Dana Alden, PhD
Ellen Engelhardt, PhD
Deputy Editor
by Dana Alden , PhD; The University of Hawai`i

Dear SMDM Members,

It’s hard for me to believe, but this is my last SMDM Newsletter. Serving as editor for the past two and a half years has been a hoot! In this position, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many incredible people in the Society. In collaboration with our editorial team, three Presidents, numerous Board members, regular contributors, and scores of individual Commentary authors, I’ve enjoyed playing a small role in bringing the insightful and interesting experiences of our Society to all of you. During my service as Editor, we’ve modified the layout of the Newsletter, added regular columns on health care political news (thank you Mark Liebow !) as well as SMDM Interest Group news (thank you John Friend !), and endeavored to further improve the Commentary section of the Newsletter – the section that is member-driven and provides all of us with the opportunity to discuss issues that are important to the present and future of quality health care.
On that note, after you get what we in Hawai`i call “chicken skin” while reading Angie Fagerlin ’s final President’s Letter in which she offers well-deserved thanks to the Society’s many dedicated volunteers and very effective staff, be sure to take-in the announcement regarding our new, awesome SMDM Newsletter Editor, Brian Zikmund-Fisher . Then, scroll down to a very interesting commentary from Øystein Eiring on field testing of an exciting new Medicine Optimization Framework that facilitates SDM for patients who suffer from chronic disease; an informative review by Yew Kong Lee and colleagues of workshops sponsored by SMDM, held in Malaysia, and led by our own Anne Stiggelbout ; an insightful and thought provoking article by Ava John-Baptiste on efforts to address historic and structural disparities in health care and other areas between indigenous peoples and more recent immigrants to Canada; and last, but never least, a wrap up of the latest Washington DC scoops from Mark Liebow , our official U.S. capitol correspondent.
After the Commentaries, take a moment to “elaborate” on the two meeting announcements. The first about our upcoming meeting in Pittsburgh will get you geared up if you’re already attending and make you want to join us if you’re not! It’s not too late you know! The second announces what will definitely be an exciting, stimulating, and way fun Biennial European Conference in Leiden, Netherlands this summer.  But wait there’s more …. announcements of this year's SMDM Award Winners and new Board Members, the latest research news, descriptions of new positions, and various member initiatives all follow. So make a cup of whatever you like most, sit down, and enjoy!

As I sign off, I know I’m leaving the Newsletter in very capable and creative hands with the appointment of our next Editor, Brian Zikmund-Fisher as well as Ellen Engelhardt’s continued top notch service as Deputy Editor and Trevor Scholl’s incredibly organized approach to keeping the ball rolling. For our more junior members, I can’t encourage you enough to consider volunteering for the SMDM Newsletter at some point down the road. It’s a great way to serve the Society while meeting our amazing members and learning about the diverse and important research they are conducting.
Well … that’s it for me. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you in Pittsburgh!  

Aloha, Dana
Angie Fagerlin, PhD
by Angie Fagerlin, PhD Chair of Population Health Sciences, Research Scientist, University of Utah, Salt Lake City VA Center for Informatics Decision Enhancement and Surveillance (IDEAS)

What a Year!

What a year, what a year, what a mighty good year (at least for our Society—no discussion of geopolitics in this column!). It has been an honor to be the President of this wonderful Society. The work our members do individually and what our Society does at large are nothing short of amazing. We are addressing key issues in modeling, decision making, and policy. We are influencing the National Academy of Medicine, PCORI, the VA, the FDA, NIH and much more. We need to continue this work, particularly in terms of our relationships with clinical societies. We have collaborated with the American Urological Association to teach shared decision making to urologists and to highlight the need for shared decision making across urological diseases. This is a great first step, but we need to continue to reach out to other societies so that the skills we have to offer can inform their practice and research.

Over the last year, we have begun to work on incorporating patients into our Society. We have invited patients to review for our journals, to participate in our strategic objectives, and to help plan our annual meeting. I look forward to hearing patients’ voices and perspectives throughout this Society in the coming years. As a colleague told me, if any society should reflect patients’ voices it should be our Society. We should be leaders in this area and not followers. We must work hard to fulfill this obligation. 

