HPI News


Associate Professor Christine Lu and HCSRN collaborators from the Mental Health Research Network provide important data regarding health care utilization differences in patients who die from suicide compared to the general population. https://bit.ly/31vq4qU 

New editorial article from HPI fellow Alessandra Ferrario, Muhammad Hamid Zaman, and Veronika Wirtz in BMJ Global Health on the need for system thinking and increased training for pharmacists in substandard and falsified medicines. https://bit.ly/2YkneqY

A new qualitative study from former fellow Christine Leopold, Anita Wagner, and colleagues investigated OOP considerations in the care delivery process and perspectives on value frameworks. https://bit.ly/2Z4s9t1

HPI fellow Alessandra Ferrario presented on uptake of WHO-listed essential cancer medicines in China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand at the 2019 iHEA World Congress on July 17th, 2019 in Basel, Switzerland.

In a recent qualitative study director, James Frank Wharam and authors Julie A. Schmittdiel, Cassondra J. Marhsall, Deanne Wiley, Christopher V. Chau, Connie M. Trinacty, O. Kendrick Duru, Andrew J. Karter, and Susan D. Brown found that diabetes patients identified numerous barriers to using potentially beneficial mail order pharmacy services. https://bit.ly/2Y77Ca0

New article from WBUR featuring HPI collaborator and DPM colleague Steven D. Pearson, Founder, and President of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review. https://wbur.fm/2RBsKQ1

In a new article Kristina Lewis, David Arterburn, Fang Zhang, Katherine Callaway, Jamie Wallace, Adolfo Fernandez, Dennis Ross-Degnan and James Frank Wharam found in a large claims-based data set that Roux-en-Y gastric bypass patients were more likely to come off diabetes medications than vertical sleeve gastrectomy patients. https://bit.ly/2WPzbQn 

A new study from HPI and PROMoTeR fellow Rachele Hendricks-Sturrup and Associate Professor, Christine Lu delves into the barriers and facilitators of the use of genetic testing for already underdiagnosed Familial Hypercholesterolemia.

HPI director, James Frank Wharam presented "High Out-of-pocket Costs for Medical Services in the United States: Effects on Health Care Use and Outcomes" on June 17th at the Fudan University School of Public Health, Medical Campus.

When investigating racial and ethnic differences in pulmonary subtypes and survival differences in a pediatric population investigator Mei-Sing Ong and colleagues found significant racial variability. https://t.co/PhQSCH3osv

Jim Sabin and Anita Wagner facilitated a session for more than 30 clinicians, attorneys, and other professionals at the 2019 Harvard Clinical Bioethics Course in early June. The invited session was a part of the Harvard Clinical Bioethics Course at Harvard Medical School and was entitled “Organizational Ethics and Health Policy: Strategies and Structure of an Organizational Ethics Committee."

On June 3rd HPI director James Frank Wharam gave a podium presentation at the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting entitled "Impact of High-Deductible Insurance on Breast Cancer Care Among Rural Women."

On May 13th HPI research fellow Alessandra Ferrario gave the opening presentation at the international workshop on risk-sharing agreements for health technologies in Brasília, Brazil organized by Ministry of Health of Brazil.

On May 30th Associate Professor Christine Lu presented at the Clinical Genome Resource and The DECIPHER Project, Curating the Clinical Genome Meeting. Her presentation was entitled "Economics of Variant Reinterpretation."

Rachele Hendricks-Sturrup HPI and PROMoTeR fellow presented "Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Current Events & Expectation of Privacy and Nondiscrimination" at the DPM Brown Bag on May 23rd.

James Frank Wharam presented at Ca-PRI 2019 about his collaborative work with Christine Lu, Larissa Nekhlyudov and Stephen Soumerai entitled "Impact of High-deductible Insurance on Breast Cancer Care among Rural Women."

A new article from Laura Karas, Christine Lu and Maryam Asgari, analyzes FDA approved orphan drugs used for rare dermatologic conditions and skin-related cancers since the enactment of the Orphan Drug Act of 1983, https://bit.ly/30Cbfn0

In a recent study HPI investigators Laura Faden Garabedian, Dennis Ross-Degnan, and James Frank Wharam evaluate the real-world uptake, use and predictors of a diabetes mHealth intervention that uses an FDA-approved mobile glucometer and nurse coaching, https://bit.ly/2HYfkZU.

