1975), pp. 1-38.