Better Health through Better Decisions
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From the Editor

by Dana Alden, PhD, The University of Hawai`i
Days are getting shorter and the air in the northern latitudes a bit crisper. These changes can only mean one thing. Fall is here and, with the changing season, our upcoming 2016 SMDM Annual Meeting in beautiful Vancouver! The articles and news items in this edition of the newsletter will get you in an SMDM mood as you travel to the meeting. So … connect through your airplane’s wi-fi, sit back, and enjoy. Here’s a preview of your SMDM Fall Newsletter’s contents.

In his final president’s letter, Mark Helfand challenges all of us to supplement the Board’s leadership with bottom up innovation regarding future Society directions and projects. In that positive spirit, Mark continues his compelling discussion of the important roles that SMDM can play, not only on the educational and testing fronts, but also in terms of increasing public engagement regarding the development of value-based models and frameworks. And, he invites interested members to contact him via email or chat with him in Vancouver.

In the Commentary section, you’ll find several interesting articles. David Matchar discusses an exciting initiative underway at the Health Systems Design Lab, Duke-NUS Medical School. The project applies Systems Dynamic (SD) modeling to redesign delivery of primary care services in Singapore. In the winter, 2017 issue, we will provide a website link to the project with examples and references relevant to SD modeling. Next, it’s clear that Olga Kostopoulou still has an abundance of energy after Chairing SMDM’s 16th Biennial European Conference in London last summer. Olga’s commentary describes the launch of a new MSc in Patient Safety at Imperial College London and her role as the head of the Decision Making module.  

The third article, written by Robert Beck, pays a well-deserved tribute to longtime SMDM member and active supporter, John R. Clarke. I’m sure you’ll agree that John’s scholarly and professional achievements, coupled with his service to the field and generous endowment of the SMDM Young Investigator Award, are well-worth celebrating. Brian Zikmund-Fisher’s commentary describes a great new opportunity for all of us that helps translate our studies into action through short essays published in MDM. Finally, as the U.S. political season shifts into high gear, our own Mark Liebow provides an update on what the continued gridlock in Congress means for organizations such as NIH. We’re looking forward to Mark’s post-election analysis of how the results will impact research on medical decision making.

Following important information about the upcoming Annual Meeting, you’ll find the names and photos of our newly elected Board of Trustee Officers: President-Elect: Uwe Siebert; Vice-President Elect: James Stahl; Secretary-Treasurer Elect: Natasha Stout; and Trustees - Hilary Bekker, Eva Enns, Ellen Lipstein. This year’s award winners are also listed: Eugene Saenger Award – Marilyn M. Schapira; John M. Eisenberg Award – Ewout W. Steyerberg; Career Achievement Award – Ivar S. Kristiansen; and Young Investigator Award – Ankur Pandya. Feel free to introduce yourself and congratulate our new Trustee Officers and Award Winners at the meeting. They’re all as friendly as they are accomplished!

Thereafter, Society News features the latest on the educational and career achievements of your fellow SMDM members and colleagues; job postings; student news; and recognition of SMDM members whose generous contributions allow our Society to make a difference, for example, by providing travel support to medical decision researchers from lower income countries.

Many thanks to our newsletter Commentary authors and other contributors! Your insightful and interesting articles are central to producing a high quality newsletter. If you’d like to have your Commentary or other news item published, please email me. The deadline for the next Newsletter is December 14th. We’ll do whatever we can to assist.

I’d like to close by thanking Ellen Engelhardt, who will join the SMDM Newsletter editorial team as our new Deputy Editor starting with the winter, 2017 issue. Welcome Ellen! If you’d like to join us, we’re happy to tell you more about what is involved. Feel free to me at for more information.
Well … that’s about it. Time to start packing and heading west to Vancouver (or east if you’re traveling from the Asia Pacific Region!). Aloha kakou.


Farewell Message, by Mark Helfand 

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From the President

by Mark Helfand, MD, MPH, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Oregon Health & Science University

In the past, outgoing presidents have used their last Newsletter column to thank people, talk about the achievements of the past year, share their anxiety about the future of the Society, laud efforts at strategic planning, encourage more outreach, plug the upcoming annual meeting or their presidential address, and reminiscence about memorable SMDM experiences. To the best of my knowledge, though, none of the presidents have expressed the wish that they could stay on as president for another year.
I also don’t think any of them have specifically thanked our newsletter editors over the years. The archives of the newsletter tell a captivating story of the Society’s ambitions and growing pains. There are even a few prophecies, dire and grandiose, that didn’t come to pass. There is honest, provocative self-examination. The archive should be required reading for new board members, new presidents, and anyone else who thinks the ideas they bring to the table are new.

