Boston, Mass., March 18, 2016 — The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) has appointed eight new members to the New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (New England CEPAC). Including the new members, the New England CEPAC is composed of 22 New England-based experts who represent a broad range of perspectives including medical ethics, outcomes research, technology assessment, patient advocacy and engagement, and clinical practice. Council members are chosen based on their expertise in reviewing and applying medical evidence in a variety of contexts and are not selected based on their specific expertise in a given clinical area.

The newest members of the New England CEPAC are:
  • Gregory Curfman, MD
    Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Health Publications
  • Kimberly Lenz, PharmD (ex-officio)
    Clinical Pharmacy Manager, MassHealth; University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH, FAAP
    Vice President for Clinical Affairs, University of New England
  • Stephanie Nichols, PharmD, BCPS, BCPP
    Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, Husson University
    Psychiatric Pharmacist, Maine Medical Center
  • Julia Prentice, PhD
    Director, HCFE, VA Boston HCS, Boston, MA
    Assistant Professor, Boston University School of Public Health
    Assistant Professor, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Roger L. Snow, MD, MPH
    Retired Deputy Medical Director, Medical Policy
    Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Office of Medicaid
  • Edward Westrick, MD, PhD
    Primary Care Physician, Assistant Medical Director
    Comprehensive Community Action Program
  • Rev. Albert Whitaker, MA
    Director of Community Partnerships, New England, American Diabetes Association

 A biography for each new member is included below. Biographies for all members of the Council are available on the New England CEPAC website.

The next public meeting of the New England CEPAC on March 31, 2016 will address palliative care in the outpatient setting. Members of the public are invited to attend and can register here. A live webcast will also be available; webcast registration is available here.

About ICER

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) is an independent non-profit research institute that produces reports analyzing the evidence on the effectiveness and value of drugs and other medical services. ICER’s reports include evidence-based calculations of prices for new drugs that accurately reflect the degree of improvement expected in long-term patient outcomes, while also highlighting price levels that might contribute to unaffordable short-term cost growth for the overall health care system.
ICER’s reports incorporate extensive input from all stakeholders and are the subject of public hearings through three core programs: the California Technology Assessment Forum (CTAF), the Midwest Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council ( Midwest CEPAC) and the New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (New England CEPAC). These independent panels review ICER’s reports at public meetings to deliberate on the evidence and develop recommendations for how patients, clinicians, insurers, and policymakers can improve the quality and value of health care. For more information about ICER, please visit ICER’s website.

New Member Biographies

CurfmanGregory Curfman, MD
Gregory Curfman, MD, is the editor in chief of Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School. Prior to assuming this role, Dr. Curfman had a 28-year career as an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), most recently as the Journal’s executive editor. He has written numerous editorials and Perspective articles for NEJM and has published widely in other medical journals. He is a member of the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and holds an affiliated faculty appointment in the HMS Department of Health Care Policy. He is also a member of the affiliated faculty of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. Dr. Curfman, who received his education at Princeton University and Harvard Medical School, is a board-certified cardiologist and internist.

Kimberly Lenz, PharmDKim Lenz is the Clinical Pharmacy Manager for the Office of Clinical Affairs at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In this role, she serves as the Clinical Pharmacy Manager for MassHealth, the Massachusetts Medicaid Program, and is responsible for the development and oversight of clinical initiatives, including the management of Hepatitis C, pediatric behavioral health, opioids and substance use disorder. These activities include formulary development and evidence-based prescribing recommendations, with the goal of producing outcomes that deliver appropriate care while managing rising pharmacy costs.

Dr. Lenz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health in the School of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She also is a lecturer at MCPHS University. Her areas of professional interest and topics she often presents on at conferences include appropriate opioid prescribing, substance use disorder, transitions of care and a multidisciplinary approach to complex disease states. Dr. Lenz holds a PharmD from the University of Connecticut and completed a residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH, FAAPDr. Mills is a Maine native who was raised in Farmington, graduated from Mt. Blue High School, Bowdoin College, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles Pediatric Internship and Residency Program, and the Harvard School of Public Health. She is a board-certified pediatrician who practiced as a hospitalist in Los Angeles (two years) and in a pediatric practice in her hometown of Farmington (four years). She also practiced medicine in several rural international locations, including Tanzania and Nepal.

