We hope you enjoy the Winter edition of the Society for Medical Decision Making Newsletter
SMDM Newsletter


From the Editor
by A. Scott LaJoie, PhD, MSPH
From the President
by Scott Braithwaite, MD

Society Updates

Society Updates

Medical Decision Making
2012 SMDM Awards
Call for Nominations
Call for Presentations at AHRQ-SMDM

SMDM Meetings

SMDM Annual Meetings

2013 North American Meeting
2012 North American Meeting

Interest Groups and Other Meetings

Shared Decision Making Interest Group
Decision Psychology Interest Group
Global Health Policy Working Group
UMIT Meetings



Understanding the Role of Affect in Decision Making -
Alice Isen's Pivotal Contribution

Robert M. Hamm, PhD
The Election's Over: What Happens Next?
by Mark Liebow, MD, MPH
by Brian Zikmund-Fisher, PhD

Other News

Other News

Members in the News
Recognition of Lifetime Contributors

Events and Opportunities

Be sure to take advantage of all of the events and opportunities SMDM has to offer.
2013 North American Meeting
Opportunities to Volunteer
Job Postings
Support SMDM
Join SMDM on Facebook
Contact Us



A. Scott LaJoie, PhD, MSPH, Editor-in-chief, University of Louisville
Donald A. Brand, PhD, Senior Editor, Winthrop University Hospital
Scott B. Cantor, PhD, Senior Editor, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center



Robert M. Hamm, PhD, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine
Mark Liebow, MD, MPH, Mayo Clinic
Brian Zikmund-Fisher, PhD, University of Michigan School of Public Health

Additional Contributing Authors

Scott Braithwaite, MD, NYU School of Medicine
John Wong, MD, Tufts Medical Center
Anne Stiggelbout, PhD, Leiden University Medical Center
Negin Hajizadeh, MD, NYU School of Medicine
James G. Dolan, MD, University of Rochester
Deb Feldman-Stewart, PhD, Queen's University
Robert M. Hamm, PhD, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine
Dana Alden, PhD, University of Hawai’i at Manoa
Bruce Schackman, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College

Scott LaJoieFrom the Editor

by A. Scott LaJoie, PhD, MSPH, Editor-in-chief, University of Louisville

Welcome to the new year and to the winter issue of the SMDM newsletter. If you are like me, as you read this issue, you will be impressed by the diversity of topics covered by our contributors and the accomplishments of our members. I hope you will join the newsletter staff in welcoming the new editorial staff of MDM, and again thanking Mark Helfand, MD, MPH, and Lauren Saxton for their work with the journal.

Sadly, you’ll note the passing of cognitive psychologist Alice Isen, PhD, a longtime member of SMDM, who helped us understand the influence of affect on decision making. As a personal note, Dr. Isen’s research guided my doctoral work and she was always very helpful to me as I sought to understand how risk attitudes vary as a function of small changes in mood. Rob Hamm, PhD, provides a review of her research and implores us to continue Isen’s lifework.

We continue to learn about changes coming as a result of the Affordable Care Act and President Obama’s re-election. Mark Liebow, MD, provides useful insights. Lastly, Brian Zikmund-Fisher, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Michigan offer us the opportunity to create icon array graphs – to effectively convey risk information – more easily through a newly released online tool. Thanks, Brian!

Enjoy, and as always, if you’d like to contribute, please contact me or senior editor Donald Brand, PhD, and we’ll work with you to see that your ideas are shared with your fellow SMDM members.

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Scott BraithwaiteFrom the President

by Scott Braithwaite, MD, NYU School of Medicine

Happy New Year! I hope that you and your loved ones have partaken of just the right amount of festivities and family togetherness.

SMDM is at a very special juncture - halfway through the time period of our 2010-2015 Strategic Goals - a perfect point to reflect on which of our objectives we are accomplishing fast and furiously, and which of our objectives, um, do not yet have an aura of inevitability. (For those of you who do not recite SMDM’s strategic goals as a daily mantra, an abridged summary is in the box below.)

In each quarterly Newsletter, I will showcase an unsung hero behind one of SMDM’s strategic goals. This quarter’s unsung hero is. . .

Mary PolitiMary Politi: Mary is an unsung hero of Strategic Goal 4, Networking. She is Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery in the School of Medicine and Health Communication Research Laboratory at Washington University. She is also an SMDM Trustee and was one of the Scientific Chairs for the SMDM Annual Meeting. Mary’s research program focuses on using systematic methods to help patients work through the uncertainties of health decisions through developing and evaluating patient decision tools, examining techniques to aid patient-clinician discussions about health decisions, and exploring ways to improve communication about risks. Mary is heading up a new Networking Committee that will create a suite of networking activities, and will act as “buzz”-central of SMDM. She will be working with standing SMDM committees, especially Career Development, Membership, and Business Development, to amplify their buzz-worthy endeavors. If you would like to help Mary in this pursuit, ask her!

Next column will feature an unsung hero of Strategic Goal 5: Policy Influence. Who could it be? Find out in the next Newsletter!

