HPI Seminar Series

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Health Policy and Insurance Research Seminar Series

Time: Noon - 1:00 PM

Date: Seminars are usually held the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month with some exceptions - Please refer to the schedule for exact dates.

Location: Department of Population Medicine (DPM) Inui Conference Room A/B, Landmark Center, 401 Park Drive, Suite 401 East, Boston, MA 02215




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Archived Seminar Series 2017-2018

Archived Seminar Series 2016-2017


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Upcoming HPI Research Seminar Schedule
All Presentations Are Held at Noon-1:00 In The Inui Conference Room


September 12, 2018 Seminar Title  

Lauren W.

Lauren Wisk, PhD

Assistant Professor

Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School



An Update on Health Insurance and Access to Care for Young Adults Post Health Reform: Policy Gains and New Opportunities




With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, several policies expanded access to health insurance coverage and provided protection against a high cost burden for young adults – a group that previously had the lowest rates of insurance coverage across all ages. Although large gains in coverage have been observed for this group overall as a result of the ACA, certain policies differentially affected vulnerable subgroups and continued attention to addressing the remaining gaps in coverage and access for young adults are warranted.



September 26, 2018

Seminar Title  

DRDDennis Ross-Degnan, ScD

Associate Professor

Harvard Medical School

Dept. of Population Medicine

Director of Research at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute

***Please Note: This Series will begin at 1:00 PM in Conference Room 1***

Interrupted  Time Series

This session will be a tutorial aimed for new fellows, but open to all. Dr. Dennis Ross-Degnan will speak about interrupted time series basics, as well as new methods for ITS analyses, such as matching methods.




October 10, 2018 Seminar Title  


Mara Murray Horwitz, MD

 Research Fellow

 Dept. of Population Medicine

Variation in Primary Care Quality Measures: A Multi-Level Analysis

This study aims to understand how much of the variation in primary care quality measures may be attributed to differences between patients, providers, and clinics. Mara will discuss her collaboration with a local network of outpatient care providers, review early data analysis and results, and engage the audience in discussion about next steps ad potential clinical implications and applications.



October 17, 2018 Seminar Title  

JaiJaime Espinme Espin, PhD

Visiting Professor

Andalusian School of Public Health


How Europe is facing the high cost medicines challenge? 


This seminar will be an analysis of the different trends in Europe related to pricing and reimbursement of high cost medicines. The pricing regulations systems, the different reimbursement models, the innovative instruments and the opportunity of using biosimilars will be explained in other to compared with the current pharma policy in the US. The debate will be focus in look for commonalities and differences between the different settings.


October 24, 2018 Seminar Title  


Anna Sinaiko, PhD

 Harvard School of Public Health

 Dept. of Health Policy and   Management


Use of reference-based pricing benefit design to steer patients to low-price imaging providers

In the U.S., health care prices vary widely within local markets; and differences in price have little association with quality.  To take advantage of this price variation and decrease health care spending, insurers and employers are trying a variety of benefit designs that aim to steer patients to lower-priced providers, including reference-based pricing benefit design (RBP). We evaluate the impact of RBP for advanced imaging offered by a national commercial health plan.


November 14, 2018 Seminar Title  


Oreofe 0. Odejide, MD

 Medical Oncology

 Dana Farber Cancer Institute



Why are Patients with Blood Cancers Less Likely to Receive Quality End-of-Life Care?

Existing studies demonstrate that patients with blood cancers have high rates of intensive care near death and low rates of timely hospice enrollment – all markers of potentially suboptimal end-of-life care. During this seminar, I will examine factors (patient, physician, policy) that contribute to the current state of end-of-life care in this population.


November 28, 2018 Seminar Title  

Huseyin Naci, PhDH Naci

Assistant Professor of Health Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science

Evidence standards for approving cancer medicines in Europe

In this study, we evaluated the characteristics of clinical studies supporting the European Medicines Agency approval of new cancer medicines from 2009 to 2013. In addition, we determined the proportion of drugs with demonstrable benefit on survival or quality of life over available treatment options or placebo, both at time of approval and in the postmarking period. Finally, we investigated the magnitude of benefit of drugs showing a significant improvement on survival in the treatment of cancers. 


Published paper: https://www.bmj.com/content/359/bmj.j4530 




December 12, 2018 Seminar Title  

Kenneth Kehl

Kenneth Kehl, M.D.

 Medical Oncology

 Dana Farber Cancer Institute

Rapid innovation in the treatment of lung cancer: Real-world impact




The recent incorporation of precision medicine and immunotherapy into the management of advanced lung cancer has rapidly transformed treatment patterns. However, this innovation may not have been implemented equitably in the real world. I will review our efforts to understand implementation patterns to d


January 23, 2019 Seminar Title  

SWScott Weiner, MD, MPH

Attending Emergency Physician

Director, Brigham and Women's Comprehensive Opioid Response and Education Program

 Assistant Professor, Harvard                                                    Medical School

Addressing the Opioid Epidemic with Policy and Technology

Dr. Weiner will provide an overview of his work involving policy and technology in addressing the opioid crisis, including prescription drug monitoring programs, learning how to screen patients for risk of opioid abuse, and increasing access to naloxone, the life-saving opioid overdose reversal agent.


