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Zachary Meisel MD, MPH, MSHP

Faculty Scholar

Zachary F. Meisel is a PolicyLab faculty scholar and the director of the Center for Emergency Care Policy Research and associate professor of Emergency Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He serves as the patient safety officer at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, the primary hospital of Penn Medicine. Dr. Meisel’s research interests include pain treatment and opioid prescriptions, narrative communication, guideline adherence, opioid use disorder, patient safety, emergency medical services and patient-centered comparative effectiveness research. He has a specific focus on using and testing persuasive narratives to promote evidence translation to patients, providers and policymakers.

Dr. Meisel studies ways to improve the translation of research evidence, particularly around prescription opioids. He is the principal investigator of the Life STORRIED study (Life Stories for Opioid Risk Reduction in the Emergency Department) a multiyear, multicenter Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) funded clinical trial focusing on the comparative effectiveness of probabilistic versus patient narrative enhanced risk communication for pain management following emergency care. He also directs the Policy and Dissemination core for the National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded Center for Health Economics of Treatment Interventions for Substance Use Disorder, HCV and HIV ( He is also the principal investigator on multiyear grants from PCORI and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) focused on the translation of evidence to providers and patients. He has collaborated with PolicyLab on a WT Grant Foundation-sponsored study focused on studying narratives to improve provider prescribing of psychotropic medications to vulnerable children. He is also associate director of the Penn Injury Science Center (PISC). 

Dr. Meisel is also a medical journalist with expertise in dissemination translation of health services research results for audiences such as patients and policymakers. He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and University of Pennsylvania house officer training program in emergency medicine. He completed additional training in health policy research and health services research as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. He has written for and Slate. Dr. Meisel is associate editor at Academic Emergency Medicine, the official journal for the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. Dr. Meisel served on the PCORI methodology report writing team and currently serves on the Philadelphia Mayor’s Task Force to Combat the Opioid Epidemic in 2017.