HPI News


Anita Wagner presented at the Great Lakes Pharmacy Conference (March 20, 2021) on Ethical dilemmas in health care: Pharmaceuticals in the US health system”.

Former HPI fellow Rebecca Haffajee was appointed to the position of Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at HHS in the Biden administration.



HPI members Alessandra FerrarioFang ZhangDennis Ross-DegnanJ. Frank Wharam, and Anita Wagner published a study on the intensity of end-of-life care in commercially insured women with metastatic breast cancer in JCO Oncology Practice. Consistent with findings in the Medicare population, their results suggest an overall increase in the number of ICU admissions at the end of life over time. They also suggest that patients from non-White neighborhoods receive more intense acute care.

Natasha Stout was an invited speaker at Future of Cancer Health Economics Research Virtual Conference. National Cancer Institute and presented “Cancer Screening/Diagnosis Economics Research: Current Challenges and Next Steps”.


Former Health Policy and Insurance Research (HPI) fellow Rosarin Sruamsiri, current HPI fellow Alessandra Ferrario, and faculty members Dennis Ross-Degnan and Anita Wagner, and colleagues published a tool to estimate volume and cost to provide chemotherapy to all children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in Thailand in the BMJ Open. They found that procuring sufficient quantities of essential medicines to treat children with ALL requires relatively modest resources. Medicine cost should not be a major barrier to ALL treatment in similar settings.

In a new publication in the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, former Health Policy and Insurance Research (HPI) fellows Christine Leopold and Rebecca Haffajee and faculty members Christine Lu and Anita Wagner use Massachusetts as a case study to describe current health insurance coverage laws for cancer therapies and perceptions of experts on their relevance. Maximilian Salcher Konrad and Huseyin Naci (also a former HPI fellow) from the London School of Economics wrote an accompanying commentary.  Eloquently and importantly, they put the findings on coverage regulations in Massachusetts into the broader US regulatory context and suggest alternative approaches to cancer drug coverage modeled after the German system.


Department of Population Medicine members’ Alessandra FerrarioDennis Ross-Degnan and Anita Wagner, together with long-term collaborators Peter Stephens from IQVIA, UK and Xiaodong Guan from Peking University, China, have published their latest research article in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization. In this study, the authors analyze progress in expanding use of essential anticancer medicines in six Asian countries working toward universal health care coverage. They also highlight the underused potential of routinely collected data to monitor changes in use of medicines as well as informing policy and practice.


Alessandra Ferrario presented at the Swiss National Science Foundation virtual fellows conference (June 29 – July 2, 2020) on ‘Access to cancer care services and technologies: too much or too little?’.

Anita Wagner presented a talked entitled " Pharmaceuticals in a time of crisis and beyond: A call for sound evidence and solidarity" at the 15th World Congress of Bioethics, which took place virtually June 19-21, 2020.


On March 9th at the Department of Population at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, Assistant Professor Natasha Stout virtually gave the Philip Farrell Distinguished Alumni Lecture entitled "Using Population Modeling to Fill Evidence Gaps in Breast Cancer Prevention and Control: Insights from Two Collaborations."


Starting this academic year, Laura Garabedian serves as Co-Director of Essentials of the Profession I, a required first-year Harvard Medical School course that covers four disciplines: health policy, medical ethics, social medicine, and clinical epidemiology and population health.

HPI Fellow Alessandra Ferrario presented "Estimating needs, availability and cost of medicines to treat pediatric in six Asian countries" at the University of Utrecht- World Health Organization (UU-WHO) winter meeting on January 8th. 

Faculty Member Hao Yu presented "Health care financing and delivery reforms and children with special health care needs" at Center for Healthcare Research in Pediatrics on January 14th 2020 at the Department of Population Medicine in Boston, MA.



Assistant Professor Mei-Sing Ong Presented "Computational Network Identifies Patterns of Psychiatric Disorders and Traumas Associated With Adolescent Suicide Attempts" at the 58th Annual Meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Meeting on December 11th in Orlando, FL.


On November 1, 2019, Anita Wagner joined Drs. Robert Weinberg, founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Daniel K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research at MIT, Erwin Böttinger, head of Digital Health, Hasso Plattner Institute, Germany, and Steffan Ho, Vice President and Head of Translational Oncology at Pfizer on a panel discussing “Medicine-there’s no free lunch in the new age of cancer therapy”. The panel was part of the 11th German American Conference and moderated by Dr. Anula Jayasuriya, Founder and Managing Director, EXXclaim Capital. 