It has been a wonderful experience to serve our Society over the last year and I am very grateful to have been chosen for this role. Over the last 4 years, as I have served as Vice President and President (and the elect years), I have been amazed at the generosity of people on the Board and within the Society, who have worked so hard to make sure we are on track for achieving our strategic objectives, who plan our annual meetings (North American and European), and who work to make our Society run better. Our volunteers are incredible, but this Society wouldn’t be as successful if we didn’t have additional help, leadership and guidance.

I don’t think we often acknowledge the incredible work done by our Executive Director Jill Metcalf . For over a decade, those of us on the Board have been more successful in achieving our aims and we have been kept somewhat sane because of the significant contributions Jill makes to our Society each and every day. Jill understands and remembers the last decade of our history (e.g., why we made decisions we did, the beliefs behind the policies). She guides us through intense and time-consuming negotiations (e.g., the processes for choosing an editor and renewing or putting out bids for publishers of our journal). She helps us in more ways that I can describe here. We are primarily a volunteer-based Society, but even with as much as Board or committee members want to volunteer, we often don’t have as much time as we would like to devote. Jill has really made our Society tick and continue to succeed. I have been very grateful for her counsel and her work throughout this year.

Our colleagues at PMA (Professional Management Associates), Trevor Scholl and Lori Battista are also key to our Society’s success. Trevor does nearly everything and a week did not go by where he didn’t answer a question or help me in some way or another. We are very lucky to have had him increase his role within our Society. As we are about to embark on Pittsburgh, we are very fortunate to have Lori help Ken Smith and Janel Hanmer organize and prepare for our meeting. Many of the things that must occur for the meeting to go smoothly (the food, the AV etc.) are smooth because of Lori.

There are so many people who make this Society smart, fun, well organized, and successful. Some of us have a column to remind you of their contribution. But the vast majority go unsung and unacknowledged. I can’t, and won’t, list them all here. But know that the Society thrives by those that volunteer their time as well as those who support us daily as do Jill, Trevor, and Lori. And in case you are feeling inspired to join in the fun of making our Society tick—there are numerous ways that you too can join, and enjoy the satisfaction of contributing to our success (if you need ideas email me!).

I wish our new Board a very successful year. It is an incredible group of individuals and I look forward to seeing what we can achieve.

Can’t wait to see many of you in Pittsburgh! May you all have on-time, upgraded, and easy travel.
Brian Zikmund-Fisher, PhD
As Dana Alden’s term as SMDM Newsletter Editor comes to a close, we are very pleased to announce that Brian Zikmund-Fisher will assume the Editorship beginning with the Winter 2018 issue. Most of us are well-aware of Brian’s many contributions to the field in general and SMDM in particular. But, to provide additional background, here is his bio-narrative. When you have a moment, please congratulate Brian on his new role during the SMDM Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh and feel free to speak with him about any ideas you have for upcoming newsletter commentaries and/or format improvements, etc. 

Brian is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan (UM) School of Public Health, a Research Associate Professor in the UM Department of Internal Medicine, Associate Director of the UM Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, and a member of the UM Health Informatics Program. He is also an Associate Editor of Medical Decision Making and Medical Decision Making: Policy and Practice and a former Trustee of SMDM.

Brian received his Ph.D. in Behavioral Decision Theory (a combination of decision psychology and behavioral economics) from Carnegie Mellon University. He uses this interdisciplinary background to study factors that affect people’s ability to use data to make better, more informed, and value congruent health and medical decisions. An author of over 120 peer-reviewed articles, Brian employs iterative experiments and user-centered design to develop visual displays and other communication formats to make quantitative health information such as risk estimates and test data more intuitively meaningful to patients, providers, and the public more generally. He also studies how and when to use narratives (stories) in health communications and the design of effective and memorable science communications for non-scientist audiences. Brian’s topical interests have included: vaccination, diabetes, genetic testing, dioxin exposure, and cancer prevention, treatment, and survivorship.