Strategic Plan

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New Medical Decision Making Editor Named

Alan SchwartzCongratulations to Alan J. Schwartz, PhD, Professor, University of Illinois, Chicago, in his new role as editor-in-chief of Medical Decision Making. Additional congratulations to Rebecca Fiala, in her new role as editorial manager on MDM.

A warm welcome is also extended to the incoming 2013-2015 editorial board members - especially returning member, Oguzhan Alagoz, PhD. Our 14 new board members are: Jagpreet Chhatwal, PhD; Stefano Conti, PhD; Allan S. Detsky, MD, PhD; Sofia Dias, PhD; Yoko Ibuka, PhD; Ravishankar Jayadevappa, PhD; Ivar Sønbø Kristiansen, MD, PhD, MPH; Josephine Mauskopf, PhD, MHA; Eleanor Pullenayegum, PhD; Victoria Shaffer, PhD; Steven Shechter, PhD; Kyunghee K. Song, PhD; M. Elske van den Akker-van Marle, PhD; and Douglas B. White, MD.

November/December Issue Released

We hope you enjoy the latest issue of our journal

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SMDM Award Winners

by John Wong, MD, Tufts Medical Center, Lusted Awards Committee Co-Chair

On behalf of the Awards Committee chaired by Myriam Hunink, MD, PhD, and my co-chair for the Lusted Award Committee, Amber Barnato, MD, MPH, I am pleased and proud to share with you the 2012 awardees.

2012 Award Winners
Pictured above: (Top Photo, l-r): John Wong, Sorapop Kiatpongsan, Lauren E. Cipriano, Eva Enns, Sze-chuan Suen, and Myriam Hunink. (Bottom Photo, l-r): Myriam Hunink, Annette O'Connor, Scott Cantor, Michael Drummond, and Anne Stiggelbout

First, for the 2012 SMDM LEADERSHIP AWARDS:

Career Achievement Award

The Career Achievement Award recognizes distinguished senior investigators who have made significant contributions to the field of medical decision making. The 2012 award was presented to Annette O'Connor, RN, PhD, FCAHS, Ottawa Health Research Institute in recognition of her seminal work in decision aids and shared decision making that includes over 30 patient decision aids; development of the decisional conflict scale; and the first systematic review of randomized trials of patient decision aids. Her research has improved knowledge, tools and standards for informing patients about difficult treatment decisions and has led to new policies and legislation to promote shared decision making between patients and health professionals. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and along with Hilary Llewellyn-Thomas, PhD, previously received the 2004 John M. Eisenberg Award for Practical Application of Medical Decision Making Research from SMDM. Her husband accompanied her to a heart-warming and memorable acceptance speech.

Eugene Saenger Award for Distinguished Service

The Eugene L. Saenger Award for Distinguished Service to SMDM recognizes service to SMDM in terms of leadership, role in the operations of the Society, and contributions to the scientific and educational activities of the Society. The 2012 award was presented to Scott B. Cantor, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Scott has served as President, Vice President, Trustee, and Program Chair of the 1997 Houston meeting, as well as chairing and participating in numerous SMDM committees. In his acceptance speech, Scott encouraged all of us to volunteer and provide service to SMDM.

Eisenberg Award

The John M. Eisenberg Award for Practical Application of Medical Decision Making Research recognizes an individual or organization that has demonstrated sustained leadership in translating medical decision making research into practice, and that has taken exceptional steps to communicate the principles and/or substantive findings of medical decision making research to policy makers, to clinical decision makers, and to the general public. The 2012 award was presented to Michael Drummond, PhD, University of York Centre for Health Economics. He is the author of two major textbooks and more than 600 scientific papers, has acted as a consultant to the World Health Organization and was Project Leader of a European Union Project on the Methodology of Economic Appraisal of Health Technology. He has also served on the Boards of Directors of the International Society of Technology Assessment in Health Care and the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research. He has been President of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research and is currently Co-Editor-in-Chief of Value in Health. At the award ceremony in Phoenix, he presented a talk entitled Practical Applications of Decision-Analytic Modeling. The presentation included the following British newspaper headline as an example of the media view of osteoporosis treatments as evaluated by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the UK: “If you want NHS drugs, you must break a bone first.” Of course, he then pointed out in a slide entitled the US attitude toward considering costs “Caution. This sign has SHARP EDGES. Do not touch the edges of this sign.”


Outstanding Paper by a Young Investigator

Ashleigh Tuite, MSc, MPH, received the Outstanding Paper by a Young Investigator for the paper Cholera Epidemic in Haiti, 2010: Using a Transmission Model to Explain Spatial Spread of Disease and Identify Optimal Control Interventions. Tuite AR, Tien J, Eisenberg M, Earn DJD, Ma J, Fisman DN. Annals of Internal Medicine 2011; 154(9):593-601. In Dr. Fisman’s nomination letter, “her cholera paper [is an outstanding] . . . example of high-quality work that was completed quickly in response to a request from a public health partner, and which actually has impacted public health action during the ongoing cholera tragedy in Haiti. From a disease control and decision making point of view, perhaps the most important contribution of this paper was its projection of the relatively high impact that even an imperfect vaccine could have on cholera disease dynamics. In fact, this policy option has (gradually) been working its way into the plans of governmental agencies and NGO’s, and vaccine roll-out efforts are now being initiated in Haiti. We have been told by colleagues in NGO (such as Dr. Paul Farmer of Partners in Health) that Ashleigh’s paper has actually been extremely helpful in making the case for a more aggressive response to this ongoing epidemic.”