HPI Assistant Professor Mei-Sing Ong and HPI Research Fellow Alessandra Ferrario attended the National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine workshop on Applying Big Data to Address the Social Determinants of Health in Oncology (October 28-29, 2019, Washington, DC). The workshop discussed challenges and opportunities to use environmental, geographical, socio-demographic and other datasets to study the social determinants of health in oncology. Discussions highlighted the importance of multidisciplinarity, use of quantitative as well as qualitative methods and storytelling to showcase how we can move from data, evidence, to improving health outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients.

Countries worldwide are trying to balance rising costs, limited budgets and improving the quality of cancer care. In her talk, HPI research fellow Alessandra Ferrario presented achievements, challenges, and approaches that countries are using to improve global access to cancer medicines. Drawing from her research on performance-based agreements for medicines, utilization of cancer medicines and end-of-life care, she illustrated current challenges facing health care systems to enable equitable access while ensuring long-term financial sustainability.


Congratulations to HPI collaborator Alyce Adams on her nomination to the AcademyHealth Board of Directors!

Congratulations to new SMDM President-Elect and HPI Assistant Professor Natasha Stout!

Congratulations to HPI direct James Frank Wharam who was named Co-chair of PCORI's Advisory Panel on Healthcare Delivery and Disparities Research!

HPI direct, James Frank Wharam and Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University Associate Professor Jeanne Madden presented a poster entitled "Concordance of Quantitative and Qualitative Findings in Research on People with Bipolar Disorder and Behavioral Health Care" at the Annual PCORI 2019 Meeting.

On September 28th, Anita Wagner served as co-chair of and gave the opening keynote presentation on cancer therapeutics in health systems at the 4th International Forum on Drug Safety and Policy in Xi’an, China. Hao Yu presented on the role of providers in medicines use.

On September 27th, Anita Wagner and Hao Yu discussed research on cancer therapeutics in China with faculty and students at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Pharmacy Administration & Clinical Pharmacy, Peking University. 

On September 24th, Anita Wagner presented "Cancer therapeutics in health systems – at the intersection of science, politics, and economics" at the Healthcare Executive Leadership Program for Chinese Executives in Boston, USA. This program was organized by the DPM China Center.

On September 5th, Anita Wagner presented " Ethics on the edge – how the Ebert Award supports bridge building" in the weekly departmental seminar. She discussed how ethically challenging health systems questions arise around cancer therapies at the intersection of science, politics, and economics and illustrated, using the social-ecological model as a framework, ongoing and planned research to generate answers to these questions.


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.


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.

HPI Research Fellow Alessandra Ferrario presented on uptake of WHO-listed essential cancer medicines in China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand at the international health economics congress in Basel (iHEA), Switzerland on July 17, 2019. The presentation was part of a session on Access to Medicines in Health Systems in Low- and Middle-Income Countries organized by the Medicines in Health Systems (MiHS) Thematic Working Group of Health Systems Global (HSG) – an organization dedicated to promoting health systems research and knowledge translation – and chaired by Associate Professor Sachi Ozawa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Also presenting were colleagues Samuel Orubu from Niger Delta University and Vera Lucia Luiza from the School of Public Health, Fiocruz, Rio de Janerio.


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."

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."

HPI SAS Programmer Katherine Callaway will be presenting the "Impact of Breast Density Legislation on Ultrasound and MRI Use, 2002-2016" at the 9th International Breast Density and Cancer Risk Assessment Workshop on June 7th. 


Associate Professor Anita Wagner joined the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC).  She joins other DPM faculty members of the DF/HCC, including James Frank WharamMaryam Asgari, and Natasha Stout

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 the 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 LuLarissa Nekhlyudov and Stephen Soumerai entitled "Impact of High-deductible Insurance on Breast Cancer Care among Rural Women."

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 LuLarissa NekhlyudovStephen Soumerai, and Dennis Ross-Degnan.


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.

Check out quotes from HPI director James Frank Wharam in NPR Health's article entitled "High-Deductible Health Policies Linked To Delayed Diagnosis And Treatment."


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 

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

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

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.

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