Stephen Soumerai has a new opinion piece out with coauthor Kip Sullivan, https://bit.ly/2JQWXsq. 

James Frank Wharam presented at the SGIM in the Opening Plenary Session on "Impact of High-Deductible Insurance on Breast Cancer Care Among Rural Women." This study was also authored by Jamie Wallace, Christine Lu, Larissa Nekhlyudov, Stephen Soumerai, and Dennis Ross-Degnan.

A commentary from Christine Lu and Rachele Hendricks-Sturrup concludes that in today's world of unprecedented direct-to-consumer genetic testing more research is needed to identify concerns about expectations of privacy for health consumers, https://bit.ly/30a1Pi3

James Frank Wharam in the news! Check out this article about HDHP-associated delays in breast cancer care, https://bit.ly/2MFhAe6, and https://n.pr/2vdOfMC.

A new Viewpoint from our faculty Christine Lu and fellow Rachele Hendricks-Sturrup in JAMA regarding the need for ethically sound and enforceable policies to protect direct-to-consumer genetic test users, https://bit.ly/2GlP37i

A new article from Christine Lu and HCSRN collaborators including Geisinger Researcher Alanna Rahm describes how HCSRN acts as a "real world" laboratory that allows researchers to improve patient outcomes, https://bit.ly/2QMQz7a

A recent publication from HPI researchers James Frank Wharam, Dennis Ross-Degnan, and Stephen Soumerai investigated breast cancer diagnosis and treatment among vulnerable and less vulnerable women after switching from low to high deductible insurance from 2004-2014. bit.ly/2U8ayxd 

On March 28th HPI Fellow Alessandra Ferrario presented "Trends in availability and use of cancer medicines in six Asian countries working towards universal health coverage" at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Department of Global Health and Population 6th Annual State of Global Health Symposium. bit.ly/2tSb9s9 

A publication from CHeRP Fellow Joachim Hero and Associate Professor Alison Galbraith observed that consumer assistance should be targeted to off-Marketplace populations along with populations with low health insurance literacy. bit.ly/2tSb9s9 

On March 5th our director James Frank Wharam and Associate Professor Alison Galbraith participated in the Health Affairs live briefing on patients as consumers. 

A recent article from James Frank Wharam and former HPI fellow Rebecca Haffajee found small increases in outpatient mental health visits among commercially insured high utilizers of mental health services two years postparity. bit.ly/2XDrbns 

Congratulations to former HPI fellow and current Harkness Fellow Huseyin Naci on having one of the Milbank Fund Quarterly's most cited articles of 2017-2018. https://bit.ly/2IaPPqU

A new publication from HPI fellow Alessandra Ferrario presents views/considerations form policymakers, payers, pricing experts, reimbursement authorities and European academics about the European Commission's 2018, Proposal for a Regulation on Health Technology Assessment. https://bit.ly/2GoNgAA 

Congratulations to HPI collaborator Larissa Nekhlyudov who is a PCORI Ambassador! Find more information about her fantastic work with cancer survivorship here, bit.ly/2X5gzNJ.

Was there increased usage of long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods after the 2016 election? Our fellow Mara Murray Horwitz delves deeper into this question by assessing LARC utilization among a large sample of commercially insured women. https://bit.ly/2Sq3ZcD.

Congratulations to HPI faculty member Natasha Stout on her new publication! https://bit.ly/2IaHSC8

New research from HPI fellow Mara Murray Horwitz found that delayed contraceptive initiation is more common among African American, Hispanic, and low-income women and can lead to the short-term risk of unwanted pregnancy. See more here, bit.ly/2sNWEoy.

Congratulations to our director James Frank Wharam on becoming an Endowed Chair!


Associate Professor Anita Wagner was chosen to become a Visiting Scholar at The Hastings Center, where she will conduct independent research in the area of bioethics. She begins her two-week residency in early August. 

Research Fellow Mara Murray Horwitz was awarded The Best Women's Health Scientific Abstract Oral Presentation Award by the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) for her presentation, "Timing of Contraceptive Initiation and Family Planning Relative to Sexual Initiation Among Young Woman in the US, 1984-2015". This award recognizes the most highly rated Women's Health oral abstract presentations at the SGIM Annual Meeting, which took place in April. Congratulations, Mara! Here’s a complete list of the SGIM award winners.

