News & Updates

Institute for Medicaid Innovation Adds Academic, Artistic Depth to Their Research Bench

January 11, 2019

Institute for Medicaid Innovation Adds Academic, Artistic Depth to Their Research Bench
GW’s Dr. Karen George, Georgetown’s Robert Longyear, and graphics pro Lydia Tonkonow bring new expertise to Medicaid group

January 11, 2019 – Washington, DC – The Institute for Medicaid Innovation (IMI), the DC-based health care research group, broadened its capabilities with the addition of Karen George, MD, MPH, FACOG as its new women’s health fellow, research assistant Robert Longyear, and graphic designer and media specialist Lydia Tonkonow. They will be supporting IMI’s research agenda that will include studies on maternal morbidity and mortality, value-based payment and equity, best practices in Medicaid, social determinants of health, and childhood obesity, to name a few.

Each of the new staff members come to the IMI with top-notch credentials and experience. Dr. George is a clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at George Washington University. Prior to that, she was the residency program director at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center for 15 years and now serves as the vice chair of the council on residency education at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She recently completed her MPH at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice with a focus on value-based payment and delivery models in obstetrics and gynecology. She received her MD from The Ohio State University College of Medicine and completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at University of New Mexico.

In addition to supporting research staff at the IMI, Robert Longyear is studying health care management and policy at Georgetown University with a special interest in the integration of pre-clinical, clinical, and business approaches. While at Georgetown, he served the community as a researcher at both the Senior Wellness Project at the School of Nursing and the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.  He also gained experience in quality improvement by working on HEDIS measures at WellCare Health Plans, and in regulatory health policy performing data collection and analysis at ICF Consulting.

Prior to the IMI, Lydia Tonkonow cultivated her passion for graphics and design at respected organizations like Medicaid Health Plans of America, the trade group for the Medicaid managed care industry, where she was the artistic lead on social media and advertising campaigns, the US Fish and Wildlife Service as their historic preservation and cultural resources intern, and the art library at Wesleyan University, where she also received her bachelor’s degree in fine and studio arts.

"Medicaid is a vital support system for women and their families before, during, and after pregnancy,” said Dr. George. “Innovation in payment and delivery is critical to reducing maternal morbidity, mortality, and disparities. I am looking forward to working with Robert, Lydia, and the rest of the IMI team on these and other important issues affecting our nation’s underserved."

“We’re very excited to have all this new talent at our organization,” said IMI Executive Director Jennifer Moore, PhD, RN.  “The diverse backgrounds and skills of Dr. George, Robert, and Lydia will be put to good use as we tackle the wide range of issues on our ambitious research agenda for the benefit of the Medicaid program and the enrollees it serves.”

Dr. George can be reached at, Robert Longyear at, and Lydia Tonkonow at

About the Institute for Medicaid Innovation
The Institute for Medicaid Innovation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit research organization that provides independent, nonpartisan information and analysis that informs Medicaid policy and improves the health of the nation.

Media contact:

Lydia Tonkonow