Lee B. Lusted Student Prizes

The Society encourages and recognizes exceptional work by young investigators. Trainee achievement is recognized through the awarding of the Lee B. Lusted Student Prizes for outstanding research at the Annual Meeting.

The 2012 Lee B. Lusted Student Prize for Applied Health Economics was awarded to Lauren E. Cipriano, MS, for her presentation "Optimal Information Acquisition Policy in Dynamic Healthcare Policy: Application to HCV Screening."

The 2012 Lee B. Lusted Student Prize for Behavioral Economics was awarded to Ellen Green, MA, for her presentation "Payment Structures in the Medical Community: An Experimental Study."

The 2012 Lusted Award for or Decision Psychology and Shared Decision Making was awarded to Sorapop Kiatpongsan, MD, for his presentation "Effects of Decision Ambiguity and Conflicts of Interest in Perceived Value of a Medical Service."

The 2012 Lee Lusted Award for Health Services and Policy Research was awarded to Sze-chuan Suen, BS, BA, for her presentation "Dynamic Transmission Microsimulation of Tuberculosis in India to Asses the Future Impact of Treatment Programs."

The 2012 Lee Lusted Award for Quantitative Methods and Theoretical Developments was awarded to Eva Enns, MS for her presentation "Calibration Methods for Inferring Transition Probabilities from Cross-Sectional Studies."

As has been the case for many meetings, both oral and poster presentations and both predoctoral and postdoctoral candidates received awards. In support of the Lusted Committee, we had an outstanding group of 20 judges with 5 for each category (note that scores are censored for any judges with a conflict of interest): Dana Alden, PhD, Michael Barry, MD, Ahmed Bayoumi, MD, MSc, Tanya Bentley, PhD, Scott Cantor, PhD, Neal Dawson, MD, Mark Eckman, MD, Liana Fraenkel, MD, MPH, Liz Fenwick, PhD, MSc, Heather Taffet Gold, PhD, Jeremy Goldhaber-Feibert, PhD, Newell McElwee, PharmD, David Meltzer, MD, PhD, Mark Roberts, MD, MPP, Beate Sander, PhD, Uwe Siebert, MD, MSc, ScD, Seema Sonnad, PhD, Danielle Timmermans, PhD, Y. Claire Wang, MD, ScD, MSc, and Robert Wigton, MD. A special congratulations to Dr. Jeremy Goldhaber-Feibert who mentored 3 of the awardees.

Call for Nominations, 2013 Awards - Deadline March 1, 2013

Nominations for the 2013 SMDM Awards must be received no later than March 1, 2013. A letter of support for your candidate and, if available, the nominee’s CV is recommended but not required. Nominations should be submitted via email to SMDM Executive Director, Jill Metcalf. The awards will be presented at the 2013 SMDM Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD. Check our website for complete rules and requirements.

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Anne StiggelboutCall for Nominations

by Anne Stiggelbout, SMDM Nominations Committee Chair, Leiden University Medical Center

The Nominations Committee is soliciting nominations for the positions of President-Elect, Vice President–Elect, and 3 Trustees.

We invite SMDM members to submit the names of SMDM members whom you believe would serve the Society well. Self-nominations are encouraged. The Nominations Committee will consider all submitted names. At least 2 nominees will be selected for each position. Upon approval of the slate by the Board of Trustees, the list of nominees will be sent to all SMDM members. Additional nominees then will be accepted by petition, as described by the Society’s regulations.

Please submit your nominations to Jill Metcalf at prior to 5:00 p.m. EST, February 15, 2013. Inclusion of information about the nominee’s past service to SMDM or other professional groups is helpful to the Nominations Committee’s deliberations. All nominations will remain confidential among the Nominations Committee until a slate is chosen.

Please contact me if you have any questions regarding the nomination or election process.

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Nejin HajizadehCall for Presentations at AHRQ-SMDM Seminar Series

by Negin Hajizadeh, MD, SMDM designated AHRQ K12 scholar

Are you an SMDM researcher working on novel approaches to healthcare problems? You are invited to take advantage of an incredible opportunity to present your work at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The seminars occur on Thursday mornings and there are a few dates still available for January-July 2013. Junior-midlevel investigators without independent funding may qualify for a competitive travel stipend.

Please contact the SMDM designated AHRQ K12 scholar, Negin Hajizadeh, MD, at for further information.

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2013 North American Meeting

2012 Annual Meeting

Capitalizing on our proximity to Washington, DC, the ongoing debate about health care reform in the US, and efforts to achieve high-value health care systems around the globe, the theme of the 2013 meeting is Bench, Bedside and Beyond: Medical Decision Making and Public Policy.