Anita Wagner and Alessandra Ferrario participated in a meeting at SickKids Hospital in Toronto to discuss collaboration opportunities for improving access to medicines for pediatric cancer in low- and middle-income countries. This collaboration builds on priorities identified at the Pediatric Oncology Roundtable to Transform Access to Global Essentials (PORTAGE), which took place in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE) in January 2018. Despite advances in the treatment of childhood cancer and high rates of survival in high-income countries, there is poor and variable survival in low- and middle-income countries, where most children with cancer live. Improving access to medicines is a key component in strengthening health care systems to improve the health outcomes of children with cancer worldwide. 

Anita Wagner will be among the distinguished speakers at the Charite BIH Entrepreneurship Summit 2018: From Vision to Patient, sponsored by the Berlin Institute of Health. Dr. Wagner will take part in the Novel Funding Models / Affordability of Medication session, on the panel titled When Markets Fail Patients.

Christine Lu will present her work in the field of genetics and genomics at the 2018 ACMG Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting. Her talk, "Learning Healthcare Systems: A New Paradigm for Generating Evidence and Developing Clinical Practice Guidelines for Clinical Genetic and Genomic Medicine", will take place on April 13th. 

Fellow Mara Murray-Horwitz will present at the 2018 Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) Annual Meeting, held in Denver, CO. Her talk is entitled, "Time-to-contraception: patterns and predictors among U.S. women, 1970-2015".

Dennis Ross-Degnan and Anita Wagner will moderate/speak about pharmaceutical research and development in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) on April 23rd at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. Dr. Wagner's talk is entitled, "Approaches to Improving Access to Innovative Medicines". 

HPI Director Frank Wharam will travel to Groningen, Netherlands, to present findings at Ca-PRI 2018: Building Bridges on April 20th. His talk is entitled "Impact of High-Deductible Insurance on Breast Cancer Care Among Lower-Income Women". 

The ASCO Post Evening News March 19th newsletter featured the paper, "Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment after High-Deductible Insurance Enrollment". The paper, which resulted from work conducted by HPI faculty Frank Wharam, Fang Zhang, Christine Lu, Anita Wagner, Stephen Soumerai, and Dennis Ross-Degnan, was originally published in in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. 

HPI faculty and collaborators from Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research had recent work published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The paper, titled "Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment after High-Deductible Insurance Enrollment", was the result of work conducted by Frank Wharam, Fang Zhang, Christine Lu, Anita Wagner, Stephen Soumerai, Dennis Ross-Degnan, Larissa Nekhlyudov, and Craig Earle. The study found that women who were switched to high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) experienced delays in breast cancer diagnostic testing, early-stage diagnosis, and chemotherapy initiation. 

February brought a number of HPI faculty publications, including studies in CMAJ Open (by Natasha Stout), Psychiatric Services (by Christine Lu), JAMA Internal Medicine (by Natasha Stout), and Current Diabetes Reports (by Dennis Ross-Degnan and Frank Wharam).

On February 8th, Anita Wagner presented "Expanding a Portfolio of Health Systems Research on Cancer Therapeutics" to the Department of Population Medicine. This talk detailed progress made as a result of her Robert H. Ebert Career Development Award

We welcome back Anita Wagner from Singapore, where she gave two talks, including the keynote, at the Asian Bioethics Review Research Conference on "The Ethics of Universal Coverage: Towards a Holistic Framework for Access to High-Cost Medical Interventions"

Members of the NEXTD-2 project, Frank Wharam, Fang ZhangStephen Soumerai, Christine Lu, Dennis Ross-Degnan, and DPM alumna Emma Eggleston, have a new publication in February's issue of Diabetes Care Journal. The manuscript, "Effect of High-Deductible Insurance on High-Acuity Outcomes in Diabetes: A Natural Experiment for Translation in Diabetes (NEXT-D) Study", is based on work on the original NEXT-D project. 

Mei-Sing Ong was appointed to the Harvard Medical School faculty as an Assistant Professor of Population Medicine in January. We look forward to her future successes!

Mei-Sing Ong will present at the 12th Annual Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute (PVRI) Annual World Congress on PVD in Singapore in January. Her presentation, "Comorbidity-driven taxonomy of pediatric pulmonary hypertension", is part of Plenary 3, "Towards a molecular classification of PH", The American Heart Association Partnership with PVRI. The full agenda of events can be found online.