One of the ideas I thought was mine, but wasn’t, is that ideas for initiatives at SMDM should come from the members, not just the board. I would like to see us invite members to put forward innovative ideas (for health care, not for the society per se) and get the leadership and our fundraising apparatus behind them. Along with this strategy, I’d look for us to try to convince foundations and other donors to support ideas. This is because having to pitch ideas, write them up, propose staffing for them, and define administrative responsibility for carrying them out turns ideas into plans, sharpens them, and ensures that someone besides our Board has a stake in them. Also, the money.

Which brings me back to the term of the president and executive committee members. Our board model is a classic one lifted from many other professional societies, but it has not worked very well for us. Commitments rise and fall as the individuals who championed them come, preside for a year, and then go. For example, some newsletters mention “five-year” strategic plans for a year or two but not again. Some discuss clouds facing the society’s future, but subsequent newsletters don’t say whether they burst or evaporated.

Our board model means constant turnover in the executive, so a good deal of the finite time and energy we have to bring to the table is expended on handoffs. I haven’t committed to a specific solution, but I think a dedicated leader that stayed in place for a term of 3 or 4 years could accomplish wonders.

UPDATE on “Value”  

In my last column (Summer, 2016), I discussed how SMDM might contribute to the public discussion about “value models,” “value based payment,” or “value pricing”. I want to thank the many people who responded to my invitation to email me their views. I invite more of you to do so.

As the list of organizations that are engaging this issue has continued to grow, so has my conviction that SMDM has several important roles to play. In the last column, I suggested we critique the frameworks from a methodological viewpoint. Recent developments suggest we also have a role to play in education and testing.

At the end of September, 2016, for example, the National Pharmaceutical Council held a conference on “Assessing Value: Promise and Pitfalls.” A few impressions. First, there is an urgent need for education about decision making as it relates to these models. Some participants used terms like “new”, “experimental”, and “fledgling” to describe value frameworks. Some participants demonstrated little or no interest in what has been done before, particularly in countries outside the US. The current crop of value models seems destined to start where other initiatives started, rather than learning the lessons they learned over time. (See, for example, the lecture about Ontario’s Decision Determinants Framework from past SMDM president Murray Krahn).

Speakers representing patients and health plans spoke of the lack of knowledge and understanding in their own organizations as a major problem for them. This point was made of pharmacists and patient advocates, and I suspect it is a problem for other stakeholder groups as well. There is both a learning opportunity and a teaching opportunity for SMDM here. One patient advocate said “I don’t know how you as a patient use a number to make a decision about your care”. It was clear from another advocate’s comments that a term like “willingness to pay” is a virtual lock to get the discussion off track. There was also a specific call to bring attention to the fact that offer advantages to pharmaceutical companies.

Second, while the problem of weak evidence, especially about long-term effects, was widely acknowledged, the more uncomfortable problem of uncertainty wasn’t. Buxton’s law was invoked, knowingly and unknowingly, at various times. There was general approbation for updating technology assessments continuously and for a national program to collect observational data about new drugs (the US FDA is proposing such a program, which they are calling EvGen). Better, faster data collection is hard to disagree with, but the discussions didn’t come to grips with the issue of what to do when we don’t have it.

The question that came out of this is, can modeling do better at picking winners than anything else? Although we know modeling can’t consider everything relevant to a decision, can it take account of bits of information that “evidence-based medicine” may overlook, and do a better job of predicting what is likely to work out in the long run and what is likely to fizzle? At a minimum, can we devise and apply a method to test the models, not on how they describe the current state of evidence, but on how sensitive they are to unforeseen, longer-term outcomes, both good and bad?

Finally, we have our work cut out for us with respect to defining public values for decision making. In last Fall’s president’s column, Ahmed Bayoumi described the “engagement” objective in SMDM’s new strategic plan as a return to our roots. In 1979, for example, when I started medical school, Steve Pauker, Barbara McNeil, and others in SMDM brought attention to the sensitivity of medical decisions to patients’ preferences, if only we would bother to ascertain them. That principle is now widely accepted. But we are not so far along in applying the concept of engagement to the issue value-based pricing. As Ahmed explained, “public” engagement and “patient” engagement are distinct processes. In the US value frameworks debate, various sectors of the health care industry are aligned with various patient advocacy groups, but the concept or role of public engagement has not yet broken through the political debate.  

I am still looking for volunteers to join a group that can comment on proposed models from an independent, methodologic viewpoint. Email your ideas to me at or find me at the annual meeting Vancouver, BC later this month.

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

Health Systems Modeling in Singapore 

by David Matchar, MD

Decision modeling provides a vehicle for thinking systematically about complex decisions in health care. Beyond its role in prescriptive decision making, modeling has proved an excellent vehicle for promoting “conscious awareness” in healthcare decisions, focusing attention on the role of decision maker, and facilitating the development of tools to support informed decisions.