In addition to oral abstract and poster sessions for the presentation of original research, special thematic sessions will address research agendas and the dissemination of findings to patients and providers in the community; strategies for influencing clinical policy and guideline development; and effective communication in policy and advocacy arenas. Through these sessions, symposia and short courses, attendees will gain an understanding of a wide range of contemporary issues and research methods at the interface of medical decision making and public policy.

Meeting Co-Chairs: Elena Elkin, PhD, and Heather Tafftet Gold, PhD

Abstract Submission: Opens February 15, 2013, with a deadline of May 17, 2013.

Stay tuned for additional details.

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2012 North American Meeting

2012 Meeting Photos

For more pictures from the 2012 North American Meeting held in Phoenix, Arizona, visit our photo gallery.

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Interest Groups

Deb Feldman-Stewart and James DolanShared Decision Making Interest Group

Co-chairs, Deb Feldman-Stewart, PhD, Queen's University, and James G. Dolan, MD, University of Rochester

Forty-one people attended the SMDM Shared Decision Making Interest Group in Phoenix. A number of interesting upcoming events were announced including (in chronological order):

a) The 3rd Cross-Cultural Health Care Conference to be held in Hawaii, February 8-9, 2013 (;

b) The 2013 Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care, March 11-13, 2013, Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore, MD (

c) The Society for Behavioral Medicine meeting to be held in San Francisco, March 20-23, 2013:;

d) The International Shared Decision Making (ISDM) Conference to be held June 16-19, 2013, in Lima, Peru (; 

e) The American Academy on Communication in Health Care (AACH) conference scheduled for September 29 - October 3, 2013, in Montreal, Canada; and

f) The International Society for Evidence-based Health Care meeting in Sicily, October 30 - November 2, 2013:

Our main agenda items were a presentation regarding a new shared decision making component of the National Cancer Institute's Grid-Enabled Measures Database (GEM) which intended to foster the development and use of measurement constructs regarding Shared Decision Making and plans for a new short course in Shared Decision Making planned for next year's annual meeting. Further details regarding the GEM project are available at

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PsychologyDecision Psychology Interest Group

Co-chairs, Robert M. Hamm, PhD, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, and Dana Alden, PhD, University of Hawai’i at Manoa

The group serves as a forum for members to get to know one another’s interests and skills, learn what SMDM offers them and how they may serve the association, and discover opportunities for funding, publishing, and collaboration. At the SMDM annual meeting in Phoenix, about 40 of us heard about the NCI GEM resource being developed (a repository of instruments for measuring constructs related to the effects of shared decision making) and several have contributed instruments (

Members of the group agreed to support the preparation and teaching of a revision of the broad, “Basic Psychology of Medical Decision Making” short course, which covers both physician and patient decision making and behavior. This is a core short course, which the society has committed to give every year. Of course, there is also need for people to prepare other, more specialized psychology courses.

The group communicates through SMDM’s Psychology mailing list (Psych-L), which has about 80 members. This is used most often for informing people about SMDM meetings, short course issues, and other opportunities. The group also has a Linkedin group, the Medical Decision Psychology Interest Group, which allows discussions to be posted and added to. This has over 300 members, many of them students or fresh graduates in psychology or clinical fields. This is a distinct audience for information about SMDM, as these members are from countries on many continents as well as US states with little SMDM penetration.  SMDM members are encouraged to post descriptions of their activities or their recent papers; many of these folks may have little likelihood of seeing these ideas otherwise.

For purposes of facilitating members finding people with similar or complementary interests, we encourage people to register their interests in the SMDM online membership directory. To misquote Kevin Costner, “If you don’t build it, they will not come.”

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Bruce SchackmanGlobal Health Policy Working Group

by Bruce Schackman, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College

The SMDM Global Health Working Group held a meeting on October 24, 2012, at the SMDM Annual Meeting. Over 22 researchers from around the world with a variety of backgrounds and from diverse academic disciplines came together to discuss the progress of the Global Health Working Group work since last year and decide on directions for future collaboration. Attendees included 11 recipients of 2012 International Travel Scholarships from Ethiopia, Nigeria, India, Malaysia, China, Armenia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, and Mexico. For the first time scholarship recipients also attended a separate orientation/introductory session developed in response to a suggestion by scholarship recipients at the 2012 SMDM European meeting.

The group discussed opportunities for joint research projects and developing a Google Spreadsheet tool as a means for members to communicate about potential research collaboration ideas. One idea is to conduct research on how medical decisions are made in low and middle-income countries. This tool is now posted and available for use at Note that there are two tabs: “Collaborations Market” for general collaborations and “Guidelines Development Project”.