For nearly 15 years, from 1996-2011, she served as Maine’s State Health Officer, for the administrations of Governors Angus S. King and John E. Baldacci.  As the Director of the Maine CDC (formerly Bureau of Health), she led Maine’s public health agency of 420 employees and $120 million budget. Some of her priorities included: lowering Maine’s tobacco addiction and obesity rates; addressing environmental health concerns such as mercury in fish and commercial products; improving health equity; developing a statewide public health infrastructure; creating Healthy Maine 2010 and other state health planning initiatives; working on health care reform to increase access to care, improve quality of health care, and reduce costs; addressing chronic diseases with comprehensive and coordinated strategies; controlling outbreaks and epidemics, including the 2009 H1N1 pandemic; leading the agency through several strategic planning processes and reorganizations to improve management, including using LEAN tools; leading the public health response to several emergencies such as major floods, a mass poisoning with arsenic, suspicious anthrax packages after 9/11/01, a major mercury spill, and the 1998 ice storm; and reducing Maine’s teen pregnancy, infant and maternal mortality rates through a comprehensive approach to family planning and education. As part of her work she routinely and regularly wrote and delivered testimony before the Maine Legislature on numerous topics. She also developed non-legislative policy on a variety of issues.

Dr. Mills’ work has been well recognized. Among her awards are:  the 2003 National Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Award for tobacco work in Maine; the 2004 University of New England Deborah Morton Award; the 2007 American Medical Association’s Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service; the 2010 McCormack Award from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers for her national leadership during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic; the 2014 American Academy of Pediatrics Special Achievement Award; a 2015 distinguished service award by Northern New England Planned Parenthood; the highest awards by the Maine Public Health Association, the Maine Medical Association, and the Maine Development Foundation; and a 2011 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Maine Augusta.

Stephanie Nichols, PharmD, BCPS, BCPPStephanie Nichols, PharmD, BCPS, BCPP is an Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Husson University in Bangor, Maine and a Psychiatric Pharmacist at Maine Medical Center in Portland.  She graduated from the University at Buffalo with her Doctor of Pharmacy degree and completed an Inpatient Pharmacy Practice Residency at Maine Medical Center.  Dr. Nichols is dual-board certified as a Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS) and a Psychiatric Pharmacist (BCPP) and has received multiple awards for her excellence in both practice and teaching.  In her role at the University, she is involved in teaching mental health therapeutics, managing a Drug-Induced Psychiatric Disease course, providing medicine and mental health experiential education rotations for learners (61 and counting), and mentoring student advisees and residents in the Teaching Certificate Program.  In her role at the Health System, she is involved in providing direct patient care to patients with mental illness, providing psychopharmacotherapy consults, teaching patients and other members of the interprofessional team about pharmacotherapy, and participating in population health endeavors, including: development of policies, procedures, and pathways regarding the treatment of inpatients with Opioid Use Disorders, utilization of clozapine, and P & T formulary reviews of psychotropic medications.  While both teaching and practicing pharmacy, Dr. Nichols strives to provide, recommend, and teach evidence-based and value-based medicine.  Her research interests include: substance use disorders, psychotropic polypharmacy, and prevention, detection, and mitigation of psychotropic drug related problems.  Her group’s most recent research manuscript entitled: Prescription Drug Trafficking in Maine by McCall, Nichols, et al. will be published in an upcoming edition of Pharmacotherapy.  She is also very active in national clinical pharmacy organizations.