A natural extension of using modeling for individual care decisions is to apply modeling to the policy process. The policy context presents unique challenges to traditional decision models, which have led to alternative modeling forms such as System Dynamics (SD). Technically, SD models are differential equation models, usually representing phenomena at an aggregate level (“stocks and flows” in SD parlance). Three features of SD that appeal in the policy context are: (1) a “systems” perspective, recognizing that decisions are embedded in a complex environment; (2) tools designed to accommodate not only direct effects of decisions, but also indirect effects emerging from time delays, accumulations, and feedback loops; and (3) attention to the needs of multiple and varied stakeholders.

Examples of applications of SD in healthcare policy are increasingly common. Our Health Systems Design Lab at Duke-NUS Medical School is applying SD to the redesign of primary care services in Singapore. Developed when the population was young, Singapore’s health system has focused on acute care services. Now, with one of the most rapidly aging populations in the world, this system is coming under stress, with increased volumes in the ED, hospitals, and specialty clinics. The policy concern is how to shift the balance of services towards community and primary care services.  

The challenge is suited to the methods of SD. First, policy will affect the entire healthcare ecosystem including acute hospitals, community hospitals (responsible for rehabilitation and transitional services), and social services. Second, a successful primary care sector will impact progression of chronic conditions, disability, and mortality, which will have feedback effects. Third, the stakeholders in any plan for change include individuals, general practitioners, the 6 public regional health systems (RHSs), and government policy makers. Changes will influence annual government and RHS budgets, out of pocket expenses, and the formal and informal workforce.

Thus, with the tools of SD we have initiated a dialogue with 50 stakeholders, engaging them in a group model building exercise to articulate known and hypothesized causal relationships between potential policy actions and outcomes. The resulting dynamic health system simulation model now provides the coherent foundation for data collection, further dialogue, and collaborative implementation of promising solutions.

Editor’s Note:  A website describing the project is currently under construction. Please look for updates in you next SMDM Newsletter.  

David Matchar, MD is Professor and Director, Program in Health Services and Systems Research, Duke-NUS Medical School Singapore and Co-Director, SingHealth/Duke-NUS Health Services Research Institute. He can be reached at  or on the Web at

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


New MSc in Patient Safety Offered by Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London 

by Olga Kostopoulou, PhD

Increasing complexity in the organization of healthcare, the morbidity of patients, and the evidence underpinning treatments simultaneously increases effectiveness but also increases threats to patient safety. The Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London has just launched a new MSc in Patient Safety to run in 2016/18. The program is organized over 2 years part-time, and is specifically targeting healthcare professionals, and those working in health policy and healthcare management.

Students can obtain a postgraduate diploma (PG Dip) and a postgraduate certificate (PG Cert) in Patient Safety by completing specific modules of the Masters program. To obtain a Masters, students need to conduct a research project.

Core modules include: Research Methods, Health Systems in Developed and Developing countries, Innovation, Decision Making, Human Factors, and Leadership, amongst others. I lead the module on Decision Making that runs in year 2, and includes topics such as: decision psychology, risk perception/communication, diagnosis and diagnostic support, and relevant research methods. The teaching is delivered by our decision making team, as well as some guest stars from SMDM!

The deadline for applications for a 2016 start has now passed, however, we will be advertising the course for next year’s intake in early 2017. Watch this space!

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


SMDM Profile in Philanthropy:
John R. Clarke, MD

by J. Robert Beck, MD

John R. Clarke, MD, is an original member of the Society for Medical Decision Making, having attended the inaugural meeting in Cincinnati in 1979. John chaired the Scientific Program Committee for the 1984 Annual Meeting in Bethesda, and has served the Society as Trustee, Secretary-Treasurer, and Vice-President. John was critically important to the stewardship of SMDM’s finances in its early years. He received the Society’s Eugene Saenger Distinguished Service Award in 1998, and has continued to play an active role on committees. He’s only missed one North American meeting, to my knowledge.

Dr. Clarke is Professor of Surgery, Emeritus, at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. Over a nearly 40-year career John was a pioneering trauma surgeon, surgical critical care specialist, and director of a Level 1 Trauma Center. From the outset he focused his research on the effective delivery of surgical care. He won the quadrennial Samuel Gross Prize of the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery for surgical research by an American citizen in 1983, and followed that with a sabbatical to the University of Leeds to work with the eminent surgical informatician, F. T. “Tim” deDombal. Over 16 years at what is now Drexel’s College of Medicine, and as an adjunct professor of computer science at the University of Pennsylvania, John worked on TraumAID, a federally funded application of decision science and informatics to the management of trauma resuscitation. Among the results of this project were techniques for real-time quality assurance, integration of diverse practice guidelines, and combining physiological and anatomic information into three-dimensional virtual reality representations. John’s CV lists over 130 publications in the fields of surgical informatics and decision making.