We also discussed that planning is underway for an Asian regional meeting to be held in Singapore in late 2013 or early 2014, with the hope that if this meeting is a success, future Asian meetings can be held bi-annually in the years when European meetings are not held. Anyone with an interest in getting involved in the planning for the Singapore meeting should get in touch with Jeremy Goldhaber-Fiebert, PhD, at or Anurban Basu, PhD, at

International Travel Scholarship Program

The International Travel Scholarship Program has grown to be a leading component of SMDM’s Global Health activities. The program was initiated at the 2010 annual meeting, when SMDM provided travel scholarships to 7 attendees from middle-income countries as a pilot program funded by a one-time grant. Since 2011, the program has been expanded to include applicants from both middle-income and low-income countries and has provided partial or full scholarships to approximately 12 individuals at each SMDM North American and European meeting. In order to maintain this program as a permanent part of the SMDM meetings, including the upcoming Asia meeting, we need your help in identifying and applying for funding from government, NGO, foundation, and corporate donors. If you have specific names of contacts you can introduce who might be interested in funding this program, please contact Bruce Schackman, PhD, at

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Other Meetings: UMIT

UMIT6-Day Certified Course “Winter School in Clinical Epidemiology”
January 28 - February 2, 2013

The Winter School in Clinical Epidemiology gives you a comprehensive overview of epidemiologic principles and methods to problems encountered in public health and clinical medicine. It provides important information for clinicians and health policy makers in order to identify risk factors for diseases and to determine optimal preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for individuals and populations. The course combines lectures, discussions and case study group work within its 6 days. Main lecturer of this course will be Prof. Albert Hofman, Professor of Epidemiology (Erasmus University), Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology (Harvard University). The Program covers subjects like public health areas and methodological approaches, key epidemiological concepts, determinants of disease, disease risk, etc.

4-Day Certificate Course “Introduction to Health Technology Assessment”
March 6-9, 2013
The workshop combines lectures, discussions, case study group work, and hands-on computer lab sessions in the key elements and methods of HTA and Decision Sciences and covers subjects like HTA key principles and practice, methods in biostatistics, clinical epidemiology and evidence-based medicine (EbM), patient-relevant outcome measures, critical study appraisal, etc.

Modeling Approaches for HTA: A Practical Hands-On Workshop
June 6-8, 2013

The workshop provides an overview on five different modeling techniques applied in Public Health with an emphasis on real world case examples from different acute and chronic diseases. The course covers subjects like modeling overview and taxonomy, decision trees, state-transition and Markov models, microsimulation models, Discrete event simulation models, etc. 

All courses will be held in Hall in Tyrol, Austria

For more information please have a look at

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The opinions stated in the following commentaries and solely those of the authors and do not reflect the opinions of the Society for Medical Decision Making.

Robert HammUnderstanding the Role of Affect in Decision Making - Alice Isen's Pivotal Contribution

by Robert M. Hamm, PhD, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine

Alice M. Isen, PhD, an SMDM member and a regular annual meeting attendee, died in February 2012. Her research was about the influence of affect (usually positive) upon rational thinking (often with reference to the judgment and decision making framework), and she frequently focused on medical decision making and problem solving. With the current resurgence in interest in the influence of emotions, affect, and the unconscious upon medical decision making, it is good to review work that has been done before.

Isen’s typical experimental method was to induce a positive affect by giving the research participants something. This might be a gift, commonly a small bag of candies, provided directly (Isen, Daubman, & Nowicki, 1987), or indirectly, such as arranging that participants would surreptitiously find money in a phone booth; following the gift, she would ask them a question (Isen & Levin, 1972). She had concluded, early on, that negative affect is different in many respects from positive affect, and the manipulations to induce negative affect trigger a variety of unique physiological mechanisms that have no counterpart with positive affect, so she focused on the effects of positive affect. In the 1980’s and probably later she would, with a little smile, hand out candies to the audience of her presentations at the American Psychological Association and other meetings, demonstrating the effect of such a small gift. You could hear the elevated mood in the room. Once, knowing she would be in the audience at a conference, I handed out small bags of candy; my point was that although she had amply demonstrated the effect of this, one did not see others copying her method. She said with a big smile, confirming my point, that it was the first time she’d ever been on the receiving end of gifts made in this way. This is not to say that her work was unnoticed: 5 of her articles are said by Google Scholar to have had over 1,000 citations.

Alice IsenShe explored the effects of this induced positive affect on decision making (Isen, 1993) and problem solving (Isen, Rosenzweig, & Young, 1991) in general, and on particular components of the rational reasoning process. Receipt of that small gift influences various components of the expectancy valence motivational process (Erez & Isen, 2002), which means it might help patients do health behaviors (Charlson et al., 2007). Physicians who feel good seem to think better: their problem solving is more creative (Estrada, Isen, & Young, 1994; Isen et al., 1987), probably due to broader access to associated ideas in memory (Isen, Johnson, Mertz, & Robinson, 1985; Isen, Shalker, Clark, & Karp, 1978); they integrate diverse information better (Estrada, Isen, & Young, 1997) and make better decisions and judgments (Isen & Labroo, 2003). Positive affect changes people’s attitude to taking risk (Isen & Geva, 1987; Isen, Nygren, & Ashby, 1988; Isen & Patrick, 1983), possibly through increasing their focus on avoiding negative outcomes (Nygren, Isen, Taylor, & Dulin, 1996).

