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Robert Lieberthal, PhD

Robert D. Lieberthal, PhD

Assistant Professor


Robert Lieberthal, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health, teaching within the department’s programs in public health. He received his doctoral training in health economics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He then spent six years as a faculty member at Thomas Jefferson University before joining the faculty at the University of Tennessee. He previously worked as an actuarial benefits consultant at Pricewaterhousecoopers LLP (PwC) in New York City.

Dr. Lieberthal's main research interest is the application of economic and actuarial analysis to public health issues. He is most recently the author of the book “What is health insurance (good) for? An examination of who gets it, who pays for it, and how to improve it”, published by Springer. He has received extramural grant funding including an R03 research grant and an R36 individual dissertation award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in addition to a diverse set of private external funders. His research has appeared in peer reviewed journals including Health Services Research and Health Affairs. He has presented his work at meetings of AcademyHealth, the American Risk and Insurance Association, and the Society of Actuaries. Dr. Lieberthal teaches the department’s Financial Management of Health Programs course.

Rob is a recent arrival to Knoxville. When not at work, he can usually be found with his family enjoying one of East Tennessee’s many museums, zoos, and outdoor activities.

Curriculum Vitae


Current grants

  • Examining predictive modeling based approaches to characterizing healthcare fraud (Sponsor: Society of Actuaries)

Current scholarly projects

  • An Economic Model Evaluating the Impact of Cardiovascular Medication Compliance on Cardiovascular Disease Events
  • Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Cost Analysis
  • Comparing Hospital Cost and Quality Using Publicly Available Data.


  • 2011: PhD in Managerial Science and Applied Economics (Concentration in Health Economics and Management), University of Philadelphia
  • 1999: BA, Boston University, Major in Mathematics and Minor in Computer Science

Professional Service

Editorial board memberships

  • Risk Management and Insurance Review (Associate Editor).

Professional society service

  • Chair, AcademyHealth 2014 Annual Research Meeting student poster award committee
  • Mentor, AcademyHealth 2015 Annual Research Meeting

Awards and Recognitions

  • AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting, Presidential Scholar, 2012



Lieberthal RD. Hedging Medical Spending Growth: An Adaptive Expectations Approach. Applied Finance and Accounting, August, 2016, 2(2).

Lieberthal RD, McRae J, and Leon J. Group Learning With Wikipedia: A Structured Approach. MedEdPORTAL Publications, March, 2016, publication ID 10362. doi: 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10362.

Lieberthal RD, Leon J. Engaging Health Professionals in Health Economics: A Human Capital Informed Approach for Adults Learning Online. Journal of Economic Education, 2015, 46(1) 45-55.


Lieberthal RD. What Is Health Insurance (Good) For? An Examination of Who Gets It, Who Pays for It, and How to Improve It. 2017 (Forthcoming). New York: Springer.

Robert Lieberthal, PhD

Contact Information

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