As a safety expert Dr. Clarke was a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Patient Safety Data Standards. Their work formed the basis of the U.S. Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005, which established a network of Patient Safety Organizations. John became the first Clinical Director of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, and has served on multiple regional and national commissions and committees in this critical area.

John Clarke has provided funding to the Society to support and now to endow the Young Investigator Award for the best yearly published paper by a trainee or junior faculty member. Nominations for this award are solicited and reviewed by the Society’s Awards Committee, and since 1999 the winning articles have come from, in addition to Medical Decision Making, such periodicals as BMJ, the Annals of Internal Medicine, Journal of Health Economics, Medical Care, and the Journal of Experimental Psychology. According to John, “The purpose of singling out SMDM for philanthropy was to pay [the Society] back for the many opportunities, and friendships, it created for me on my academic journey in what was originally a terra incognita of clinical research.”

On behalf of the Society and its Board of Trustees, thank you, John, for your generosity in supporting the career advancement of young scholars in medical decision making.

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


Share Your “Stories of MDM”!

by Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher, PhD

If you’re like me, one of the things you most look forward to is receiving the Table of Contents from one of our society’s journals, Medical Decision Making, in your email inbox.

In the last issue, you may have seen a new web-only essay by former SMDM President Mark Roberts titled “It Only Takes One” [link]. I hope you had a chance to read it.

What’s a Story of MDM?

Stories of MDM are short essays (about 1200 words) that explain the real-world problems that have been addressed by MDM research. They describe in concrete terms how such research has resulted in changes to the practice of medicine, health policy, and/or outcomes for individuals or groups of patients.

Each story is written for a broader audience and is ideally clear enough that an interested general clinician, a relatively medically-literate patient, a health journalist, and/or a legislative staff member could understand both the point of the MDM research and why it resulted in important outcomes.


Past Stories

Thus far, MDM has published 3 Stories of MDM:
  • Mark Roberts’ story [link:] of how he found out that one of his earliest modeling papers (on whether patients with diabetes should have asymptomatic gallstones removed) actually influenced a patient’s treatment;
  • Mary Politi’s story [link:] shared how she became so interested in helping both patient and clinicians talk about and deal with uncertainty;
  • I shared my own story [link:] of how a single meeting with a breast cancer clinician led to a series of papers on making adjuvant therapy decisions easier for patients.

It’s Your Turn!

We remain interested in publishing more Stories of MDM in future issues. In fact, if you are at the SMDM North American Annual Meeting in a few weeks in Vancouver and you see me walking around, be warned: I will be gently encouraging everyone I meet to consider writing a Stories of MDM submission!

Remember, we’re looking for two kinds of stories:
  1. Personal stories written by MDM researchers themselves of their research journeys.
  2. Key stories of senior MDM researchers as shared with more junior researchers or trainees. (These essays would be co-authored.)
So, even if you don’t have time to write it all yourself, you may be able to collaborate in getting the story told.

Our society makes a difference in the world, every day. It’s time we shared those stories more broadly.  I hope you’ll help.

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

U.S. Congress in Deadlock: Stable Funding Likely

by Mark Liebow, MD, MPH

As this is being written, the U.S. government is drifting toward a shutdown, something you would barely hear, given the attention being paid to the Clinton-Trump election. Current appropriations are due to run out September 30. However, by the time you read this, it is likely Congress will have passed a continuing resolution keeping program expenditures at the same level through early December. None of the appropriations bills have passed in either the House or Senate, so the resolution is almost certain to continue current funding. This is bad for the NIH, as bills that were working their way through the appropriations process in both Houses would have increased the NIH budget by over a billion dollars. Conversely, programs that might have faced a cut, such as AHRQ will get at least a temporary reprieve. 

However, agencies that are funded by a continuing resolution often pay out grants or contracts at less than their full amount as they cannot be sure their final budget will be the same or more than the previous year. This can cause investigators cash flow problems.

Congress will be out of session for October and the first two weeks of November, but will have a lame-duck session for the rest of 2016. These are notoriously unpredictable as retiring or defeated legislators are still in office. 

In the next issue, I will look at the results of the election and try to forecast what the next President and Congress will do with medical research and health care funding.

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Career Development Opportunities at the 2016 Annual Meeting

The SMDM Career Development Committee is excited to offer a range of career development activities. Be on the lookout for more announcements in the upcoming months!


One-to-One Mentoring Program Sign-up

The Career Development Committee facilitates the matching of mentees to mentors based on research interests. It is a great opportunity for students, trainees, junior faculty, and new members of SMDM to meet individually and informally with long-standing members of the Society. Online registration for mentors to the One-to-One Mentoring at this year’s Annual Meeting will open this month! Contact information for matched mentors and mentees will be sent prior to the conference.