Zeelenberg and colleagues (Zeelenberg, Nelissen, Breugelmans, & Pieters, 2008) have articulated the distinction between an affect or emotion being intrinsic to the situation or extrinsic, and shown that (with emotions at least) it makes a difference. The induction of affect through a small gift is clearly extrinsic to any of the tasks that Alice Isen studied. Does this make it irrelevant? The 1999 Psychological Review paper would suggest not (Ashby, Isen, & Turken, 1999): it proposes that positive affect increases brain levels of dopamine, in the anterior cingulate in particular, and hence could promote cognition in general even though the induction is irrelevant to the task.

Any researcher wishing to explore the role of affect or emotion on physician performance should certainly build on the work of Alice Isen and her many collaborators. Still to be explored: how could positive affect be induced in medical clinics? Would it habituate in a few minutes or hours? Could physicians “self reward” to induce positive affect when creative thinking is needed? Should patients bring physicians gifts? I’d like to see more research on these questions, particularly if we could get researchers to pass out candy to the audience again at SMDM meetings.

For more information and to see the references cited in this article, see

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Mark LiebowThe Election's Over:
What Happens Next?

by Mark Liebow, MD, MPH, Mayo Clinic
The American elections last November re-elected Barack Obama President, increased the size of the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, and reduced the size of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. The biggest implication for health policy is that the Affordable Care Act, including the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), will be fully implemented, though many House Republicans will try to diminish its full effects where they can. Fortunately, PCORI has a funding stream that is defined by law and not subject to annual appropriations. Since there was no “Grand Bargain” in the lame-duck session of Congress, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security have not been cut (for now). Congress put off for two months the sharp drop in appropriations from the "sequester" (2% reduction for Medicare and up to 10% for domestic annual appropriation programs, such as the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) and also delayed for one year the 27.5% cut in physician fees for services to Medicare beneficiaries.

Beside the return of the "sequester" cuts in March, the continuing resolution that funds U.S. government operations also runs out in March. At that time, Congress will face major decisions about appropriations. If we end up with significant cuts, especially of this magnitude, the research community will suffer: researchers will find it even more difficult to obtain continuation funding for active grants or to fund new projects. The Medicare cuts, if they occur in 2014, would hurt academic medical centers badly, making it far less likely that they would be able to continue supporting researchers out of practice revenues. Since the new Congress has an even bigger ideological divide between Democrats and Republicans, we may observe at least as much gridlock as we did before. Organizations far larger than SMDM will be fighting these cuts, but it never hurts to call your Senators or Representative and urge them not to cut spending on medical care and medical research.

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Brian Zikmund-FisherAnnouncing
A Free, Tailorable, and Embeddable Generator of Icon Array Risk Graphics

By Brian Zikmund-Fisher, PhD, University of Michigan School of Public Health

Last October at the SMDM meeting in Phoenix, I had the pleasure of announcing a new way to create state-of-the-art risk graphics: is a free, online generator of icon array graphics that is a joint project of the University of Michigan Risk Science Center and the UM Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine. You can use it to make icon array graphics that are tailored to meet your particular needs. You can even download the images in either web- or publication-quality resolution. allows you to vary:
  • the level of risk shown (%)
  • the number of risks shown (up to 4 simultaneously)
  • the type of icon (blocks, ovals, or different types of person icons)
  • the colors used to represent events and non-events
  • titles
  • axis labels
  • icon size and spacing
  • icon matrix layout
  • legend text
  • and more….
Moreover, we realize that many potential uses for icon arrays involve dynamic, web-based applications that will need different displays for each individual user. Thus, we are pleased to announce that we are providing embeddable code that allows developers to “drop in” an icon array by remotely calling the generator. enables you to embed icon arrays as easily as you embed YouTube videos.

Are icon arrays right for every risk communication context? Certainly not. But they are an evidence-based standard that deserves broader use in many types of applications, ranging from online risk calculators to patient decision aids to educational curricula to improve numeracy and statistical literacy abilities.

Unfortunately, people won’t use icon arrays if they don’t know about them.

So let’s spread the word.

Icon Array

Portions of this article were included in a blog posting on on October 25, 2012.

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Other News


Member News

Recent publications of Anirban Basu, PhD, include: Basu A. Patient-centered or “central” patient: Raising the veil of ignorance over randomization. Statistics in Medicine (Commentary) 2012; 31: 3054-3056; Basu A, Manca A. Regression estimators for generic health-related quality of life and quality-adjusted life-years. Medical Decision Making 2012; 32(1):56-69; Basu A, Kee RA, Buchanan D, Sadowski LS. Comparative cost analysis of housing and case management program for chronically ill homeless adults compared to usual care. Health Services Research 2012; 47(1pt2): 523-543; Basu A, Meltzer D. Private manufacturers’ thresholds to invest in comparative effectiveness trials. PharmacoEconomics  2012; 30(10): 859-868.

