The Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics seeks Fellows primarily interested in Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER). The Division features substantial expertise in pharmacoepidemiology and health services research methods relevant to CER. Many faculty members are internists with additional training in epidemiology and/or health services research; others have doctoral degrees in epidemiology and biostatistics. Fellows will be given skills to generate and synthesize evidence on the effectiveness of medical interventions (drugs, devices, vaccines, procedures, diagnostics, etc.) that will lead to better-informed clinical decisions.
The Division is led by Drs. Jerry Avorn (Division Chief), Sebastian Schneeweiss (Division Vice-Chief), and Niteesh K. Choudhry. The Fellowship Program is led by Dr. Aaron S. Kesselheim, who also leads the interdisciplinary Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL) based in the Division. Clinical specialties represented on our faculty include general internal medicine and primary care, nephrology, rheumatology, geriatrics, and hospital medicine. Trainees will also be able to work with expert faculty members in health policy research, law, history, computer science, decision science, cost-effectiveness analysis, and clinical pharmacy. The Division has a rich infrastructure, including multiple populations-based insurance databases, experienced programmer-analysts, and dedicated research assistants that make possible implementation of a wide variety of research protocols.
The work of the Division centers on rigorously defining the relationships among the benefits, risks, and costs of medications, and on studying the effect of each of these on healthcare. In the last several years, the Division has become one of the most active programs in the nation that performs research on medication outcomes, adverse effects, and cost-effectiveness. In 2005, under Dr. Schneeweiss’s leadership, the Division was named a “DEcIDE Center” (Developing Evidence to Inform Decisions about Effectiveness), part of a federally funded network to advise the government about the comparative efficacy and safety of medical therapies. The Division was further selected to become the nation’s only DEcIDE Methods Center. The new Center is performing original research on methodological issues in CER, convening methods symposia, establishing a learning network, and developing national best practice recommendations for CER. With growing recognition of the importance of more rigorous definition of medication risks and benefits, Division faculty have become an integral part of the FDA’s new Sentinel drug safety surveillance system. We have also established ongoing research relationships with one of the nation’s largest health insurers and with a large national pharmacy chain to use their data to study patterns of drug use and outcomes. Research relationships have also been established or strengthened with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the Harvard School of Public Health.
Currently funded studies focus on the quantification of the efficacy, risks, and costs of specific medications or medication classes; documentation of patterns of drug use by physicians and patients; and programs to improve the appropriateness of medication use. Some examples include:
Our faculty is engaged in a wide range of research related to the evaluation of the comparative benefits, risks, and cost-effectiveness of medical interventions in routine care settings and the effectiveness of health care delivery systems and interventions to improve prescribing practices and medication adherence. Other active research areas include legal analyses of the distribution, use and intellectual property issues of medications, conflict of interest policies and physician interpretation of biomedical science, and the development and testing of new methodologies for non-randomized research of treatment effects.
To learn more about our faculty, click here.
The Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics’ Fellowship is located in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, within walking distance to the Harvard Medical School, the Harvard School of Public Health, and public transportation. Fellows sit at the main Division offices at 1620 Tremont Street, which is at Brigham Circle diagonal from the historic Peter Bent Brigham entrance to Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
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