Boston, Mass., March 6, 2012 – The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), a leading academic comparative effectiveness research group based at the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute for Technology Assessment, today announced the new members of the 2012 New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (CEPAC).  The 19 members of CEPAC represent a wide variety of backgrounds, specialties and perspectives, and come from all six New England states.  CEPAC consists of practicing physicians and methodologists with experience in evaluating and using evidence in the practice of healthcare, as well as patient/public members with experience in health policy, patient advocacy and public health. Representatives of state health programs and of regional private payers are included as ex-officio members of CEPAC. A full list of CEPAC members, with brief biographies, is included below. An additional ex-officio member from a regional public payer will be appointed to serve this term.

“We look forward to continuing our work with this distinguished council to produce actionable, relevant information for patients, providers, and policymakers across New England,” stated Steven D. Pearson, MD, MSc, President of ICER.  “In its first year, CEPAC demonstrated the importance and usefulness of adapting federal comparative effectiveness research to make it more relevant for local decision-makers.  Now in its second year, CEPAC is poised to remain a critical part of the efforts to improve quality and value in the health system.”

CEPAC is a regional body whose goal is to provide objective, independent guidance on the application of medical evidence to clinical practice and payer policy decisions across New England.  Supported by a federal grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and with backing from a consortium of New England state health policy leaders, CEPAC will hold public meetings to consider evidence reviews of medical tests and treatments and provide judgments regarding how the evidence can best be used across New England to improve the quality and value of health care services.  ICER is managing the day-to-day operations of CEPAC as part of its federally funded RAPiD (Regional Adaptation for Payer Policy Decisions) initiative meant to develop and test new ways to adapt federal evidence reviews to improve their usefulness for patients, clinicians, and payers.

The next public meeting of CEPAC will be held on Friday, June 1, 2012 in New Hampshire and members of the public are invited to attend.  For more information on CEPAC and how to register to attend the public meeting, please visit the CEPAC website:

Council Members

Ellen Andrews, PhD
Ellen Andrews has been Executive Director of the Connecticut Health Policy Project ( from its inception in 1999. The Project is a non-partisan, non-profit organization working to improve affordable, quality health care for every Connecticut resident. The Project publishes regular policymaker issue briefs, conducts research on Connecticut health policy needs, hosts issue briefings at the Capitol and webinars with health care experts, coordinates a multi-state Health Policy Steering Committee for the Council of State Governments/Eastern Region, publishes Connecticut Health Notes, a bi-weekly electronic newsletter of timely health care issues in Connecticut, and the Connecticut Health Notes blog with updates on state health policy ( The Project also hosts the Consumer Health Action Network (, providing a statewide toll-free helpline assisting any Connecticut consumer with difficulty obtaining needed health care services or coverage. Ms. Andrews serves on over a dozen regional, state and local health policy committees, councils and boards. Ms. Andrews’ prior experience includes positions as Connecticut state legislative staff on health policy, non-profit health care advocacy, prenatal educator at a New Haven community health center, and academic teaching and research. She holds a PhD in Human Genetics from Yale University where she is on the faculty in the School of Nursing.

Robert H. Aseltine, Jr., PhD
Robert H. Aseltine, Jr., PhD is Professor in the Division of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health at the University of Connecticut Health Center, Deputy Director of the Center for Public Health and Health Policy and Director of the Institute for Public Health Research at the University of Connecticut.  He is also the founding Director of the Connecticut Health Information Network, a federated network linking disparate health and human services databases maintained by Connecticut’s state agencies.  Dr. Aseltine is a medical sociologist whose diverse research interests include adolescent mental health and social development, community-based risk prevention, and the development of innovative public health and medical information systems.  He has expertise in quantitative research methods and statistics, particularly in designing large-scale population surveys and program evaluations.  Over the past 20 years Dr. Aseltine has lead a number of studies investigating mental health and substance abuse funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the William T. Grant Foundation, and the Connecticut Health Foundation.  Dr. Aseltine received his BA from Wesleyan University and his PhD from the University of Michigan.  