At Michigan, Brian teaches graduate courses in risk communication and designing health messages. He is also working with several collaborators to explore the use of improvisational theater games as tools for building health and science communication skills.
The opinions stated in the following commentaries are solely those of the authors and do not reflect the opinions of the Society for Medical Decision Making.
Øystein Eiring ,
Personal Health Optimization Support
by  Øystein Eiring , MD, PhD; Editor, Norwegian Health Library of Mental Health, National Institute of Public Health, Head of Healthcare Services, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Norway

Shared decision-making (SDM) has value in itself, but the benefits of the approach should go far beyond patient involvement. When decisions are preference-sensitive, by simple logic, it is not possible to identify the treatments most likely to help without including what is important to the patient. The importance of merging preferences and evidence, which is still not fully recognized, strikes the core of medicine - providing the best, possible treatment and improving health. Patient decision aids (DAs) could enable this crucial match of preferences and research. However too few DAs are used by doctors and some serve as little more than advanced versions of patient education.

Current decision aids also predominantly focus on simplified, one-off decisions, rather than supporting the difficult selection and adjustment of multiple treatments faced year after year by people with long-term conditions. This missed opportunity is significant, as chronic conditions currently are by far the most detrimental and expensive group of diseases to treat. Up to half of patients do not take their treatment as agreed, large numbers do not make lifestyle changes that would greatly benefit them, and many do not receive the support and knowledge they need to feel and become empowered.

Medicine optimization is a novel approach advocating a comprehensive, patient-focused approach to health and treatment. We have used this framework, together with shared decision-making, single subject research designs, and multi-criteria decision analysis to construct a personal health optimization system . Consisting of a personal website and an app, the system constitutes a shared platform where patients, clinicians, and caretakers can collaborate on all aspects of improving the patient´s health, within a mathematically sound framework.

The service ( ) integrates systematically collected knowledge from the patient, doctor, and research with patient preferences, and provides a continuously updated ranking of current treatments reflecting the likely value for the patient. It supports the patient in taking the treatment and adhering to lifestyle measures. The system also allows for extensive collaboration and decision-process improvement. Most importantly, the new service allows for continuous, scientific evaluation of the effects of treatments, and other aspects of life, on one individual. In a recently published study in BMC Medical Informatics and Medical Decision Making , our system was found to be feasible and well-received by all stakeholders.

Clinicians´ memories and computing powers are limited. Why not take advantage of patient-centered, research-based technology to optimize patients´ health?
Yew Kong Lee
Roundtables on Shared Decision Making Implementation in Malaysia
by Yew Kong Lee, Chirk Jenn Ng, Ping Yein Lee, Anne Stiggelbout, Wei Wen Chong, Su May Liew, Julia Patrick Engkasan, Wen Ting Tong, Praveena Asokan

Shared decision making (SDM) in Malaysia is still in its infancy. Efforts to disseminate the concept to a wider practice audience began in 2014 with a one-day SDM introductory workshop organised by the Shared Decision Making Journal Club based in Kuala Lumpur. Following this, a two day workshop with an increased focus on implementation was held in August 2016. It was held with the support of the Society for Medical Decision Making, who sponsored Prof Anne Stiggelbout to attend and present during the workshop.

Twenty-seven participants joined the workshop from diverse disciplines including: Primary care, Pharmacy, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Oncology, Dentistry, Surgery, Palliative Care, Rehabilitation Medicine, Ophthalmology and Paediatrics. While the majority were healthcare professionals and academicians from the Ministry of Health and universities, there were also representatives from non-governmental organisations present. The participants were divided into five roundtable groups: two groups for primary care medicine and one each for surgical and obstetrics & gynaecology, rehabilitation and palliative medicine, and pharmacy.

Moderated discussions helped the participants to consider and explore the issues related to SDM implementation in their disciplines. All disciplines agreed that SDM was important for clinical practice and could readily identify contexts exemplifying this such as the use of glucosamine for knee osteoarthritis, surgery for low back pain, community versus hospital-based delivery of palliative care. Important cultural issues that were discussed included the option of traditional medicines, how such options should be incorporated during SDM discussions, and the choice of ‘halal’ medicines based on Islamic guidance.

