Sean R Tunis

Concordia University–Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

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Publications (92)882.99 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract The interest in Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) in the international community is growing. A panel titled "What Can Comparative Effectiveness Research Contribute to Integrative Health in International Perspective?" took place at the 3rd International Research Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health in Portland, Oregon, in 2012. The presentations at this panel highlighted different perspectives on CER, including the funders' and the stakeholders' perspectives from the United States, as well as experiences with economic evaluations from Australia and pragmatic trials in Europe. The funders' perspective emphasized the need for innovation and controlling costs in large-scale studies. The stakeholder's perspective stressed the need to gather the input of stakeholders in shaping the framework for more informative, more decision-maker-driven research. Several examples of cost-effectiveness analyses were offered from Australia. The importance of balancing rigor and pragmatism was also discussed in a presentation of the efficacy-effectiveness continuum. A wide-ranging discussion explored additional questions concerning the translation of evidence into practice; the effect of pragmatic trials on funding or policy; evidentiary distinctions between and among pragmatic trials and traditional randomized clinical trials; and the multiple roles of stakeholders, particularly in generating new information and knowledge. The presentations and discussions showed that more development of methods is needed. This includes developments on study design and statistical approaches, as well as methods for stakeholder involvement and mechanisms to bring these results into practice.
    Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) 11/2014; · 1.69 Impact Factor
  • Penny E Mohr, Sean R Tunis
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    ABSTRACT: Medicare is one of the largest health care payers in the United States. As a result, its decisions about coverage have profound implications for patient access to care. In this commentary, the authors describe how Medicare used evidence on heterogeneity of treatment effects to make population-based decisions on health care coverage for implantable cardiac defibrillators. This case is discussed in the context of the rapidly expanding availability of comparative effectiveness research. While there is a potential tension between population-based and patient-centered decision making, the expanded diversity of populations and settings included in comparative effectiveness research can provide useful information for making more discerning and informed policy and clinical decisions.
    Journal of managed care pharmacy: JMCP 06/2014; 20(6):547-54. · 2.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This article defines and describes best practices for the academic and business community to generate evidence of clinical utility for cancer molecular diagnostic assays. Beyond analytical and clinical validation, successful demonstration of clinical utility involves developing sufficient evidence to demonstrate that a diagnostic test results in an improvement in patient outcomes. This discussion is complementary to theoretical frameworks described in previously published guidance and literature reports by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Institute of Medicine, and Center for Medical Technology Policy, among others. These reports are comprehensive and specifically clarify appropriate clinical use, adoption, and payer reimbursement for assay manufacturers, as well as Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments-certified laboratories, including those that develop assays (laboratory developed tests). Practical criteria and steps for establishing clinical utility are crucial to subsequent decisions for reimbursement without which high-performing molecular diagnostics will have limited availability to patients with cancer and fail to translate scientific advances into high-quality and cost-effective cancer care. See all articles in this CCR Focus section, "The Precision Medicine Conundrum: Approaches to Companion Diagnostic Co-development." Clin Cancer Res; 20(6); 1428-44. ©2014 AACR.
    Clinical Cancer Research 03/2014; 20(6):1428-44. · 8.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An important challenge in comparative effectiveness research is the lack of infrastructure to support pragmatic clinical trials, which compare interventions in usual practice settings and subjects. These trials present challenges that differ from those of classical efficacy trials, which are conducted under ideal circumstances, in patients selected for their suitability, and with highly controlled protocols. In 2012, we launched a 1-year learning network to identify high-priority pragmatic clinical trials and to deploy research infrastructure through the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards Consortium that could be used to launch and sustain them. The network and infrastructure were initiated as a learning ground and shared resource for investigators and communities interested in developing pragmatic clinical trials. We followed a three-stage process of developing the network, prioritizing proposed trials, and implementing learning exercises that culminated in a 1-day network meeting at the end of the year. The year-long project resulted in five recommendations related to developing the network, enhancing community engagement, addressing regulatory challenges, advancing information technology, and developing research methods. The recommendations can be implemented within 24 months and are designed to lead toward a sustained national infrastructure for pragmatic trials.