R. William Corwin, MD
Dr. Corwin is currently working as the Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer at the Miriam Hospital in Providence Rhode Island. He returned to this clinical/administrative role in December, 2007 after four years at Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare where he was the Medical Director for Medical Management and Clinical Policy for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (the insurer). Prior to returning to HPHC, he managed a start up Hospitalist program for three years with a 60 physician group in Rhode Island.   Dr. Corwin was born, raised, and educated in Ohio, graduating from Heidelberg College and The Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1973. His Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Training occurred at Rhode Island Hospital (Brown University Program) and included two years of Infectious Diseases at Emory University. He tried academics for a short six year period of time (at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center)  at which time he realized that research at the basic science level was not his forte and abandoned it for a staff model pulmonary practice in Rhode Island at Rhode Island Group Health (RIGHA).  In the late 80’s and early 90’s his career morphed into a management and administrative role as Rhode Island Group Health Association merged with Harvard Community Health Plan (staff and group model delivery system) which merged with Pilgrim Health Care (IPA model delivery system) to form Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. In 1999 HPHC closed its Rhode Island delivery system.  In 2000 he briefly left the HPHC organization to return to full time practice as the Director of a Hospitalist program before rejoining HPHC in 2003. He continues to work as a Hospitalist at The Miriam Hospital on as needed basis.

D. Joshua Cutler, MD
Dr. Cutler is a Medical Director in MaineHealth’s Clinical Integration section and Executive Director of the Maine Heart Center.  He practiced clinical and interventional cardiology in
Washington, D.C. and in Portland, Maine, until 2007, leaving to participate in the Baldacci administration’s Dirigo health reform programs.  He was a member of the administration’s Commission to Study Maine’s CommunityHospitals and the Advisory Council on Health Systems Development, responsible for development of the State Health Plan.  From 2007 – 2010 Cutler was Director of the Dirigo Health Agency’s Maine Quality Forum, which reports on and promotes health care quality and safety.  At MaineHealth and its member organization the MaineHeartCenter, his work concentrates on accountable care organization development and readiness. He practices clinical cardiology in the VA Maine Healthcare System.  He has held prior medical faculty positions at the University of Oregon, Georgetown University, and the University of Vermont. 

Charles B. Eaton, MD, MS
Charles Eaton, MD, MS is Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Epidemiology at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He also directs the Center for Primary Care and Prevention and the Heart Disease Prevention Center at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island. Dr. Eaton has been continuously funded for the past 20 years as principal investigator on a variety of epidemiologic, translational research and clinical trials related to chronic diseases, cardiovascular risk factor reduction and quality improvement in primary care practice. He has published over 100 peer reviewed articles related to chronic disease epidemiology, primary and secondary prevention, quality improvement, e-health and evidence-based medicine. He is presently principal investigator of the NHLBI funded Women’s Health Initiative, NIAMS funded Osteoarthritis Initiative, NIDDK funded Tailored Lifestyle Intervention in Obese Adults within Primary Care Practice, and  the AHRQ funded eHealth BP Control Program. Dr Eaton’s 30 years of clinical experience and background in primary care, twenty year experience in epidemiology and quality improvement and 10 year experience in e-health and its application to a patient centered medical home provide an important perspective for CEPAC’s proceedings.  

Teresa Fama, MD, MS
Dr. Teresa Fama is a practicing rheumatologist at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, Vermont.  She was appointed recently to the Advisory Committee of the Green Mountain Care Board, whose mission is to establish a single payer health care system in Vermont. Prior to completing her medical training, Dr. Fama was a health policy analyst and consultant in Washington, DC.  She worked in private consulting at Abt Associates and Lewin/ICF, for the Prospective Payment Assessment Commission, and most recently as Deputy Director of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s “Chronic Care Initiatives in HMOs” program.  Dr. Fama completed her medical training at the University of Vermont including residency and fellowship training at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vermont.  She completed undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York with a BA in Political Science and MS in Public Policy Analysis.

