Alisa Busch, MD, MS

Alisa Busch, MD, MS

McLean Hospital Title
Harvard Medical School Title
  • Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Mass General Brigham Title
  • Assistant Chief Medical Information Officer, Behavioral and Mental Health


Alisa Busch, MD, MS, is a psychiatrist and mental health services researcher who is nationally recognized for her work on measuring mental health care quality in systems of care. She has served on national technical expert panels on quality measurement in usual care mental health settings for the Institute of Medicine, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE).

Dr. Busch is the assistant chief medical information officer and the director of Clinical Performance Measurement and Health Services Research at McLean Hospital. In addition to having medical oversight of McLean’s electronic medical record, she directs the Clinical Measurement Initiative (CMI). In the CMI, patients complete computerized, validated self-assessments to inform individual routine patient care and assist in program outcomes assessment and in understanding how to improve patient outcomes. Additionally, Dr. Busch is the assistant chief medical information officer for Mass General Brigham Behavioral and Mental Health.

Research Focus:

The delivery and financing of health care is rapidly evolving. Dr. Busch’s Health Services Research program, founded at McLean in 2012, explores ways to improve the care of patients with psychiatric illness and analyzes how changes in local and national health policy affect treatment and outcomes. The program is part of the Health Services Research Division (HSRD) of Psychiatry and Mental Health at Mass General Brigham. Dr. Busch’s research collaborations are multidisciplinary, involving psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, primary care physicians, statisticians, and economists and more.

The research focuses on measuring and improving treatment quality within systems of care, across all diagnoses and practice settings. Measuring the quality of health care is essential for improving clinical practice. Dr. Busch’s approach blends clinical expertise with health services research methodologies, resulting in innovative mental health research that is feasibly carried out in systems of care and large populations and is also clinically nuanced and relevant.

Dr. Busch uses mental health services research methodology to measure mental health and substance use disorder treatment utilization, quality, and costs across systems of care. This methodology often relies on observational study and quasi-experimental designs using natural experiments.

Examples of the questions and issues Dr. Busch’s research addresses include how insurance parity affects changes in utilization, costs, and quality of care for individuals with mental health and substance use disorders, the effect of a Medicaid behavioral health carve-out on quality of care for enrollees with schizophrenia, changes in guideline-concordant care for bipolar disorder in privately insured and Medicaid populations, differences in treatment quality associated with enrollee race and/or ethnicity, and how well we can accurately predict which hospitalized patients are at higher risk for readmission within 30 days—in an effort to reduce readmissions.


  • Courtney Beard, PhD, McLean Hospital
  • Thröstur Björgvinsson, PhD, ABPP McLean Hospital
  • Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School
  • Garrett M. Fitzmaurice, ScD, McLean Hospital
  • Vicki Fung, PhD, John Hsu, MD, MBA, MSCE, Mongan Institute for Health Policy
  • Shelly F. Greenfield, MD, MPH, McLean Hospital
  • Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University
  • Lynne Kopeski, McLean Hospital
  • Andrew Nierenberg, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Maya Reddy, LICSW, McLean Hospital
  • Roger D. Weiss, MD, McLean Hospital
  • J. Frank Wharam, MB, BCh, BAO, MPH, Christine Lu, MSc, PhD, Stephen Soumerai, PhD, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
Selected Publications:

Fullerton CA, Busch AB, Normand S-LT, McGuire TG, Epstein AM. Ten-year trends in quality and spending for depression: 1996-2005. Archives of General Psychiatry 2011;68(12):1218-26.

Busch AB, Neelon B, Zelevinsky K, He Y, Normand, SLT. Accurately predicting bipolar disorder mood outcomes—implications for the use of electronic medical records. Medical Care 2012;50(4):311-9.

Busch AB, Yoon F, Barry CL, Azzone V, Normand S-LT, Goldman HH, Huskamp HA. The effects of mental health parity on spending and utilization for bipolar, major depression and adjustment disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry 2013;170(2):180-7.

PubMed search for Dr. Busch

Education & Training

  • 1990 BA in English, New York University
  • 1994 MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • 2000 MS in Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health
  • 1994-1995 Internship in Medicine-Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
  • 1994-1998 Psychiatry Residency, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • 1998-2000 Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Health Policy and Management, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School
Board Certifications:
  • 1998 Medical License, Board of Registration in Medicine, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • 1999, 2009 Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology


Phone: 617.855.2989
Office Address: Belmont campus - Administration, Room 106