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Averting Armageddon


Important extra-departmental activities
Howard Hiatt Physician
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I spoke earlier about the reluctance of the departments at the school to take on some of the new activities that I thought, and some of my colleagues thought, could be so productive to address public health problems. And, we set up a series of units outside of the departments. One that was particularly useful, and I think important, was the Center for the Analysis of Health Practices which was directed by a colleague of mine who had come to join me from Beth Israel Hospital, Howard Frazier. And Howard, a marvellous teacher, wonderful doctor, and a... a great mentor for young people, had around him a group of people who have since become really very well known: Harvey Fineberg, who's now the President of the Institute of Medicine; Milton Weinstein, who is one of the leaders, perhaps the leader, in medical decision-making, and its teaching and its research; Don Berwick, who is the, perhaps the leading figure in quality of medical care issues in this country and around the world - he has a, actually an honorary knighthood from the Queen for his work in the UK.

Emerged... what emerged from their activities was a great deal of research, research that was encouraged by Herb Sherman, the engineer whom I had described earlier, and who came with me from Beth Israel Hospital, and they looked at a whole range of medical practices, evaluated them and published work on their effectiveness or lack of it. Milt Weinstein wrote the first book on the use of decision science in medical decision-making and that's... he has since really spawned a field. In addition, we began a series of courses for physicians, for medical hospital leaders, for people in medicine in a range of areas, courses that focused on economics and on management science, and for those activities we recruited a number of people from the Harvard Business School who have actually... many of whom have stayed on at the school and who have been leaders in their field. That was... those were some examples of extra-departmental activities that I thought were quite important.

Born in 1925, American Howard Hiatt set up one of the first medical oncology research and training units in the US and has headed up some of America's most prestigious medical institutions. Hiatt attended Harvard College and received his MD from the Harvard Medical School in 1948. He was a member of the team at the Pasteur Institute, Paris, that first identified and described mRNA, and he was among the first to demonstrate mRNA in mammalian cells. From 1991 to 1997, he was Secretary of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, where he began and directs the Academy's Initiatives For Children program. He is also committed to helping disadvantaged people access decent health care.

Listeners: Milton C. Weinstein

Milton C. Weinstein, Ph.D., is the Henry J. Kaiser Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. At the Harvard School of Public Health he is Academic Director of the Program in Health Decision Science, and Director of the Program on Economic Evaluation of Medical Technology . He is best known for his research on cost-effectiveness of medical practices and for developing methods of economic evaluation and decision analysis in health care. He is a co-developer of the CEPAC (Cost-Effectiveness of Preventing AIDS Complications) computer simulation model, and has conducted studies on prevention and treatment of HIV infections. He is the co-developer of the Coronary Heart Disease Policy Model, which has been used to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of cardiovascular prevention and treatment. He is an author of four books: Decision Making in Health and Medicine: Integrating Evidence and Values; Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine,the report of the Panel of Cost Effectiveness in Health and Medicine; Clinical Decision Analysis; and Hypertension: A Policy Perspective.He has also published more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed medical, public health, and economics journals. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Award for Career Achievement from the Society for Medical Decision Making. Dr. Weinstein received his A.B. and A.M. in Applied Mathematics (1970), his M.P.P. (1972), and his Ph.D. in Public Policy (1973) from Harvard University.

Tags: Center for the Analysis of Health Practices, Howard Frazier, Harvey Fineberg, Milton Weinstein, Don Berwick, Herb Sherman

Duration: 3 minutes, 20 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2006

Date story went live: 24 January 2008