Austin Frakt, Ph.D.
Dr. Frakt is a health economist and assistant professor with the Boston University (BU) School of Medicine and the BU School of Public Health. His research interests include the interaction between economics and health care policy, with a focus on patient choice, insurer decision-making and their relations to health and market outcomes.   Dr. Frakt has conducted research studies funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. His work has b
een published in Health Affairs, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, Health Economics, and most recently the New England Journal of Medicine and the Milbank Quarterly. In addition to peer-reviewed literature, Dr. Frakt writes for and manages the popular economics and health policy blog The Incidental Economist.  Dr. Frakt received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in statistical and applied mathematics. He also received a master’s degree from MIT, and his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Applied and Engineering Physics. 

Claudia B. Gruss, MD, FACP, FACG, CNSP (Vice Chair)
Dr. Claudia Gruss is a gastroenterologist and internist and a partner in a multispecialty private practice group in
Connecticut.  She has an undergraduate degree and medical degree from BrownUniversity.  She did her internal medical residency and gastroenterology fellowship at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.  She is board-certified in both internal medicine and gastroenterology and is a certified nutrition support clinician.  She is a Fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology and a Fellow of the AmericanCollege of Physicians.  In her practice, she is responsible for the managed care and government quality improvement incentive programs.  She also is a clinical educator for the Yale-affiliated gastroenterology fellowship program at Norwalk Hospital.  Her other hospital administrative functions include Chair of the Gastro-intestinal Patient Care Evaluation Committee and Chair of the Nutrition and Diet Committee.  Her roles in organized medicine include Chair of the Connecticut State Medical Society Quality of Care Committee and Vice President of the Connecticut State Medical Society.  She is an alternate to the AMA Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement. 

Felix Hernandez, MD, MMM     
Felix Hernandez, MD, MMM is a cardiothoracic surgeon and Chief of Surgery at Eastern Maine Medical Center. He is a graduate of Fairfield University and the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.  He completed his residency in General Surgery at Wayne State University and did his Cardiothoracic Residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  He received his Masters in Medical Management from the Heinz School of Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University.  He is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of Vermont School of Medicine and the University of New England School of Osteopathic Medicine.  He is a founding member of the Northern New England Cardiovascular Study Group and has been involved in outcomes research in cardiovascular medicine and surgery with that group for over 20 years.

Christopher Jones, PhD
A native of Gilford, New Hampshire, Christopher Jones brings unique expertise to CEPAC. As assistant professor of surgery at the University of Vermont (UVM) College of Medicine, his present research focus is on using health information technology combined with incentives to attain cost-effective and cost-beneficial treatments for chronic disease. Dr. Jones also directs the Global Health Economics Unit in the UVM Center for Clinical and Translational Science, and teaches Health Economics in the UVM School of Business Administration. Educated at the University of Michigan (B.Sc. ’99) and University of Oxford (M.Sc. ’00; D.Phil. ’06), Dr. Jones worked for 5 years collaborating with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in London where he served as health economist for the Royal Institute of Psychiatrists’ National Guideline Development Group on six U.K. mental health initiatives. From this experience he gained considerable familiarity with voucher-based incentive programs for treating substance misuse and changing health-related behaviors. Mental health treatments were the center of his work, but not his perimeter. His doctoral dissertation was the first to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of in vitro fertilization (IVF) at the population level, the presentation of which led to national policy changes. Prior to joining UVM in 2011, Dr. Jones worked in international finance and in industry, most recently as director of global health economics for a publicly traded pharmaceutical firm specializing in rare diseases.

William Cyrus Jordan, MD, MPH
Dr. Jordan is the Director of the Vermont Medical Society’s Foundation for Research and Education, a public-benefit corporation that promotes public good through research, education and quality improvement in the field of health.  Dr. Jordan’s principal initial goals are to: 1) design solutions and recruit resources that solve problems identified by Vermont’s rural health care practitioners and their communities; and 2) promote value and science driven health care by facilitating the availability of premier analytic and evaluative resources to public policy decision makers at both the state and local levels.  Dr. Jordan assumed his position at the Foundation after serving as the Medical Director of the Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care, Inc. for 17 years.  Dr. Jordan is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University Of Connecticut School Of Medicine.  He completed both a residency in family medicine at the University of Vermont and a pediatric residency at Boston University.  He received his Masters in Public Health from Harvard University.  Prior to his career in quality measurement and improvement, Dr. Jordan practiced family medicine and pediatrics in inner city Boston and rural Vermont.  Dr. Jordan served as chair of the board of directors of the Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Vermont’s HITECH Regional Extension Center from 2007-2009.  He currently serves on the board of the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center, a federal and state partnership to promote production and service efficiencies in both the private and public sectors including state government, education and health care.  He is on the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and is a member of the University’s Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences.