For more information please contact Fernando Alarid-Escudero (, Hailey Saunders ( or Austin Nam (

Trainee Luncheon

This is a wonderful opportunity for trainees (graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and clinical fellows) attending the meeting to meet and talk informally with each other and with senior members of the Society. The lunch is held on the first day of the meeting so that these conversations can continue over the course of the meeting. You can sign up for the trainee lunch with conference registration for an extra fee. The trainee lunch will include a new feature this year. Trainees will have the opportunity for speed mentoring. Attendees will meet with mentors in small groups and will speak with mentors and with each other for set periods of time. Mentors will be available to share career development advice or discuss research interests. The purpose of this event is to establish new networks of colleagues. This is an excellent opportunity for attendees to initiate a discussion with experts and others with similar interests.

For more information please contact Fernando Alarid-Escudero (, Hailey Saunders ( or Austin Nam (

Call for CVs and Job Announcements!

If you are on the job market or have a job announcement, we welcome your submission to the Annual Meeting’s CV/Job book. The book will be available for prospective job seekers and employers at the meeting and will also be emailed electronically one week before the conference to all conference attendees. 

For more information please contact David Chartash ( or Beate Sander (

Dinners with Experts

Continue your career development over dinner! We invite you to attend informal group dinners hosted by senior members of the Society. Many of the dinners will be topical to career development issues. Dining opportunities are planned for Sunday, October 23rd and Tuesday, October 25th. All meeting attendees are invited to sign up. The dinners are self-pay.  Be on the lookout for dinner options and sign-up information prior to the conference.

For more information please contact Praveen Thokala (, Logan Trenaman ( or Sarah Munro (

Career Development Panel: Training in medical decision-making

What should you consider when deciding to pursue graduate studies in medical decision-making? How should you choose a thesis topic and supervisor? What are your options for employment? What are the opportunities for bridging core MDM areas? In this year’s career panel discussion, SMDM experts will share their insights on training in medical decision-making. Introductions from panelists will be followed by a question and answer session. Panelists will discuss MDM training in the context of the entire career trajectory. The viewpoint of clinician and non-clinician experts in a range of core MDM areas will be represented.

For more information please contact Ava John-Baptiste ( or Shiyi Wang (

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38th Annual North American Meeting 

Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, BC, Canada
October 23 - 26, 2016
From Uncertainty to Action

Register for the Meeting Today!
The 38th annual SMDM meeting offers researchers, clinicians, and provincial, state, and national health authorities the opportunity to exchange insights, tools, and new challenges in moving from uncertainty to action

Keynote: How to Make Medical Research Both Credible and Useful 

John P.A. Ioannidis, MD, DSc 
Stanford University 
C.F. Rehnborg Professor in Disease Prevention in the School of Medicine and Professor of Health Research and Policy (Epidemiology) and, By Courtesy, of Statistics

SMDM is excited to welcome John P.A. Ioannidis, MD, DSc, as the Keynote Speaker for the 38th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Empirical evidence from many areas of biomedical research suggests that the majority of published results are either false-positives or exaggerated effects. Moreover, even among the most accurate results, the majority of them are not useful and do not affect patient outcomes. Many research practices and solutions have been proposed to improve the credibility of biomedical research. Additional solutions are needed to also make research useful. The talk will examine the evidence, pros and cons of different solutions.

The Keynote will be presented on Monday, October 24, 2016, from 8:45 AM - 9:45 AM, at the Stanley Park Ballroom, at the Westin Bayshore Vancouver Hotel.

Special Thanks to our Meeting Chairs

Meeting Co-Chairs: Mark Helfand, MD, MPH and Nick Bansback, PhD
Scientific Review Commitee Co-Chairs: Laura Scherer, PhD and Feng Xie, PhD
Short Course Co-Chairs: Elisabeth Fenwick, PhD, MSc and David Whitehurst, PhD, MSc
Awards Commitee Chair: John Wong, MD
Lee B. Lusted Student Abstract Co-Chairs: Ankur Pandya, PhD and Eva Enns, MS
Career Development Committee Co-Chairs: Ava John-Baptiste, PhD and Fernando Alarid-Escudero, MSc
Women in SMDM Chair: Angie Fagerlin, PhD
Social Media Chair: Sarah Munro, PhD
International Networking Reception Chair: Anne Stiggelbout, PhD


Make Your Plans to Join us in Vancouver Today!

Register for the Meeting Now!

Scientific Program:

Agenda at a Glance:

Committee and Interest Group Meetings:

Entry Requirements to Canada:

Things to do In Vancouver:

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2016-2017 Officers and Trustees

Congratulations to the newly elected Officers and Trustees of the Society of Medical Decision Making! 