    Clinical and Translational Science 01/2014; · 2.33 Impact Factor
  • Sean R Tunis
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    ABSTRACT: Sean R Tunis is the founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Medical Technology Policy in Baltimore (MD, USA). The Center for Medical Technology Policy's main objective is to improve the quality, relevance and efficiency of clinical research by providing a neutral forum for collaboration among experts, stakeholders and decision-makers. Tunis was a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Initial National Priorities for Comparative Effectiveness Research. He advises a wide range of domestic and international public and private healthcare organizations on issues of comparative effectiveness, evidence-based medicine, clinical research, reimbursement and health technology policy. In September of 2005, Tunis was the Chief Medical Officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, where he had lead responsibility for clinical policy for the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Previously, he served as the Director of the Health Program at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and as a health policy advisor to the US Senate, where he worked on pharmaceutical and device policy issues. Tunis trained at the University of California in Los Angeles (CA, USA) and the University of Maryland in Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine (MD, USA) and holds adjunct faculty positions at the Tufts University School of Medicine (MA, USA), the Department of Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (MD, USA), and the Department of Surgery at the University of California at San Francisco (CA, USA).
    Journal of comparative effectiveness research. 01/2014; 3(1):11-16.
  • Sean R Tunis, Donna A Messner
    JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 09/2013; · 29.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is estimated that 6.5 million people in the United States (US) suffer from chronic, non-healing wounds and that this number will grow coincident with an ageing population and increasing rates of obesity and diabetes.
    Journal of Wound Care 09/2013; 22(9):470-80. · 1.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pharmaceutical Pragmatic Clinical Trials (PCTs) are designed to provide the type of evidence that is desired by patients, clinicians and payers but too often missing from traditional regulatory trials. This paper presents framework for designing pragmatic trials incorporating evidence desired by post-regulatory decision makers while remaining within acceptable standards for regulatory approval. Following a stakeholder meeting convened in May of 2009 to identify gaps in information collected in Phase 3 trials, CMTP staff and the authors drafted recommendations for Pragmatic Phase 3 Pharmaceutical Trials. This draft was circulated first to technical working group members for their comments. After revising the document based on these comments, it was distributed electronically to other select experts and then made available for public comment. The final version of the EGD appears on the CMTP website. The process resulted in a set of 10 recommendations for conducting Phase 3 trials that met regulatory needs while addressing information important to physicians, patients, payers, and policy-makers. These recommendations encompassed three primary areas: generalizability from the trial participants to the clinical population of interest; effectiveness relative to active comparators; and consistently measured relevant outcomes for coverage and treatment decisions. Limitations While stakeholders were involved throughout the process, not all recommendations will meet the needs of all stakeholders. Pragmatic trial design need not be deferred until a product is in widespread use. Incremental movement toward more the more pragmatic design of Phase 3 trials is desirable.
    Contemporary clinical trials 08/2013; · 1.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite prodigious advances in tumor biology research, few tumor-biomarker tests have been adopted as standard clinical practice. This lack of reliable tests stems from a vicious cycle of undervaluation, resulting from inconsistent regulatory standards and reimbursement, as well as insufficient investment in research and development, scrutiny of biomarker publications by journals, and evidence of analytical validity and clinical utility. We offer recommendations designed to serve as a roadmap to break this vicious cycle and call for a national dialogue, as changes in regulation, reimbursement, investment, peer review, and guidelines development require the participation of all stakeholders.
    Science translational medicine 07/2013; 5(196):196cm6. · 14.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Summary of recommendations: The Evaluation of Genomic Applications in Practice and Prevention (EGAPP) Working Group (EWG) found that, for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) who are being considered for treatment with cetuximab or panitumumab, there is convincing evidence to recommend clinical use of KRAS mutation analysis to determine which patients are KRAS mutation positive and therefore unlikely to benefit from these agents before initiation of therapy. The level of certainty of the evidence was deemed high, and the magnitude of net health benefit from avoiding potentially ineffective and harmful treatment, along with promoting more immediate access to what could be the next most effective treatment, is at least moderate.The EWG found insufficient evidence to recommend for