Joseph Kozachek, MD (ex-officio)
Dr. Kozachek is a graduate of CMDNJ-Rutgers Medical School and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut. He practiced emergency medicine for 17 years in Connecticut and was Director of two emergency departments. He has served on multiple hospital committees and worked extensively with the EMS community, implementing paramedic coverage in Northeastern Connecticut. He was appointed to the State of Connecticut Trauma Committee and chaired the Prehospital Care subcommittee. He served on the Board of Directors and as the President of the Connecticut College of Emergency Physicians. He joined Aetna in 2001 in the Northeast Patient Management department. In 2006, he joined the Aetna Clinical Claims review unit, working extensively with claims and coding policy. In 2008, he joined Aetna Better Health-Connecticut, as the Senior Medical Director responsible for implementing a new unit and plan in the Medicaid Business unit. In 2009, he assumed the role of Chief Medical Officer for Aetna Better Health, CT. He returned to the Northeast Regional Care management area of Aetna in September of 2010 as the Senior Medical Director for New England. Dr. Kozachek has participated in multiple committees within and external to Aetna including working with the Aetna Clinical Policy Committee for over 10 years.

Richard Lopez, MD (Chair)
Dr. Richard Lopez, a physician at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, was appointed Chief Medical Officer of Atrius Health in January 2009. In this position, Dr. Lopez works collaboratively with the Chief Medical Officers and Chief Executive Officers of the five Atrius Health medical groups across a wide range of clinical and quality initiatives. Specifically, Dr. Lopez’s focus includes clinical program and regional project development, clinical aspects of payer/provider contracting, clinical informatics, medical management, and safety and quality, as well as collaborating to develop quality standards and the outcome reporting measures and clinical dashboards that support the medical groups in meeting those standards. More than a 25-year veteran of Harvard Vanguard, Dr. Lopez has made many significant contributions to the organization and was recently the recipient of Harvard Vanguard’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  Dr. Lopez received his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine and completed his residency and internship at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. Dr. Lopez received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston University and is a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School. As a board certified internist, Dr. Lopez has practiced primary care internal medicine at Harvard Vanguard’s Medford practice since 1982. Dr. Lopez serves on several committees including the Performance Measurement Expert Panel of the Massachusetts Healthcare Quality and Cost Council and is a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society Committee on Quality of Medical Practice.  In addition, Dr. Lopez is also on the Board of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Prevention of Medical Errors, chairs the New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (CEPAC) and was appointed to the Statewide Advisory Committee on Standard Quality Measure Sets.

Lori Nerbonne, RN, BSN
Lori began her work in patient safety in 2005 with her sister Kelly Grasso after their mother’s death in 2004 from hospital-acquired conditions and medical errors.  In 2010, she co-founded NH Patient Voices (  She is a member of the NH Healthcare Associated Infection Advisory Committee, works collaboratively with Consumers Union Safe Patient Project as an advocate at the state and national level and has served on patient safety committees at the CDC and DHHS Office of Healthcare Quality.  She has submitted proposals for and testified in support of several state patient safety laws, three of which have passed since 2006.  Prior to her advocacy work, she was a maternal-child health nurse and educator in hospital and community health settings for sixteen years.

Sandhya Rao, MD
Sandhya Rao, MD, is an internist at Women’s Health Associates at Mass General and the Associate Medical Director for Quality Improvement at the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization (MGPO) where she coordinates pay-for-performance initiatives and other quality improvement and incentive projects. She previously served as the team leader for Partners HealthCare High Performance Medicine Team 5, where she was instrumental in developing the Partners Clinical Process Improvement Leadership Program. Before becoming a physician, she worked as a business analyst in the New York office of McKinsey and Company, focusing on health care and finance engagements. She has also held internships at the American Public Health Association, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and the Office of Senator Jack Reed.  Rao earned a bachelor’s degree in community health from Brown University, where she graduated magna cum laude. She attended the New York University School of Medicine, and did her residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in partnership with Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates.