Kee Chan, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Sciences, Boston University, presented the research seminar “Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of New Medication for Hepatitis C Infections in the Veterans Healthcare System" at the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) on December 6, 2012. Major conclusions from her decision-analytic Markov model helped stakeholders at the Veterans Affairs Department consider new medication for Hepatitis C patients at the VA. The event was hosted by Dr. Negin Hajizadeh. Dr. Chan received support from AHRQ/SMDM travel award funds. More about Dr. Kee Chan's research can be found on

Krishnaj Gourab, MD, received international acclaim for his research into the supraspinal control of human voluntary movement. His manuscript titled “EEG during pedaling: Evidence for cortical control of locomotor tasks” drew praise from the editors of Clinical Neurophysiology, the official Journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. Regarding his successful measurement of human brain potentials during a locomotor-like movement, the editors noted “...It is not a surprise that it has taken so long before a group was able to achieve this feat... ”.  During the same year that this paper was published, Dr. Gourab’s work was also presented at national meetings of the American Medical Informatics Association (“Training Tool for Prospective Clinical Thinking Using a Continuously Updated Customizable Digital Database of Associations”) and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (“Fatal Hemorrhage from Inferior Vena Cava Perforation by a Retrievable IVC Filter in a Patient on Enoxaparin”). His work represents the true spirit of the SMDM in integrating information from diverse fields of clinical medicine and research into the matrix of medical decision making.

In 2007, Jeffrey S. Hoch, PhD, received a five-year grant to develop and direct a Pharmacoeconomics Research Unit at Cancer Care Ontario, the Ontario’s government’s oncology advisor.  After a successful review, Cancer Care Ontario has decided to renew the Pharmacoeconomics Research Unit.  The Unit is now Canada’s largest independently run Pharmacoeconomics Research Unit providing assistance with economic evaluation for policy advisors and decision makers.

France Légaré, MD, PhD, CCFP, FCFP,  Universite Laval, received the 2012 Excellence Award in Research and Publication from the College of Family Physicians of Quebec.

The Service Delivery Innovation Profile: Online Tutorial and Interactive Workshop Support Physicians in Employing Shared Decisionmaking With Patients, Reducing Antibiotic Use for Acute Respiratory Infections, developed by France Légaré and Michel Labrecque appeared in the November 21, 2012, issue of the AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange.

Congratulations to Ingrid Nota, MSc, University of Twente, on the birth of her son, Marcus, born September 8, 2012.

Eric Nsiah-Boateng, MPH, Bsc, National Health Insurance Scheme, Ghana, West Africa, has received an award from the Lions Club Maastricth to pursue a 1-year MSc Public Policy and Human Development program at Maastrict Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht University, Netherlands. This award is the first of its kind. “I believe the program will provide me with an in-depth knowledge of the institutions, processes and practices of contemporary government and policy making. After completion, I intend to use the knowledge, skills, and cultural experience gained to make meaningful and innovative contributions to the field of public policy through teaching, research and consultancy services.”

Daniel Polsky, PhD, MPP, has been named the new Executive Director of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania and the Robert D. Eilers Professor in Health Care Management and Economics at Penn Medicine.

The weekly health care newspaper of Norway, Dagens Medisin (Today’s Medicine) has published a list of the most influential politicians, managers and researchers in Norwegian health care. Candidate names were graded according to formal position, personal efforts(!), scientific reputation, network and mass media influence, and then ranked. One of this year’s SMDM European meeting co-chairs, Ivar Sonbo Kristiansen, MD, MPH, PhD, was ranked number 67. The influential SMDM member comments that such rankings should not be taken too seriously, but it was still fun to be among the 100 most influential. He says that his continuous engagement for cost-effectiveness thresholds is likely one important reason that he was considered to be among the top 100.

Seema Sonnad, PhD,  tells us that after 17 years as an academic faculty member, she has taken a new job at Christiana Care Health System as Director of Health Services Research for the newly established Value Institute there. The goal of the Value Institute is to bring rigorous methodology to balancing patients views of the value of care with measurable benefits and cost. The Institute will and design and evaluate solutions to the questions of care in the real world settings of health care delivery. The Value Institute has several positions open for researchers and research support team members at all levels. Contact if you are interested in hearing more, partnering with the Value Institute to implement your research in a population based setting, or looking for a new opportunity.

Johanna J. M. Takkenberg, MD, PhD, has been appointed Professor of Clinical Decision Making in Cardio-Thoracic Interventions at Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, as of November 1, 2012.

