Sarah Blake

Sarah Blake

Assistant Professor of Public Health, Emory University
Chapter Member: Georgia SSN

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About Sarah

Blake's work utilizes mixed research methods and implementation science to examine the effects of health policies on the delivery and quality of care for medically vulnerable populations, particularly low-income women, children, and the elderly. Her research addresses Medicaid policy, family planning and reproductive health care policy, maternal and child health, cancer prevention and control, and long-term care. Blake serves as a co-Investigator on the evaluation of Georgia's Section 1115 Medicaid family planning waiver and as Co-Principal Investigator on a study of Title X in Georgia with Emory's Center for Reproductive Health Research in the Southeast (RISE). Additionally, she serves on many different advisory committees that address women's health issues, including the Georgia Department of Public Health's Maternal Mortality Review Action Review Committee and the Maternal Mental Health Advocacy Committee for Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia.


In the News

Quoted by Jessica Glenza in "Republican States Trying To Ban Abortion Expand Health Benefits for New Mothers," The Guardian, June 20, 2022.
Opinion: "New Federal Regulations Will Seriously Undermine Family Planning Services," Sarah Blake (with Andrea Swartzendruber), Georgia Health News, April 8, 2019.


"Prior Authorization Policies and Preferred Drug Lists in Medicaid Plans: Stakeholder Perspectives on the Implications for Youth with ADHD" (with Minna Song, Laura Gaydos, and and Janet R. Cummings). Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research (2019).

Describes how Medicaid policies create challenges for the delivery and receipt of mental health treatment for low-income youth in Georgia. We conducted focus groups with caregivers of Medicaid-enrolled children with ADHD and semi-structured interviews with providers and administrators at four safety net clinics that provided mental health care to these youth. Stakeholders reported that prior authorization policies for psychosocial services, restrictiveness of preferred drug lists, and changes in preferred drug lists in Medicaid plans created barriers to treatment continuity and quality for youth with ADHD and led to more administrative burden for safety-net clinics serving these youth.

"Georgia's Medicaid Family Planning Waiver: Working Together with Title X to Enhance Access to and Use of Contraceptive and Preventive Health Services" (with Anne Dunlop, Kathleen Adams, Jonathan Hawley, and and Peter Joski). Women's Health Issues 26, no. 6 (2016): 602-611.

Assesses the impact of Georgia's family planning demonstration waiver upon access to and use of contraceptive and preventive health services within Title X and Medicaid. Our findings suggest that implementation of the Georgia family planning demonstration waiver contributed to the increased use of higher effectiveness contraceptive methods, including LARCs, within the Medicaid and Title X programs as well as the increased use of preventive screenings among Title X clients. However, when the full population of low-income Georgia women targeted by the waiver was considered, a greater percentage was not served over the demonstration period.

"Facilitators and Barriers to Cervical Cancer Screening, Diagnosis, and Enrollment in Medicaid: Experiences of Georgia’s Women’s Health Medicaid Program Enrollees" (with Karen Andes, Laura Hilb, Karie Gaska, Linien Chien, Lisa Flowers, and and E. Kathleen Adams). Journal of Cancer Education 30, no. 1 (2015): 45-52.

Examines the cervical cancer experiences of women enrolled in Georgia's Women's Health Medicaid Program (WHMP). Results suggest that many women, especially African Americans, lacked understanding and recognition of early symptoms of cervical cancer, which prevented them from receiving a timely diagnosis. Additionally, participants responded positively to provider support and good communication but wished that their doctors explained their diagnosis more clearly. Finally, women were able to enroll in Medicaid without difficulty due largely to the assistance of clinical staff. These findings support the need to strengthen provider education and public health efforts to reach low-income and minority communities for screening and early detection of cervical cancer.

"San Diego's Area Coordinator System: A Disaster Preparedness Model for U.S. Nursing Homes" (with David H. Howard, Hilary Eiring, and and Scott Tarde). Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness 6, no. 4 (2012): 424-427.

Describes the San Diego County model for nursing home emergency preparedness, known as the area coordinator system, and discusses its strengths and limitations, and whether it ought to be replicated in other areas of the country.

"The Big Umbrella: Understanding Knowledge and Its Application to Evaluation" (with Judith M. Ottoson). New Directions for Evaluation 2009, no. 124 (2009): 21-34.

Explores the field of knowledge utilization. Evaluators have made long‐standing contributions to understanding knowledge utilization. Different models or ways to think about knowledge utilization have evolved to reflect different perspectives, contexts, and stages of the process, from knowledge creation to the use of effectiveness results in policymaking.

"Access to Health Care in the United States" (with Kenneth E. Thorpe and Kelly G. Howell), in Access to Health Care, edited by Martin Gulliford and Myfanwy Morgan (Routledge, 2003), 123-142.

Describes the major policies and programs that serve as facilitators and barriers in the the U.S. health care system.