or against BRAF V600E testing for the same clinical scenario. The level of certainty for BRAF V600E testing to guide antiepidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) therapy was deemed low. The EWG encourages further studies of the potential value of testing in patients with mCRC who were found to have tumors that are wild type (mutation negative) for KRAS to predict responsiveness to therapy.The EWG found insufficient evidence to recommend for or against testing for mutations in NRAS, or PIK3CA, and/or loss of expression of PTEN or AKT proteins. The level of certainty for this evidence was low. In the absence of supporting evidence, and with consideration of other contextual issues, the EWG discourages the use of these tests in guiding decisions on initiating anti-EGFR therapy with cetuximab or panitumumab unless further evidence supports improved clinical outcomes.Rationale: It has been suggested that patients with mCRC whose tumors harbor certain mutations affecting EGFR pathway signaling are typically unresponsive to therapy with anti-EGFR antibodies (cetuximab and panitumumab). The EWG identified recent evidence reviews that have addressed this topic, and this recommendation statement is based on results of these reviews. In developing these recommendations the EWG considered evidence in the areas described below.Analytic validity: Although no research syntheses that have formally evaluated analytic validity of these tests were found, the EWG was able to draw the following conclusions from assessments included in the evidence reviews under consideration. There is adequate evidence that KRAS mutation analysis reliably and accurately detects common mutations (codons 12 and 13), whereas evidence was inadequate for less frequent KRAS mutations (e.g., codon 61). There is also adequate evidence that testing for BRAF V600E accurately and reliably detects the mutation. For common mutations in NRAS, PIK3CA, and expression of PTEN AKT, there is adequate evidence of accurate and reliable detection. However, much less data exist in support. Furthermore, in the specific context of mCRC, no evidence was found on the analytic validity of immunohistochemistry (IHC) assays for PTEN or AKT expression.Clinical validity: For KRAS mutation analysis, the EWG found convincing evidence for association with treatment response to anti-EGFR therapy, independent of prognostic association. For BRAF V600E mutation testing, the EWG found insufficient evidence for association with treatment response to anti-EGFR therapy independent of prognostic association. The EWG found insufficient evidence for association of results of testing for mutations in NRAS or PIK3CA, and loss of expression of PTEN or ATK proteins, with treatment response to anti-EGFR therapy.Clinical utility: For KRAS mutation analysis, the EWG found adequate evidence that improved health outcomes are achieved by avoiding ineffective chemotherapy and potential side effects and expediting access to the next most effective treatment. Inadequate evidence was found regarding association of BRAF V600E mutation testing or loss of PTEN expression with improved health outcomes among patients with mCRC undergoing anti-EGFR therapy as compared with patients with tumors bearing wild-type BRAF sequence and PTEN expression levels, respectively. No evidence was found to support improved health outcomes associated with testing results for NRAS or PIK3CA variants, or AKT protein expression levels in this clinical scenario.Contextual issues: CRC is an important and highly prevalent health problem. Improvements in mCRC outcomes associated with pharmacogenetic testing could have important clinical, and potentially public health, impacts. Adverse events related to cancer chemotherapy can be common and severe. Therefore, successfully optimizing treatment to maximize efficacy and minimize side effects is important for reducing mCRC-related morbidity and mortality.Gene Med advance online publication 21 February 2013Genetics in Medicine (2013); doi:10.1038/gim.2012.184.
    Genetics in medicine: official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics 02/2013; · 3.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Women with breast cancer involving the lymph nodes are typically treated with cytotoxic chemotherapy. Retrospective evaluations of prior studies suggest that the 21-gene test (OncotypeDX®), may allow identification of those who can safely avoid chemotherapy. To better understand the performance of the 21-gene test, the RxPONDER (Rx for Positive Node, Endocrine Responsive breast cancer) study was designed, a multicenter Phase III trial randomizing women with hormone receptor-positive and HER2-negative breast cancer involving 1–3 lymph nodes and a 21-gene assay recurrence score (RS) of 25 or less to endocrine therapy alone versus chemotherapy followed by endocrine therapy. As one of the first large-scale comparative-effectiveness studies in oncology, RxPONDER utilized an external stakeholder group to help inform the design of the trial. Stakeholders met with representatives of SWOG over several months through a structured discussion process. The stakeholder engagement process resulted in several changes being made to the trial design. In addition, stakeholder representatives from the health insurance industry provided guidance regarding a mechanism whereby the costs of OncotypeDX® would be paid by the majority of health insurers as part of the trial. The process may serve as a template for future studies evaluating the comparative effectiveness of genomic tests in oncology, particularly those that are conducted within cooperative clinical trials groups.
