January 12, 2016 – The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) has appointed four new members to the Panel of the California Technology Assessment Forum (CTAF). Including the new members, the CTAF Panel is composed of 17 independent California-based experts who represent a broad range of backgrounds, disciplines, and perspectives including medical ethics, outcomes research, methodology, technology assessment, patient advocacy and engagement, and clinical practice. Panel 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.

A list of the new CTAF Panel members with brief biographies is included below. Current CTAF members (with links to their biographies) can be found here.

The next public meeting of CTAF on February 12, 2016 will address two new drug therapies: insulin degludec (Tresiba®, Novo Nordisk) for diabetes and mepolizumab (Nucala®, GlaxoSmithKline) for asthma. Members of the public are invited to attend and can register here.

New Panel Members

Ralph Brindis, MD, MPH, MACC, FSCAI, FAHA
Dr. Brindis is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), serves on the affiliate faculty of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at UCSF, and is the Senior Medical Officer, External Affairs for the American College of Cardiology (ACC) National Cardiovascular Registry. Previously, he was President of the ACC from 2010 to 2011 and the Senior Advisor for Cardiovascular Disease for the Northern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Group from 2003 to 2012. He currently practices as a general adult cardiologist. His interest in process measures and outcomes assessment in cardiovascular care has led to the creation and implementation of various cardiovascular guidelines for Northern California Kaiser Permanente. Dr. Brindis received his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), his MPH from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), his MD from Emory Medical School, and did his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in cardiology at UCSF.

Rena Fox, MD
Dr. Fox is a Professor of Medicine at UCSF, where she has been on the faculty in the division of general internal medicine for 16 years. Dr. Fox is the sole faculty member at UCSF who is both a general internist and an expert in hepatitis C, a combination of skills that is equally rare nationwide. She is internationally recognized as an educator; has given lectures across the U.S.; and has worked with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for a decade on hepatitis C educational tools, national policies, and as the medical editor of the VA Viral Hepatitis website. Before joining the CTAF Panel, she twice served as a clinical expert for the Forum at meetings on the newest treatments for hepatitis C. Dr. Fox received her undergraduate degree at Stanford University, earned her MD at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and did her internal medicine residency at the University of Washington, and was a fellow in general medicine at UCSF, where she received her training from UCSF hepatology faculty in viral hepatitis.

Luanda Grazette, MD, MPH, FACC
Dr. Grazette is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC), where she is also Co-director of Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathy.  Previously, she held the position of Medical Director at Amgen Inc., overseeing early- and late-stage clinical trials in global clinical research. Her main clinical and research interests are in myocardial plasticity and the potential for recovery. Prior to joining the CTAF Panel, she served as a clinical expert at the October 2015 CTAF meeting on two interventions for the management of congestive heart failure. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Alabama, earned her MD and MPH at Harvard University, completed her internship and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, and was a fellow in clinical cardiology at Emory University. After completing her fellowship, Dr. Grazette returned to MGH where she was a staff-physician scientist and heart failure cardiologist for six years before joining Amgen Inc.

Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH
Dr. Melnikow is the Director of the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research and Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, Davis. She previously worked for the Indian Health Service on the Navajo reservation and was on the faculty at MetroHealth/Case Western Reserve University. Her research focuses on cancer screening and prevention in women, patient preferences, cost-effectiveness and value in healthcare, and how evidence is used to formulate health policy. She leads an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)-funded post-doctoral training program in quality, safety, and comparative effectiveness research methods; was a member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force from 2009 to 2012, and was appointed by California Governor Edmund “Jerry” Brown to the Let’s Get Healthy California Task Force in 2012. Dr. Melnikow received her MD from UCSF, her MPH in Epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed her family practice residency training at the University of Massachusetts.

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.

ICER is expanding its team. Please see all our open positions here.