Pictured above top row from left to right:

President-Elect: Uwe Siebert, MD

Vice-President Elect: James Stahl, MD

Secretary-Treasurer Elect: Natasha Stout, PhD

Pictured above bottom row, from left to right:

Trustees: Hilary Bekker, PhD, Eva Enns, PhD, and Ellen Lipstein, MD

Thank you to everyone who voted and especially to those who were willing to serve. Your contributions make the Society stronger! Please feel free to reach out to our new slate of officers and trustees to welcome them and become more involved in the Society's activities.

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2016 SMDM Awards

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 SMDM Awards. 

Pictured above (top row, l to r): Ivar S. Kristiansen, Marilyn M. Schapira, (bottom row, l to r) Ewout W. Steyerberg and Ankur Pandya

The Career Achievement Award recognizes distinguished senior investigators who have made significant contributions to the field of medical decision making. The 2016 recipient is Ivar S. Kristiansen, MD, MPH.
The Eugene Saenger Award for Distinguished Service 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 2016 recipient is Marilyn M. Schapira, MD, MPH.
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 2016 recipient is Ewout W. Steyerberg, PhD.
The Young Investigator Award is presented annually for the best paper published by a trainee or junior faculty member. The 2016 recipient is Ankur Pandya, PhD.

These individuals will be honored at the upcoming meeting in Vancouver. Please join us in congratulating all the winners and thanking the Awards Committee for their work.

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Welcome Ellen Engelhardt
SMDM Deputy Editor

The SMDM Newsletter Committee is pleased to welcome Ellen Engelhardt as our new Deputy Editor! Her official duties will begin with the 2017 Winter Newsletter issue.

Ellen is a researcher at the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam. Her work focuses on assessing the clinical usefulness of decision support tools for palliative treatment decision-making in oncology.

She has a broad interest in the evaluation and development of prediction tools, and the use of such tools in clinical practice, especially in the context of shared decision making.

Ellen is very happy to be joining the newsletter team and making a more active contribution to the SMDM community. Learn more about Ellen on her linkedin page and help us to welcome her to the team!  

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The CDC Steven M. Teutsch Prevention Effectiveness Fellowship

A Two-Year Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Public Health Economics and Decision Analysis 

The Steven M. Teutsch Prevention Effectiveness (PE) Fellowship is a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship focusing on the application of quantitative methods to the science of health protection, health promotion, and disease prevention. The PE fellowship addresses an on-going demand in the field of public health for quantitative policy analysis, health economics-based inquiry, and integrative health services research. At CDC, prevention effectiveness research includes the use of econometric, decision, simulation, and operations analysis and modeling to understand; determinants of health, morbidity, mortality, and health inequalities; the cost of health care and preventive interventions; the burden of illnesses; the impact of regulations on population health; and ways to optimize expenditures for health services.


Applicants to the PE Fellowship must meet the following criteria:
Possess a doctoral degree in economics or applied economics, decision sciences, health services research or related health sciences, industrial engineering or operations research, public policy or policy analysis, applied mathematics or modeling, or a related quantitatively-oriented field. Be eligible to work in the US (citizen of the US, legal permanent resident, or eligible for a work authorization or visa that is valid for the duration of the program). The CDC will sponsor the Fellow’s H1B visa. Be willing to relocate to Atlanta, GA

How to Apply

Applications are accepted online at between September, 2016 and January, 2017.

For More Information

Adam G. Skelton, PhD, MPH
Lead, CDC Steven M. Teutsch Prevention Effectiveness Fellowship Program

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Recommendations of the Second Panel on Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine

Wednesday, December 7, 2016
National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC

The one-day conference will highlight the recommendations of the Second Panel, which will release its final report this Fall. It will feature a series of presentations from members of the Panel, as well as several discussion panels. The conference promises to be an exciting and memorable event, with many leaders in the field participating and in attendance.

Please see information on registering to attend below as well as a link for a live webcast of the event. For those planning to attend in person, we encourage you to register as spaces are limited.

Register to attend in person at
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In-person registration fee: $50
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Members in the News

The latest news from your fellow members:

Geri Lynn Baumblatt, MA, Emmi, recently published the chapter "Meeting Patients Where They Are: Using Multimedia and Interactive Voice Technology to Humanize Communication and Engage Patients" in the book: Transformative Healthcare Practice through Patient Engagement. The chapter includes information about multimedia decision aids.

A new multimedia decision aid program: Early-Stage Breast Cancer: Systemic Treatments was recently created by Emmi. Dr. Nananda Col advised on the program, which will be made available as part of the Emmi library to hundreds of hospitals, clinicians, and health plans. The program is prescribed to women, who can then view it at home before or between clinical encounters to better understand their treatment options, goals and preferences.

The multimedia decision aid: Prenatal Genetic Testing: Understanding Your Options EmmiDecide(R) program was certified by the Washington State Healthcare Authority (HCA). With a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, HCA worked with state and national stakeholders to develop a process to certify high quality patient decision aids for use by providers and their patients in Washington State. Washington State’s leadership in creating the decision aid certification process provides a model that other states can adopt. HCA began accepting patient decision aids for certification in April 2016.