    Contemporary clinical trials 01/2013; 34(1):1–9. · 1.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The rise of quality improvement research and comparative effectiveness research in health care settings constitutes progress toward the goal of what the Institute of Medicine has called a “learning healthcare system,” in which we are “drawing research closer to clinical practice by building knowledge development and application into each stage of the healthcare delivery process.” As clinical research and clinical practice move closer to a deliberately integrated system, the distinction between the two is increasingly blurred, although the sharp distinction in U.S. regulations and research ethics literature remains in place. In the 1970s and for two decades thereafter, this distinction was helpful: for some forms of research, it sheds light on which activities require ethical oversight. Research that is closely integrated with health care—notably, health delivery research—was then uncommon, however. That is no longer the case, and regulations and research ethics need to change to accommodate the new landscape. In this paper, we argue that conceptual, moral, and empirical problems surround the received view that we can and should draw sharp distinctions between clinical research and clinical practice. We start with the history of the research-practice distinction in the reports of a U.S. national commission and in U.S. federal regulations, and then offer a critical assessment of five characterizations of research that have been used in policy documents and the scholarly literature to try to make a sharp distinction between research and practice. We challenge the clarity and the tenability of these characterizations as a way of distinguishing research from practice. We argue that the received view of the research-practice distinction leads to overprotection of the rights and interests of patients in some cases and to underprotection in others. We contend that a new ethical foundation needs to be developed that facilitates both care and research likely to benefit patients, and that provides oversight that, rather than being based on a distinction between research and practice, is commensurate with risk and burden in both realms.
    Hastings Center Report 01/2013; 43(s1).
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    ABSTRACT: Calls are increasing for American health care to be organized as a learning health care system, defined by the Institute of Medicine as a health care system “in which knowledge generation is so embedded into the core of the practice of medicine that it is a natural outgrowth and product of the healthcare delivery process and leads to continual improvement in care.” We applaud this conception, and in this paper, we put forward a new ethics framework for it. No such framework has previously been articulated. The goals of our framework are twofold: to support the transformation to a learning health care system and to help ensure that learning activities carried out within such a system are conducted in an ethically acceptable fashion.
    Hastings Center Report 01/2013; 43(s1).
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    ABSTRACT: Examining the patient's subjective experience in prospective clinical comparative effectiveness research (CER) of oncology treatments or process interventions is essential for informing decision making. Patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures are the standard tools for directly eliciting the patient experience. There are currently no widely accepted standards for developing or implementing PRO measures in CER. Recommendations for the design and implementation of PRO measures in CER were developed via a standardized process including multistakeholder interviews, a technical working group, and public comments. Key recommendations are to include assessment of patient-reported symptoms as well as health-related quality of life in all prospective clinical CER studies in adult oncology; to identify symptoms relevant to a particular study population and context based on literature review and/or qualitative and quantitative methods; to assure that PRO measures used are valid, reliable, and sensitive in a comparable population (measures particularly recommended include EORTC QLQ-C30, FACT, MDASI, PRO-CTCAE, and PROMIS); to collect PRO data electronically whenever possible; to employ methods that minimize missing patient reports and include a plan for analyzing and reporting missing PRO data; to report the proportion of responders and cumulative distribution of responses in addition to mean changes in scores; and to publish results of PRO analyses simultaneously with other clinical outcomes. Twelve core symptoms are recommended for consideration in studies in advanced or metastatic cancers. Adherence to methodologic standards for the selection, implementation, and analysis/reporting of PRO measures will lead to an understanding of the patient experience that informs better decisions by patients, providers, regulators, and payers.
    Journal of Clinical Oncology 10/2012; · 17.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: There is a need for more Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) to strengthen the evidence base for clinical and policy decision-making. Effectiveness Guidance Documents (EGD) are targeted to clinical researchers. The aim of this EGD is to provide specific recommendations for the design of prospective acupuncture studies to support optimal use of resources for generating evidence that will inform stakeholder decision-making. METHODS: Document development based on multiple systematic consensus procedures (written Delphi rounds, interactive consensus workshop, international expert review). To balance aspects of internal and external validity, multiple stakeholders including patients, clinicians and payers were involved. RESULTS: Recommendations focused mainly on randomized studies and were developed for the following areas: overall research strategy, treatment protocol, expertise and setting, outcomes, study design and statistical analyses, economic evaluation, and publication. CONCLUSION: The present EGD, based on an international consensus developed with multiple stakeholder involvement, provides the first systematic methodological guidance for future CER on acupuncture.
    BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 09/2012; 12(1):148. · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To provide an update on recent revisions to Evaluation of Genomic Applications in Practice and Prevention (EGAPP) methods designed to improve efficiency, and an assessment of the implications of whole genome sequencing for evidence-based recommendation development. Improvements to the EGAPP approach include automated searches for horizon scanning, a quantitative ranking process for topic prioritization, and the development of a staged evidence review and evaluation process. The staged process entails (i) triaging tests with minimal evidence of clinical validity, (ii) using and updating existing reviews, (iii) evaluating clinical validity prior to analytic validity or clinical utility, (iv) using decision modeling to assess potential clinical utility when direct evidence is not available. EGAPP experience to date suggests the following approaches will be critical for the development of evidence based recommendations in the whole genome sequencing era: (i) use of triage approaches and frameworks to improve efficiency, (ii) development of evidence thresholds that consider the value of further research, (iii) incorporation of patient preferences, and (iv) engagement of diverse stakeholders. The rapid advances in genomics present a significant challenge to traditional evidence based medicine, but also an opportunity for innovative approaches to recommendation development.Genet Med advance online publication 6 September 2012.Genetics in Medicine (2012); doi:10.1038/gim.2012.106.
    Genetics in medicine: official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics 09/2012; · 3.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pragmatic clinical trials (PCTs) seek to improve the generalizability and increase the statistical power of traditional explanatory trials. They are a major tenet of comparative effectiveness research. While a powerful study design, PCTs have been limited by high cost, modest efficiency, and limited ability to fill relevant evidence gaps. Based on an American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) supported meeting of national stakeholders, we propose several innovations and future research that could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of such studies focused in the U.S. Innovations discussed include optimizing the use of community based practices through partnership with Practice Based Research Networks (PBRNs), using information technology to simplify PCT subject recruitment, consent and randomization processes, and utilizing linkages to large administrative databases, such as Medicare, as a mechanism to capture outcomes and other important PCT variables with lower subject and research team burden. Testing and adaptation of such innovations to PCT are anticipated to improve the public health value of these increasingly important studies.
    Contemporary clinical trials 07/2012; 33(6):1211-6. · 1.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is a growing appreciation that our current approach to clinical research leaves important gaps in evidence from the perspective of patients, clinicians, and payers wishing to make evidence-based clinical and health policy decisions. This has been a major driver in the rapid increase in interest in comparative effectiveness research (CER), which aims to compare the benefits, risks, and sometimes costs of alternative health-care interventions in 'the real world'. While a broad range of experimental and nonexperimental methods will be used in conducting CER studies, many important questions are likely to require experimental approaches - that is, randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Concerns about the generalizability, feasibility, and cost of RCTs have been frequently articulated in CER method discussions. Pragmatic RCTs (or 'pRCTs') are intended to maintain the internal validity of RCTs while being designed and implemented in ways that would better address the demand for evidence about real-world risks and benefits for informing clinical and health policy decisions. While the level of interest and activity in conducting pRCTs is increasing, many challenges remain for their routine use. This article discusses those challenges and offers some potential ways forward.
    Clinical Trials 07/2012; 9(4):436-46. · 1.94 Impact Factor
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    Value in Health 06/2012; 15(4):A13. · 2.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This project used a stakeholder-driven process to understand the factors that drive the selection of study designs for comparative effectiveness research (CER). The project assembled a diverse stakeholder committee to explore the basis of a translation framework and gathered input through surveys, interviews and an in-person meeting. Stakeholders recommended different study designs for the CER topic areas and identified different outcomes as the most important outcomes to study in each area. During the discussions, stakeholders described a variety of factors that influenced their study design recommendations. The stakeholder activities resulted in the identification of several key themes, including the need to have a highly specific detailed research question before discussing appropriate designs and the need to use multiple studies, potentially of different designs, to address the CER topic areas. The insights and themes from this project may inform efforts to develop a translation table.
    Journal of comparative effectiveness research. 05/2012; 1(3):281-92.

Publication Stats

4k Citations
882.99 Total Impact Points


  • 2013
    • Concordia University–Ann Arbor
      Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
    • Christiana Care Health System
      Wilmington, Delaware, United States
  • 2009–2013
    • Center for Medical Technology Policy
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1994–2013
    • Johns Hopkins University
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2012
    • University of Maryland Medical Center
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
    • University of Alabama at Birmingham
      • Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Education
      Birmingham, AL, United States
    • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
      • Department of Health Policy and Management
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2010–2012
    • University of Maryland, Baltimore
      • School of Pharmacy
      Baltimore, MD, United States
    • Duke University Medical Center
      • Duke Clinical Research Institute
      Durham, NC, United States
    • University of California, San Francisco
      San Francisco, California, United States
  • 1991–2011
    • Johns Hopkins Medicine
      • Department of Medicine
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2003–2005
    • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States