Julia Prentice, PhDJulia Prentice is Director of the Health Care Financing and Economics (HCFE) group at the VA Boston Healthcare System and holds faculty appointments in the Boston University School of Medicine and Public Health.  Her current research focuses on the comparative effectiveness of medications and the validation of access metrics using patient-level outcomes. This work utilizes econometric methods to supplement randomized trial evidence with data analyses based on quasi-experimental designs.  These results have allowed her to identify health risks of medication regimes not identified by other approaches.  Her research on access to care in veteran populations has helped to shape national Department of Veterans Affairs policies for collecting and evaluating appointment wait times in responses to recent VA access crises.  She is co-principal investigator of the Partnered Evidence Based Resource Center (PEPReC) that provides timely, rigorous data analysis to support the development of high-priority policy, planning, and management initiatives and randomized program evaluations within VA healthcare.She completed undergraduate majors in Biology and Sociology at Grinnell College and a MSPH and PhD in Community Health Sciences from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Roger L. Snow, MD, MPHDr. Snow is the recently retired Deputy Medical Director for Medical Policy of the Office of Clinical Affairs of the Office of Medicaid in the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Commonwealth Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School. Prior to  his retirement he held several clinical and policy development positions with Medicaid and the medical school.  He attended medical school at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, and trained in medicine and pathology in Boston. He is board-certified in both specialties. He served in diverse capacities at MassHealth for 24 years, and as full time Deputy Medical Director since 2005. Prior to his latter service in Medicaid he practiced medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital for 20 years. He is presently on the senior honorary staff. At MassHealth he chaired the Committee on Provider Review, and the Medicaid Committee on Medical Policy. He coordinated activities in prior authorization, quality assessment, and clinical topics. He holds a degree in Public Health from Harvard. In 2010 he served as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Medicaid Medical Directors Learning Network, supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) now the Medicaid Medical Directors Network. In April 2012 he was appointed as an ex-officio member of the  New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (New England CEPAC) and has since served on the New England CEPAC Advisory Board. He has also served on several collaborative interagency workgroups and task forces. His ongoing interests include comparative effectiveness research, improving availability of and access to therapies, evidence-based treatment guidelines, and medical quality improvement.

Edward Westrick, MD, PhDDr. Westrick is a practicing primary care internist and physician executive with Comprehensive Community Action Program in Cranston RI.  He earned his MD degree from New Jersey Medical School and trained in Internal Medicine through the Brown University program.  He earned his PhD in pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacoeconomics at the University of Rhode, his MS in psychology at Rutgers University, and his BS in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.  He has spent most of his career in clinical informatics, medical management, physician leadership and quality improvement with a strong focus on performance measurement. He has developed measures for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, and has served on boards and expert panels for the Institute of Medicine, Massachusetts Health Quality Partners, the National Committee for Quality Assurance, the National Quality Forum, the Joint Commission, RAND, the American Health Quality Association, US Pharmacopeia, VA Health, the Board of Pharmacy Specialties, and state government and managed care organizations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Rev. Albert Whitaker, MARev. Albert Whitaker currently serves as Director of Community Partnerships, New England with the American Diabetes Association. Diagnosed in 2001 with Type 2 Diabetes, he has worked diligently to educate and raise awareness about the devastating impact of diabetes among high risk populations throughout New England. Currently, he has been working with various stakeholders around issues of health disparities and access to quality health care for underserved and marginalized communities. A native of Boston, Albert is fluent in Spanish and served as a Peace Corp Volunteer in Paraguay in South America. Albert holds a Bachelor’s degree in Adult Education, and a Masters of Arts in Urban Ministry from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Center for Urban Ministry. He will begin a doctoral program in Practical Theology in Spring 2016. His research will focus on the intersection of spirituality and health.

He is a member of the Coalition for a Healthier Roxbury, the Diabetes Action Alliance of Maine; the Multicultural Diabetes Coalition of Rhode Island, the Diabetes Today Coalition of Lawrence, MA, Brockton Knocks down Diabetes Planning Committee and Old Colony REACH Steering Committee.  In addition to his work in the field of diabetes, Rev. Whitaker also serves as Senior Pastor of Christ Temple Church of Personal Experience in Roxbury, MA. Additionally, Rev. Whitaker serves on the board of directors for Asian Women for Health, a peer-led, community-based network dedicated to advancing the health and wellness of Asian women through education, advocacy and support. Albert has served on the board of the Boston Day and Evening Academy as well as serving as vice chair of the board of City Mission Society of Boston.