Participants also highlighted ways that SDM practice could impact patient-doctor relationships, for example, by allowing doctors to understand patient values, or conversely, by having doctors label patients who express their opinions and preferences as difficult. It was also important to gauge the receptiveness of health authorities towards SDM, as they may view SDM as being too ‘touchy feely’ and would prefer clinicians to be more directive when guiding patients. Thus, while workshop participants viewed SDM as a positive approach to medical decision making, they felt existing cultural and organisational barriers needed to be addressed during implementation .

Post-workshop, a number of projects have been initiated. These include a patient decision aid for recurrent ovarian cancer and teaching SDM at cancer patient survivor meetings. Presently, Malaysia’s national health system is exploring strategies to make the healthcare delivery more patient-centred, and we hope that SDM will inform this process. 
Ava John-Baptiste, PhD
Dreamers, Nightmares and Reveille
by Ava John-Baptiste , PhD; Assistant Professor, Western University

The land on which Western University exists is the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Attawandaron (Neutral), and Wendat peoples
Talk of travel bans and amnesty for “dreamers” have been a part of public discourse in the United States through much of 2017. These young people, brought to the United States by their parents as children, have recently had their precarious immigration status threatened by President Trump. In the midst of this discussion on the sovereign rights of nations to protect their borders, my thoughts turn to the original residents of North America. For indigenous people, who inhabited these lands long before the arrival of Europeans, before the enslavement and forced migration of Africans, and before successive waves of immigration brought people from around the world, the irony of protecting borders must be stark.
In a way, we are, almost all of us, dreamers.
As I observe the inflammatory debate over “dreamers” I occupy a complex space in Canada. My parents immigrated to Montreal, from Trinidad in the 1960s. On the first day my mother walked into high school, in the suburb of Lachine, Anglophone schoolmates spit on her face. The sentiment was, “ Blacks get out.” In the ensuing decades, hostility arising from French Canadian nationalism caused these very same Anglophones to quit Montreal in large numbers and resettle for the most part in Toronto. My parents went with them. The sentiment was, “ Anglos get out.”
Despite the challenges and complexities, I am proud to be Canadian. This year, Canada celebrated its 150 th anniversary. The country has been built on territory effectually owned by First Nations and Inuit peoples. [1] In a way, those of us who are not indigenous to these lands are all dreamers. We descend, if you will, from illegal occupants of North America. What should our sentiment be?
The nightmare
Our dreams have been others nightmares. Wars, diseases, residential schools – a racist, paternalistic legislated assimilation, have inflicted and continue to inflict tremendous damage on indigenous communities in Canada. Organizations like the Assembly of First Nations advocate for greater investments in order to strengthen indigenous communities. [2] The Canadian government has proposed enhanced partnership initiatives, investments in primary and secondary education, and housing initiatives on reserves. [3] , [4] The goal is to begin correcting the dramatic imbalance in security, health and well-being between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in Canada. [5] However, Canadian politicians will only deliver if Canadians make it a priority. The opportunity cost of reducing inequity in health and social services for indigenous people may be the ability to derive marginal gains from investing in non-indigenous people. 
In September 2017, Jane Philpott, widely recognized as a highly successful Minister of Health during her 22-month tenure in the position, took over as Minister of Indigenous Services. [6] In this position, she will oversee and hopefully innovate the delivery of health services to indigenous peoples. The decision to invest in our indigenous communities would be an appropriate acknowledgement of our collective indebtedness. It would also be a prudent investment in Canada’s future. In Canada, almost one-half of indigenous people are under the age of 25. The well-being and prosperity of indigenous communities is in fact our future.