January 30, 2019 Seminar Title  

Ed Silverman

Ed Silverman

 Pharmalot Columnist

 Senior Writer

 STAT News

Connecting the dots across the many aspects of US and global drug pricing

Ed Silverman, senior writer and Pharmalot columnist, has covered the pharmaceutical industry for the past two decades. He previously worked at The Wall Street Journal, The Star-Ledger of New Jersey, New York Newsday and Investor’s Business Daily, among other publications. He won the Gerald Loeb Award for business and financial journalism in 2018 for his Pharmalot View columns. Along with several former Wall Street Journal colleagues, Ed was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in explanatory journalism for a series of stories on prescription pricing. He earned an accounting degree from Binghamton University and a master’s in journalism from New York University. Ed enjoys reading, spending time with his family, and walking the official Pharmalot mascots.



February 13, 2019 Seminar Title  

Jeanner Madden

Jeanne Madden, PhD

 Associate Professor

 Dept. of Pharmacy & Health

 System Sciences

 School of Pharmacy

 Northeastern University


Food Insecurity among Medicare Beneficiaries, and More

An inability to access sufficient healthy food is likely to be at least as harmful as inability to access health care.  As risk-sharing arrangements with between providers and payers proliferate, health systems have been intensifying their efforts to address food insecurity as a key social determinant of health.  Dr. Madden will present new analyses of food insecurity and related studies based on the Medicare Current Beneficiaries Survey.

Editorial: JAGS%20editorial%202018%20on%20food%20insecurity%20as%20key%20SDOH.pdf


March 13, 2019 Seminar Title  


Alessandra Ferrario, PhD.

 Post-doctoral Research Fellow

 Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Inst.

 Dept. of Population  Medicine


Using Claims Data to Study the Intensity of End-of-Life Care in Commercially Insured Patients During this talk, Alessandra will provide an update of her analysis on end-of-life care in patients with breast cancer as well as presenting the research plans for her new study on end-of-life care in poor prognosis cancer patients. The first part of the seminar will focus on methodological issues around defining receipt of anti-neoplastic treatment (including traditional chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapies and hormonal therapies). More specifically, Alessandra will discuss the selection of administration and substance specific billing codes she is using to define receipt of chemotherapy and seek feedback from the audience on these methods. In the second part of her talk, Alessandra will present the aims and proposed methods of her new study on end-of-life care in the era of immunotherapies. Using Optum data from 2001 to 2017, Alessandra aims to assess whether the introduction of immunotherapies for poor prognosis cancers - such as lung, liver, pancreatic and oesophageal cancers - is associated with more intensive interventional care and delayed access to palliative care and hospice after diagnosis


March 27, 2019 Seminar Title  

Stacie D.

Stacie B. Dusetzina, PhD

Associate Professor, Health Policy

Ingram Associate Professor of Cancer Research, Vanderbilt University Medical Center


Improving Access to Prescription Drugs through Policy Change

The talk will focus on trend in prescription drug spending, particularly related to specialty drugs, and policy options for addressing drug spending for payers and patients.


April 3, 2019 Seminar Title  
Amber Barnato

Amber Barnato, M.D., MPH, MS


The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice

Novel Interventions to Modify Physician Decision Making



April 10, 2019 Seminar Title  

YZYousuf Zafar, M.D., MHS

 Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Policy

Duke Cancer  Institute


Intervening on the Financial Toxicity of Cancer Care  


April 24, 2019 Seminar Title  
Robin Yabroff

Robin Yabroff

Strategic Director

Economic Burden of Cancer

American Cancer Society

Financial Hardship Among Cancer Survivors in the United States

Dr. K. Robin Yabroff is an epidemiologist and Senior Scientific Director, Health Services Research at the American Cancer Society.  She conducts research on financial hardship and economic burden of cancer; patterns of cancer care, including high cost prescription drugs; health insurance benefit design; and patient, provider, and health system factors associated with quality and value of cancer care.


May 8, 2019 Seminar Title                                                                                                    

Saumya ChatrathSaumya Chatrath, PhD Candidate

Research Fellow

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Inst.

Dept. of Population Medicine


Effect of PCP-Specialist Referrals on Spending and Health


Referrals from primary care physicians to specialists have greatly increased in the past twenty years. Specialists are more expensive than primary care physicians, and tend to be more resource intensive. There are several frictions that can arise in the referral process such as failures of information transfer, and care co-ordination. The aim of this research is to measure the effect of PCP-specialist referrals on spending, and on health. I intend to focus on chronic conditions where care can be provided either by the PCP or by a specialist.


