Penn Epidemiologists Become Part of Federal Program
to Research Making Better Treatment Decisions
(Philadelphia, PA) - The Center for Clinical Epidemiology
and Biostatistics (CCEB), within the University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine, has become part of the new Effective Health
Care Program, within the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
(AHRQ). The program was launched last week to help clinicians and patients
determine which drugs and other medical treatments work best for certain
The program will support the development of new scientific information
through research on the outcomes of health care services and therapies,
including drugs. By reviewing and synthesizing published and unpublished
scientific studies, as well as identifying important issues where existing
evidence is insufficient, the program will help provide clinicians and
patients with better information for making treatment decisions. Initial
reports from the new program will be issued this fall, with particular
focus on effectiveness information relevant to Medicare beneficiaries.
For more information, go to the program's website: www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov.
CCEB is part of a new network of 13 Developing Evidence to Inform Decisions
about Effectiveness (DEcIDE) research centers that will conduct studies
aimed at filling knowledge gaps about treatment effectiveness. Operating
under strict procedures to guarantee privacy and security, DEcIDE centers
will use de-identified data available through insurers, health plan, and
other partner organizations to answer questions about the use, benefits,
and risks of medications and other therapies. DEcIDE centers will begin
work on 15 research projects immediately.
To start, CCEB researchers will examine the association between antidepressant
drugs and aspiration pneumonia in the aged. "Nearly all drugs are
approved based on studies comparing the new drug to a placebo," explains
Co-Principal Investigator of the Penn DEcIDE program Sean Hennessy,
PharmD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and of Pharmacology.
"However, what patients and clinicians really need to know is not
how well the new drug works compared with a placebo, but compared with
what is already available. This lack of information on comparative effectiveness
makes it very difficult to make evidence-based decisions. In the years
to come, the DEcIDE Network will play a key role in addressing the need
for information on comparative effectiveness. We at Penn are thrilled
to be able to take part in this important effort."
CCEB Director Brian Strom, MD, MPH is the Principal Investigator
of the center. CCEB has been awarded $250,000 for their first study within
the DEcIDE program.
PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise dedicated
to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and
high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of
Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first
medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt
of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News &
World Report’s most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical
schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School
of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training
of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic
The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes: its flagship hospital,
the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one
of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News
& World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital;
Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care
provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home health
care and hospice.