For this week’s faculty spotlight, we talk to Professor Shelby Reed, PhD, who in addition to working within the Division has taught at the Department of Economics, and was on the board of directors of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR).
How long have you been at Duke? How long have you been at the Division?
I have been at Duke and within the Division since 2000, nearly 14 years.
In addition to working at the Division, you’ve taught at the Department of Economics. What was that like?
I was a visiting professor in the Department of Economics where with Lesley Curtis I taught an undergraduate elective course to juniors and seniors. It was a lot of fun. We provided them with an overview of the U.S. health care system and taught them the basics about medical research methods. During the course, each of the students conducted a mini-meta-analysis, wrote a scientific research abstract and completed a decision analysis. We both still receive feedback from the students who took the course. They really enjoyed the applied nature of the work and hearing real-world stories about biomedical research. They’ve gone on to careers in medicine, biomedical engineering, public health and consulting.
What does your work within ISPOR entail?
I have been active in ISPOR since its early days. It has been exciting to be part of an organization that has grown from fewer than 50 members in 1995 to more than 7,300 members from 105 countries today. During my term on the Board of Directors, I was the Chair of the Advisory Board for Value in Health. Our most significant task was to identify a new Editor-in-Chief for the journal. I was also a member of the VISION 2020 Strategic Planning Committee and Chair of the Communications Working Group that reached out to stakeholders to facilitate the translation of outcomes research to promote widespread understanding and use in health care decisions.
Your previous research has included everything from estimating the cost of interventions in heart failure to the finding new treatments for leukemia. How do you choose what to work on next?
There are very few areas of medicine, health policy or medical decision making that I do not find interesting. The same goes for methods. This sometimes makes it hard for me to say “no.” But, I really believe it is my network of fantastic collaborators at the Duke Clinical Research Institute and across the DUHS, the Durham VA and the University.
What areas are you researching at the moment?
Over the past two years, I’ve become engaged in stated preference studies using conjoint analysis. I first ventured into the area in hopes of finding an alternative method to measure health utilities for use in cost-effectiveness analyses. But, now I recognize its potential value as a tool in understanding patient-centered care and delivering patient-directed care. For instance, it can be used to investigate risk-benefit tradeoffs among groups of patients. Or, it can be used in real-time to elicit individual patients’ preferences about treatment options or how they’d prefer to receive medical care. I’ve worked with Laura Havrilesky and Angeles Secord on a discrete choice experiment in women with ovarian cancer to examine acceptable reductions in progression-free survival in return for improvements in side effect profiles associated with chemotherapy. I’m also working with Chad Mather and Ben Streufert on an adaptive conjoint tool to elicit preferences of patients with first-time shoulder dislocation.
Earlier in June, you attended the annual ISPOR conference in Montreal. What was the conference like? What were the most interesting new research or developments that you noticed?
A couple of years ago, comparative effectiveness research was the new buzzword while many asked whether the term represented “old wine in new bottles.” This year, it was big data with excellent presentations on graph analytics and machine learning methods. While the new developments are intriguing, it’s clear that there remains a great deal of interest in using results from economic evaluations to inform resource allocation decisions. Brad Hammill and I led a half-day short course on statistical methods in economic evaluation prior to the meeting. The course was sold-out with attendees from 17 countries representing academia, industry and government organizations.
What do you like to do when you are not at Duke?
I am enjoying this period in my life when I can watch my two kids perform in the sports they love. For my daughter, Olivia, it’s all gymnastics. She’s been a gymnast at Bull City Gymnastics since she was 6 years old, and we travel all around the Southeast to watch her compete. For my son, Nicklaus, it’s seasonal. If it’s fall, it’s soccer. If it’s winter, it’s basketball. If it’s spring, it’s baseball. After they grow up, my husband, Steve, and I can resume golfing and traveling (for fun).