Keith A. Stahl, MD, FACP
A community-based internist for nearly 20 years, Dr. Stahl is the Medical Director for 10 hospital-owned Primary Care Practices in New Hampshire.  Dr. Stahl is a full-time primary care internist and Adjunct Professor at Dartmouth Medical School. After completing his Internal Medicine residency at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital, Dr. Stahl joined the U.S. Air Force.  After receiving his commission as a Captain, he served as a Staff Internist for the 380th Medical Group and received the Air Force Commendation Medal for developing a comprehensive Diabetic Education Clinic.  Since joining the staff at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, NH, Dr. Stahl has served in a number of medical staff roles including Chief of Internal Medicine, Chairman of Credentials, and Medical Staff President, and has had hospital-appointed positions including Physician Advisor for Medical Management and currently serves on the hospital Board of Directors, Corporate Compliance Committee and Quality Management Committee.  

Mitchell Stein, MBA
Mitchell Stein is the Policy Director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care where he is responsible for directing the policy agenda of the organization.  His work includes conducting health policy research and writing reports for advocacy efforts as well as presenting at public forums, including state legislature, press conferences, and other venues. Prior to this role, Mitchell served as a member of the Board of Directors for CAHC as well as doing health care policy consulting work for CAHC and the Maine Council of Churches.  In 2007 Mitchell moved to Maine to work as the Director of Program Coordination for Health Dialog in Portland.  Before that he worked in New York for Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Inc. in various roles including as their Global Intranet Director, as the Marketing Manager for the US Health Care Practice and as Director of the National Survey of Employer-sponsored Health Plans.  He has extensively studied the Affordable Care Act and researched its implementation in and impact on Maine.  He also has extensive background working with various aspects of the heath care environment including insurance benefits designs. Mitchell lives in Cumberland Foreside, Maine with his wife Martha and dog Sheba.  He holds both a BA and MBA from the University of Chicago.

William Taylor, MD
William Taylor is Associate Professor of Population Medicine and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS).  He directs the Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s (BWH’s) residency program in primary care and population medicine affiliated with Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates and the Department of Population Medicine at HMS and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute.  Dr. Taylor has practiced and taught primary care for more than three decades in the hospital-based practice at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).  He serves as associate master of one of HMS’s academic societies.  Dr. Taylor earned his B.A. from Yale, and his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.  He completed his residency in internal medicine and primary care at BostonCityHospital.  He has held multiple roles in medical education at HMS, BIDMC, and BWH.  Dr. Taylor served on the Internal Medicine Certifying Examination Writing Committee of the American Board of Internal Medicine.  He was a Kellogg National Fellow, a Rabkin Fellow in Medical Education at BIDMC, and an associate editor of Journal Watch.  He earned the “Humanism in Medicine” award from HMS and served as Harvard’s LCME faculty fellow for medical school accreditation.  Dr. Taylor has written about medical education, clinical epidemiology, medical interviewing, decision analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, tuberculosis prevention, cancer screening, cholesterol reduction, and the periodic health examination.  He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Preventive Medicine. 

About ICER
The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) is an academic research and policy group based at the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute for Technology Assessment.  ICER provides independent evaluation of the clinical effectiveness and comparative value of health care interventions.  There are several features of ICER’s focus and methodology that distinguish it from other comparative effectiveness assessment organizations.  First, ICER engages more deeply throughout the assessment process with all stakeholders, including patients, clinicians, manufacturers, purchasers, and payers.  ICER also includes as part of all its assessments the results of cost-effectiveness analysis, and translates its findings into ratings of comparative clinical effectiveness and comparative value.  Lastly, ICER works with all stakeholders to develop and evaluate applications of evidence to create innovative patient-clinician decision support tools, insurance benefit designs, and coverage and payment policies.  Through these activities ICER seeks to achieve its ultimate mission of informing public policy and spurring innovation in the use of evidence to improve the value of health care for all.  For more information, please visit