[1] Our home on Native Land. Available from:

[2] Assembly of First Nations. Available from:

[3] Government of Canada 2017 Budget Plan. Available from:

[4] Government of Canada 2016 Chapter 3 - A Better Future for Indigenous Peoples Available from:
[5] Aboriginal Peoples: Fact Sheet for Canada. Available from:

[6] Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Available from:
Mark Liebow,
ACA Not Repealed, Appropriations Safe For Now
by Mark Liebow , MD, MPH, Mayo Clinic

Despite several tries and a lot of drama, Senate Republicans were unable to get 50 votes to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act in time to take advantage of budget reconciliation rules that prevent a filibuster. That opportunity expired on September 30, at the end of the Federal fiscal year. It looks as if next year’s budget reconciliation resolution will focus on taxes instead. In the meantime, the Trump Administration has cut back on ACA outreach funds and shortened the open enrollment period. As this is being written, the CHIP program, which funds care for children whose families are just above the eligibility limits for Medicaid, is about to expire. However, most states have enough money to continue it for a while and there will be efforts to reauthorize it next month.

Rather than pass a full federal budget by October 1, Congress passed a continuing resolution in September that funded the government into December at the same level of appropriations. Given Trump’s proposed budget and what the House had agreed to appropriate for Fiscal Year 2018 for many agencies, the continuing resolution is a (temporary) victory for those who want to avoid decreases or see small increases in what the Federal government spends on medical and scientific research. No one is certain about what will happen in December, because of deep disagreements on how much to spend on defense and non-defense appropriations combined with the sequestration limits. However, the NIH remains quite popular and is likely to get more money for Fiscal Year 2018, avoiding the deep cuts called for in the Trump budget.

Gopal Khanna is the new head of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Previously, he was the director of the Illinois Health and Human Services Innovation Incubator. Mr. Khanna has a background in health IT and patient data. Scott Gottlieb, M.D. is the new Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration where he previously served as a Deputy Commissioner. He’s an internist and was a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Finally, Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. remains the NIH director, now in his ninth year, the longest anyone has been in that job since the mid 20 th century. 
Join Us in Pittsburgh for the 2017 Annual Meeting!
by Co-Chairs :   Ken Smith , MD, MS, FACP and Janel Hanmer , MD, PhD

The 39th Annual SMDM North American Meeting, October 22-25, 2017, offers researchers, clinicians, and policy makers the opportunity to exchange insights, tools, and new opportunities to explore how to make  Better Decisions Through Better Data Processes , this year's meeting theme.  We invite you to join us for this informative, engaging, and fun meeting in Pittsburgh.
We are thrilled that Kathleen Sebelius, former US Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, who worked to pass and implement the Affordable Care Act, will be this year’s keynote speaker. In addition, there is a full slate of symposia, with topics ranging from advances in informatics to FDA’s regulatory developments to discussions of applied uses of electronic health records. As usual for SMDM meetings, there are fantastic Sunday short courses (19 in all!), oral abstracts (90+!), and poster presentations (220+!).
Outside of the scientific meeting, we hope you will take advantage of numerous opportunities to explore Pittsburgh, an increasingly beloved destination for visitors and a favorite place for travel, food, and cultural correspondents. The meeting hotel is in the heart of downtown with easy access to restaurants, museums, and bike trails. Our social event, on the Monday evening of the meeting, is at Il Tetto, a rooftop bar/restaurant, an ideal spot to catch up with old friends and make some new ones while enjoying excellent food and drink. Rounding out the festivities will be opportunities to have Dinners with Experts at various Pittsburgh restaurants, as well as pre- and post-meeting Events with Locals.
We look forward to welcoming you (or welcoming you back) to Pittsburgh. Don't miss it!
Career Development Activities at the 39th Annual Meeting
The SMDM Career Development Committee is excited to offer a range of career development activities at the upcoming 39 th Annual Meeting!

One-to-One Mentoring Program
The Career Development Committee facilitates the matching of mentees to mentors based on research interests. Please contact Austin Nam ( ), Jesse Elliott ( ) or Teresa Tsui ( ) with queries.

Dinners with Experts
We invite you to attend informal group dinners hosted by senior members of the Society on Sunday, October 22 and Tuesday, October 24. The dinners are self-pay. Click to sign up for Dinners with Experts .

Please contact Austin Nam ( ), Jesse Elliott ( ) or Teresa Tsui ( ) with queries.

Trainee Luncheon
This lunch, held on the first day of the meeting, is a wonderful opportunity for trainees to meet and talk informally with each other and with senior members. Conversations continue over the course of the meeting. Sign up for the lunch with conference registration. Please contact Tara Lavelle ( ) with queries.