Christopher R. Wolfe, PhD, Miami University, and Valerie F. Reyna, PhD, Cornell University, have created a web-based intelligent tutoring system to help women learn about breast cancer and genetic risk. In addition to their presentation at the SMDM meeting, they presented technical aspects of their work to the Society for Computers in Psychology. A story about their project titled, "Professor, Students Study Complexities of Decision-making in Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer Risk" was also featured in

Student in the News

Derek Tang, PhD,
Advisor: Terri L. Warholak
Expected Graduation: 2013 May
Area: Pharmaceutical Economics, Policy, and Outcomes
Dissertation Title: "Incidence and Healthcare Resource Utilization in the Arizona Medicaid Elderly Population"
Presentation Title at SMDM Annual Meeting: "Assessing Healthcare Provider Satisfaction of Services Provided by the Arizona Regional Extension Center (REC): A Cross-Sectional Survey (2012)"
Position Seeking: industry; consulting firms; government
SMDM Mentor: David Sugano, PhD


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Lifetime Contributors

SMDM extends its heartfelt appreciation to members for their charitable contributions over the years. *

Pareto Level
(Contributions total $1,000 or more)
Michael Barry (’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10)
Dennis Fryback (’05, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12)
Mark Helfand (’05, ’07, ’10, ’11)
Joseph King (’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11)
William Lawrence (’06, ’10, ’11)
David Rovner & Margaret Holmes-Rovner (’05, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’11, ’12)
Uwe Siebert ('11)
Frank Sonnenberg (’06, ’09)
Hal Sox (’10, ’11)
Sankey Williams (’06, ’07, ’08)
John Wong (’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12)

Edwards Level
(Contributions total $750 - $999)
David Meltzer (’07, ’09)
Stephen Pauker (’06, ’09)
Marilyn Schapira (’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12)
Joel Tsevat (’06, ’09, ’10)

Tversky Level
(Contributions total $500 - $749)
Robert Beck (’07)
Scott Cantor & Lisa Stone (’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12)
Kate Christensen (’09)
Nananda Col (’05, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09)
Neal Dawson (’05, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12)
Kathryn McDonald (’07, ’09, ’10)
Jill Metcalf (’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12)
David Paltiel (’07, ’09)
Mark Roberts (’08, ’09)
Bruce Schackman (’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11)
Seema Sonnad (’06, ’07, ’09, ’12)

von Neumann-Morgenstern Level
(Contributions total $250 - $499)
Ahmed Bayoumi (’06, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12)
Dena Bravata (’06, ’09, ’10, ’11)
Randall Cebul (’06, ’08, ’10)
Mark Eckman (’06, ’09)
Arthur Elstein (’06, ’07, ’09, ’10)
Peder Halvorsen ('11, ’12)
Sara Knight (’05, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12)
Karen Kuntz (’09, ’11)
Steven Kymes (’05, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’12)
James Stahl (’06, ’09, ’10, ’12)
David Sugano (’07, ’09, ’10, ’11)

Markov Level
(Contributions total $100 - $249)
Dana Alden (’12)
Amber Barnato (’05, ’07, ’08, ’11, ’12)
Cathy Bradley (’07)
Scott Braithwaite (’09)
Linda Canty (’12)
Phaedra Corso (’06, ’07, ’08)
Elena Elkin (’07)
Alan Garber (’10)
Heather Taffet Gold (’08, ’11)
Robert Hamm (’06, ’08)
Myriam Hunink (’05, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12)
Esther Kaufmann ('11)
Miriam Kuppermann (’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’12)
Curtis Langlotz (’12)
Lisa Maillart (’10)
Richard Orr (’05, ’06)
Brian Rittenhouse (’07)
Allison Rosen (’07)
Alan Schwartz (’07, ’10, ’12)
Joanne Sutherland (’08, ’09)
Thomas Tape (’10, ’11)
John Thornbury (’05)
George Torrance (’05)
Jef Van den Ende (’10)
Robert Wigton (’10, ’11)
Brian Zikmund-Fisher (’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12)

Bayes Level
(Contributions total up to $100)
Hilary Bekker (’12)
Eran Bendavid (’11)
Denise Bijlenga (’08)
Kimberly Blake (’09)
Rowland Chang (’06, ’07)
Carmel Crock (’09)
James Dolan (’09)
Arna Dresser (’10, ’12)
Ted Ganiats (’05)
Lee Green (’07, ’09)
Amit Gupta (’06)
Michael Hagen (’10)
David Howard (’09)
David Katz (’08)
Job Kievit (’09)
Kerry Kilbridge (’05, ’07, ’08)
Sun-Young Kim (’07, ’08, ’09)
Ivar Sonbo Kristiansen (’10)
Joseph Ladapo (’12)
Andrew Scott LaJoie (’10)
Andreas Maetzel (’09)
Daniel Masica (’08)
Evan Myers (’12)
Thomas B. Newman (’10)
Jesse D. Ortendahl ('11)
Jane Pai ('10)
George Papadopoulos (’08)
Lisa Prosser (’08)
Michael Rothberg (’09, ’10, ’11, ’12)
Gillian Sanders (’07)
Jha Saurabh (’09)
Ewout Steyerberg (’06, ’09, ’11)
Anne Stiggelbout (’06)
Carol Stockman (’05)
Danielle Timmermans (’07)
Hugues Vaillancourt (’11)
Milton Weinstein (’09, ’11)
Robert Werner (’08)

*Donations received October 2005 – December 19, 2012

Bold indicates a new donor or a donor who has advanced their level of recognition in 2012.

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