Javier Mar, Clinical Management Service, Hospital Alto Deba, Mondragon, Spain, received the 2015 award for the best health economics paper by the Spanish Health Economics Association during the 2016 conference held in Murcia in June. (San Miguel R, Gimeno-Ballester V, Blázquez A, Mar J Cost-effectiveness analysis of sofosbuvir-based regimens for chronic hepatitis C. Gut. 2015 Aug;64(8):1277-88)

News from Kaleb Michaud, Phd, University of Nebraska Medical Center & National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases: As some SMDMers know, my spouse and I met at an MDM meeting in Chicago back in 2011. We're proud to announce the birth of our first child this year, and her initials are also MDM in honor of this fortuitous meeting. Thanks to all the membership for your passion in these important and often under-addressed topics and your openness and friendships. Happy to be members with such familial colleagues! 

In other news, I am the new recipient of the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals 2016 Distinguished Scholar Award to be presented in November in Washington, DC.

Marc A. Probst, MD, MS, Department of Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, was recently awarded a K23 career development grant from the NIH/NHLBI to study shared decision making in the care of syncope patients in the emergency department.

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Graduating SMDM Members

Extend congratulations to our most recent graduating members:


Cara McDermott
Degree / Graduation Date: 
PharmD, PhD, 6/1/2016
Area: Oncology, geriatrics, mental health
Advisor: Sean Sullivan
Dissertation Title: The Impact of Depression on Patient Outcomes among Older Adults with Lung Cancer
Position Seeking: Academic

Michal Horny
Degree / Graduation Date: PhD, 5/1/2017
Area: Health Services Research
Advisor: James F. Burgess, Jr., Ph.D.
Dissertation Title: Essays on Radiology Services Utilization in the United States
Position Seeking: Academic (research & teaching)

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 Job Postings

Here are the most recent job postings since our last newsletter. Stay up on the newest opportunities in the Resource Section of SMDM Connect


Assistant Professor of Health Administration - Univ. of Missouri-Kansas City
 Job Number 55440

Scientific Director/Faculty University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Observational Research Mgr-R-22453, Amgen

Observational Research Mgr-R-27392, Amgen Thousand Oaks

Cancer Prevention and Control Faculty Member - Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center

Assistant/Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Administration - Western University of Health Sciences College of Pharmacy

CDC Steven M. Teutsch Prevention Effectiveness Fellowship

University of Utah Department of Orthopaedics

University of Utah Division of Biostatistics Faculty Positions

University of Utah Dept. of Obstetrics & Gynecology Professor Positions

Postdoctoral Fellow - Washington University in St. Louis

Assistant or Associate Professor, University of Utah

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Program Officer, Science, Communication and Dissemination

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement (CEPI) Jobs Available


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SMDM Lifetime Contributors

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

Raiffa-Kahneman Circle 
(Contributions total $5,000 or more)
John Clarke ('13, '14, '16)
Jeremy Goldhaber-Fiebert ('13, '14)
Mark Helfand (‘05, ‘07, '10, '11)
Michael Kattan ('13 - '16)
Joseph King (‘06 - '15)
James Stahl, Stahl Family/Stahl Bioethics Foundation in honor of Dr. Eva Bamberger Stahl (‘06, ‘09, '10, '12, ‘15 - ‘16)

Pareto Level
(Contributions total $1,000 - $4,999)
Dana Alden ('12 - ‘16)
Michael Barry (‘06 - '10)
Ahmed Bayoumi (‘06, '08 - ‘16)
Dennis Fryback (‘05 -'16)

Murray Krahn ('13, '14)
William Lawrence (‘06, '10, '11, '13, ‘15)
Jill Metcalf (‘07 - '15)
David Rovner & Margaret Holmes-Rovner (‘05 - '15)
Bruce Schackman (‘06 -'15)
Marilyn Schapira (‘07 - '12, '14 - '16)
Uwe Siebert ('11, '13, '14)
Frank Sonnenberg (‘06, ‘09)
Harold and Carol Sox ('10 - '15)
Sankey Williams (‘06 - ‘08, '13, '14)
John Wong (‘06, - '13, ‘16)

Edwards Level
(Contributions total $750 - $999)
Scott Cantor & Lisa Stone (‘07 - '15) 
Neal Dawson (‘05 - '15)
Sara Knight (‘05 - '15)
David Meltzer ('07, '09)
Stephen Pauker (‘06, ‘09)
Mark Roberts (‘08, ‘09, '13, ‘15)
Seema Sonnad (‘06, ‘07, ‘09, '12 - '14)
Joel Tsevat (‘06, ‘09, '10)