May 22, 2019 Seminar Title  

Amir Meiri

Amir Meiri, M.D 

Harvard Medical School Fellow in General Medicine and Primary Care, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute Dept. of Population Medicine


Implications of Insulin Costs and Utilization Trends among a Commercially-Insured Diabetes Population


The media emphasizes how insulin prices are skyrocketing and patients with diabetes must ration their essential, life-sustaining medication -- insulin. Anecdotally, patients are rationing their insulin and there are some studies to support this at a population-level. Simultaneously, diabetes-associated complications are rising. But no study has connected the drastically rise in insulin prices with patient under-use and a rise in associated complications. In this seminar talk, we discuss current trends in insulin costs and utilization and highlight potential important insights into which populations may be impacted using a commercially-insured population


June 5, 2019 Seminar Title  

Rachele Hendricks-Sturrup,DHsc, MSc, MA

Pyle Fellowship Awardee

 Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute Dept. of Population Medicine

Opportunities and Challenges to Implementing Genetic Testing for Familial Hypercholesterolemia in the United States”

Dr. Rachele Hendricks-Sturrup will provide an overview of her work on understanding barriers and facilitators to implementing genetic testing for familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) into clinical practice in the United States, given a growing body of evidence showing FH genetic testing’s clinical validity and utility.


June 12, 2019 Seminar Title  

Xiaodong Guan, PhD

Research Fellow

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute

Dept. of Population Medicine

Effect of physicians' knowledge on antibiotics rational use in China's county hospitals

Irrational prescriptions of antibiotics have received significant international attention. In China, previous studies have described the impact of physicians knowledge on antibiotic use, however, empirical studies of the relationship between physician knowledge and antibiotic prescription behavior are limited. Therefore, we designed this study to examine corresponding relationships between physicians' knowledge and antibiotic rational use in county hospitals in China.


June 26, 2019 Seminar Title  
Unni Gopinathan

Unni Gopinathan, M.D., PhD 

Postdoctoral Fellow
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute Dept. of Population Medicine

Impact of high-deductible health plans on health care utilization and outcomes among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

In his fellowship project, Unni Gopinathan is investigating the impact of high-deductible insurance enrollment on outpatient care, emergency department visits, hospitalizations and health care expenditure of acute complications among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


July 17, 2019 Seminar Title  

CeciCecilia Kallberglia Kallberg, M.D.

Research Fellow Harvard Pilgrim Health  Care Inst. Dept. of           Population Medicine

Analyzing the immediate and long-term effect of an educational intervention targeting antibiotic prescribing practices of Norwegian GPs, using interrupted time series analysis

Antibiotic resistance is a global public health crisis, driven in part by overconsumption of antibiotics. In 2006, a randomized control trial was conducted in Norway to assess the effect of an educational intervention designed to improve the antibiotic prescription practices of Norwegian GPs. The results showed a significant decrease in total antibiotic use and a significant increase in the use of narrow-spectrum antibiotics. To understand the value of the intervention it is of interest to analyze if these results were temporary or sustained over time. This research aims to assess the long-term effect of the intervention by reanalyzing the data collected during and after the randomized control trial, using interrupted time series analysis.



July 30, 2019 Seminar Title  
Adam Dunn

Adam Dunn, PhD

Affiliate Faculty, Computational Health Informatics Program (CHIP)

Visiting Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Can social media research play a practical role in mitigating misinformation and promoting vaccines?

Misinformation is believed to play an important role in vaccine hesitancy and refusal but measuring the impact is challenging. We used a dataset of 16.6 million Twitter posts (tweets) about vaccines linked to nearly a million unique webpages to look at the heterogeneity of what is being shared and discussed across different communities and locations. For a variety of reasons, analysing volumes of tweets is an unreliable way to identify population-level signals or factors of vaccine confidence, which makes it challenging to recommend actions from the conclusions drawn in most social media studies. One way to address this challenge is to consider sentinel-based approaches, where the information diets of a random sample of US-based Twitter users are treated like any other kind of environmental exposure. The aim is then to measure how differences in information exposure relate to different outcomes, from engagement and expressed opinions online through to direct measures of vaccine confidence and intentions


August 7, 2019 Seminar Title   

                                  Huseyin Naci, PhDH Naci

Assistant Professor of Health Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science

Risk of bias of randomised controlled trials supporting European Medicines Agency approvals of cancer drugs

In this study, we examined the risk of bias of randomised controlled trials supporting EMA approvals of cancer drugs. Most pivotal studies forming the basis of EMA approval of new cancer drugs between 2014 and 2016 were RCTs. However, almost half of these were judged to be at high risk of bias based on their design, conduct or analysis. Fewer RCTs evaluating overall survival as their primary endpoints were at high risk of bias compared to those evaluating surrogate measures. When we considered information available in regulatory documents and the scientific literature separately, our overall risk of bias judgments differed for one-fifth of trials, reflecting reporting inadequacies in both sources of information. Regulators identified additional deficits beyond the domains captured in risk of bias assessments for a third of drugs. These included magnitude of clinical benefit, inappropriate comparators, and non-preferred study endpoints, which were not disclosed as limitations in scientific publications.