Spotlight on Steve Soumerai

Stephen Soumerai Presentation Australia









Our very own Steve Soumerai spent much of October and November giving a series of talks to Asian and Australian scientists, government officials, and postdoctoral students.  The general topics included:

  • The ongoing flip-flopping of research findings of the effects of medical or health policies and confusion among the general public, clinicians, and policymakers;
  • The effects of poorly designed studies and common biases, combined with widespread media reporting, on the decisions of policymakers—leading them to fund ineffective, costly, or even harmful policies;
  • Strong quasi-experimental and randomized designs that provide more trustworthy evidence;
  • The worldwide proliferation of financial incentives to providers intended to improve the quality of care that is contradicted by rigorous research (but are nonetheless increasing).

Venues for these talks included: the opening address and advanced methodological sessions at the International Society of Pharmacoepidemiology 10th Asian Conference on Pharmacoepidemiology at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, the University of New South Wales (2 university-wide talks), and the University of Sydney (university-wide talk). The PowerPoint slides for these talks are available in the links directly above.

Click here to read Dr. Soumerai and Dr. Koppel’s new Washington Post op-ed entitled “How bad science can lead to bad science journalism—and bad policy: This is what happens when news organizations don’t catch lousy studies”.

Christine Leopold and Anita Wagner are co-authors of a recent paper by Steve Morgan in the Canadian Medical Association Journal entitled "Drivers of expenditure on primary care prescription drugs in 10 high-income countries with universal health coverage". The paper has been featured by the Commonwealth Fund. A commentary can be found here.

Laura Garabedian will now co-direct the Division's Fellowship in Health Policy and Insurance Research (formerly the Pharmaceutical Policy Research Fellowship). Laura takes over the co-directorship from Steven Soumerai who, together with Dennis Ross-Degnan, created a highly successful fellowship program more than 15 years ago. Since 2001, the Fellowship program has trained 42 fellows and 5 visiting scholars from 16 countries.

Among her many credentials, Laura is an alumna of the Fellowship, which she started while a PhD student in the Harvard University-wide PhD Program in Health Policy.  She now teaches in the PhD Program and serves on the Committee on Higher Degrees in Health Policy at Harvard University.  Laura will help expand the Fellowship program and specifically the long-standing, fruitful engagement with students in the PhD Program in Health Policy. The division thanks Steve for co-creating and co-leading the Fellowship for all these years, and Laura for co-directing (with Anita Wagner) the Fellowship in Health Policy and Insurance Research going forward.

Anita Wagner has been offered a position as a Fellow in Bioethics in the Fellowship in Bioethics at Harvard Medical School for the academic year 2017-2018.  The Fellowship in Bioethics is a 1-year part-time course of study to further one's knowledge of the history, philosophical underpinnings and contemporary practice of bioethics.  Anita plans to focus her bioethics scholarship on ethical questions in cancer care. Her participation in the program is made possible by the Department's Robert H. Ebert Career Development Award.

Christine Lu was selected to present at the Thirteenth Workshop on Costs and Assessment in Psychiatry: Mental Health Policy and Economics, which took place in Venice, Italy in March. Her presentation was entitled, "Near Real-Time Surveillance for Consequences of Health Policies Using Sequential Analysis".

Stephen Soumerai was a guest on The Healthcare Policy Podcast to discuss Pay for Performance (P4P). The episode, "Does Pay for Performance Improve Care and Lower Spending? An Interview with Stephen Soumerai" is available online here.

Scott Hadland was recently selected as one of three winners of JAMA Pediatrics contest for the best paper by a trainee as first author. Criteria for selection included rigorous metrics similar to those used in assessing R grants: Significance, Innovation, and Design and Analysis. Dr. Hadland is an adolescent medicine and addiction specialist and is currently an Assistant Professor at Boston University School of Medicine. The winning paper, entitled “Trends in Receipt of Buprenorphine and Naltrexone for Opioid Use Disorder Among Adolescents and Young Adults, 2000-2014”, involved collaboration with Frank Wharam, Fang Zhang, and Marc LaRochelle.

Frank Wharam's abstract, “Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment before and after High-deductible Insurance Enrollment”, was chosen for a plenary presentation at the Cancer and Primary Care Research International Network (Ca-PRI) 2017 meeting in April in Edinburgh, Scotland.


Natasha Stout was elected to the Board of Officers, Trustees, and Staff of the Society for Medical Decision Making. Dr. Stout began her three-year term as SMDM Secretary-Treasurer in 2016.