Tversky Level
(Contributions total $500 - $749)
Anirban Basu ('13)
Robert Beck (‘07) 
Donald Brand ('13 - '15)
Kate Christensen (‘09)
Nananda Col (‘05 - ‘09)
Angela Fagerlin ('14 – ‘15)
Peder Halvorsen ('11 - '15)
Myriam Hunink (‘05 - '14, '16)
Steven Kymes (‘05 - ‘09, '12, '15)
Kathryn McDonald (‘07, '09, '10, '14, ‘15)
David Paltiel ('07, '09)
Alan Schwartz (‘07, '10 - '15)
David Sugano (‘07, ’09 – '11, '13)
Jef van den Ende (’10, '14)

von Neumann-Morgenstern Level
(Contributions total $250 - $499)
Amber Barnato (‘05, ‘07, '11, '12, '14)
Dena Bravata (‘06, ’09 -  '11)
Andy Briggs ('14)
Randall Cebul (‘06, ‘08, '10)
Mark Eckman (’06, ‘09)
Elena Elkin (‘07, '14)
Arthur Elstein (‘06, ‘07, ‘09, ‘10) 
Liz Fenwick ('14 – ‘16)
Heather Taffet Gold (‘08, '11, '14)
Don Husereau ('13)
Karen Kuntz (‘09, '11)
Miriam Kuppermann (‘06 - '10, '12, '14 - '16)
Thomas Tape ('10, '11, '14)
Robert Wigton ('10, '11, '14)

Markov Level
(Contributions total $100 - $249)
Cathy Bradley (‘07)
Scott Braithwaite (’09)
Linda Canty ('12)
Jag Chhatwal ('15)
Phaedra Corso (‘06, ‘07, ‘08)
Magdelena Flatscher-Thöni ('14)
Alan Garber ('10)
Robert Hamm (‘06, ‘08, '14)
Jeffrey Hoch ('16)
Joseph Johnston (’15)
Paal Joranger (‘14)
Esther Kaufmann ('11)
Sun-Young Kim (‘07, ‘08, ‘10, '13)
Joseph Ladapo ('12 - '15)
Curtis Langlotz ('12)
Lisa Maillart ('10)
Peter Neumann ('14 – ‘15)
Richard Orr (‘05, ‘06)
Jesse D. Ortendahl ('11, '12, '13)
Mary Politi ('14, ‘15)
Roy Poses ('14)
Brian Rittenhouse (‘07)
Ursula Rochau ('14)
Allison Rosen (‘07)
Ewout Steyerberg (‘06, ‘09, '11, '13, 16)
Natasha Stout ('14, '16)
Verena Stühlinger ('14)
Joanne Sutherland (‘08, ‘09)
John Thornbury (‘05)
George Torrance (‘05)
Benjavan Upatising ('13)
Milton Weinstein (‘09, '11, '16)
Brian Zikmund-Fisher (‘08 - '16)

Bayes Level
(Contributions total up to $100)
Jessica Ancker ('14)
Hilary Bekker ('12)
Eran Bendavid ('11)
Tanya Bentley ('14)
Denise Bijlenga (‘08)
Kimberly Blake (‘09)
Cindy Bryce ('14)
Rowland Chang (‘06, ‘07)
Carmel Crock (‘09)
James Dolan (‘09)
Arna Dresser ('10, 12, '14)
Rohan D'Sousa ('15)
Ted Ganiats (‘05)
Lee Green (‘07, ‘09)
Amit Gupta (‘06)
Michael Hagen ('10)
Negin Hajizadeh ('14)
Sarah Hawley ('14)
Kristin Hendrix ('14)
David Howard (‘09)
David Katz (’08)
Job Kievit (‘09)
Kerry Kilbridge (‘05, ‘07, ‘08)
April Kimmel ('14)
Sarah Kobrin ('14)
Ivar Sonbo Kristiansen ('10)
Andrew Scott LaJoie ('10)
Clara Lee ('15)
Sarah Lillie ('14 – ‘15)
Andreas Maetzel (‘09)
Daniel Masica (‘08)
Evan Myers ('12)
Thomas B. Newman ('10)
Jane Pai ('10)
George Papadopoulos (‘08)
Lisa Prosser (‘08)
Valeria Reyna ('14)
Michael Rothberg (‘09 - '12)
Gillian Sanders (‘07)
Jha Saurabh (‘09)
Karen Sepucha ('14)
Anne Stiggelbout (‘06)
Carol Stockman (‘05)
Danielle Timmermans (‘07)
Thomas Trikalinos (’15)
Hugues Vaillancourt ('11)
Erika Waters ('14)
Robert Werner (‘08)
Holly Witteman ('14, '16)
Eve Wittenberg ('14)
Theodore Yuo ('15)

Donations, including in-kind donations, received Oct. 2005 – October 2, 2016.
Bolded individuals made contributions in 2016. 
Italicized individuals moved up a level of giving in 2016.
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