CV and Job Book
Are you on the job market? Are you hiring? The CV/Job book will be made available via e-mail, SMDM Connect, and through the meeting app. Please contact David Chartash ( ) or Cara McDermott ( ) with queries.

Career Development Panel: Early Career Development
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
12:30 – 1:20 PM

Panelists will address how to launch a career in a variety of settings. Moderated questions will be followed by an open question and answer period.


Michael J. Barry, MD , is Director of the Informed Medical Decisions Program within the Health Decision Sciences Center at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a physician at MGH. His research interests include defining the outcomes of different strategies for the evaluation and treatment of prostate diseases, decision analysis, health status measurement, clinical quality improvement, and the use of decision aids to facilitate patient participation in decision making. He is also a past president of the Society for Medical Decision Making. Dr. Barry continues to practice adult primary care at MGH and serves as medical director of the John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation.
Tanya Bentley, PhD, is a health economics and outcomes researcher. Dr. Bentley is a decision analyst by training, with extensive experience in health services research. She is currently on sabbatical after 7 years at the Partnership for Health Analytic Research, LLC (PHAR). As Senior Director of Health Economics at PHAR, she conducted and oversaw health economics projects using quantitative and qualitative methodology, focusing primarily on cost-effectiveness analyses, decision-analytic modeling, outcomes research, and related theoretical analyses. Her work spanned a range of clinical areas such oncology, virology, neuroscience, and others. Before joining PHAR, Dr. Bentley was a researcher at RAND Health and UCLA, and has taught graduate-level decision analysis at USC. She is an active member of the Society for Medical Decision Making, has served as the Scientific Review Co-Chair for the Society’s Annual Meeting. 

Johanna Bellon, PhD, MS, is the Sr. Director, Quality Analytics and Performance at UPMC Wolff Center. She is also a CFA Charter Holder. Prior to joining UPMC, she worked in investment analysis, underwriting, and portfolio management at GE Capital and in management and turnaround consulting at Alvarez and Marsal’s Healthcare Industry Group. She joined UPMC in 2015 within the Wolff Center, which is a corporate department focused on quality improvement. She leads four teams that comprise 60+ professionals at the Wolff Center who support quality data infrastructure, analytics, and reporting and optimizing performance in payer and government quality programs for hospitals and physicians.

Laurent Metz, MD, MBA is a Medical Doctor, and a graduate from the University of Medicine of Nancy, France. He holds an MBA from HEC Business School, Paris, France and has completed the Advanced Strategic Management program at IMD, Lausanne (Switzerland), executive course in Health Economics at the Stockholm School of Economics, and Value Measurement for Health Care program by Harvard Business School. Laurent has been working in Health Economics, Outcome Research and Reimbursement with Johnson & Johnson for the past 20 years in Asia Pacific, Europe and in the United States. In his role, he has established the regional HEMA team, built the capability, and developed talent. The team focuses on understanding, generating and communicating evidence to improve access to innovation as well as developing innovative funding mechanisms.

Shi-Yi Wang, MD, PhD , is an Assistant Professor in Chronic Disease Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health. His research agenda focuses on outcomes research and decision science, especially in breast cancer care and end-of-life care.

Logan Trenaman is a PhD student in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on the development and economic evaluation of interventions that support shared decision-making, particularly in the context of total joint replacement.

Please contact Shiyi Wang ( ) or Logan Trenaman ( ) with queries.
SMDM 2018 European Conference - Save the Date!
by Co-Chairs :   Anne Stiggelbout , PhD and Ewout Steyerberg , PhD

10 - 12 June 2018
Leiden, Netherlands
The Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM) will hold its 17th Biennial European Conference from 10-12 June 2018 in the beautiful and historic city of Leiden, Netherlands, host of the oldest University in the Netherlands (1575).

The Conference will have a special focus on Personalized and Value-Based Health Care . The meeting’s keynote speaker will be Professor David Spiegelhalter , from Cambridge, UK. In addition to not to be missed pre-conference courses, symposia, and a renowned keynote speaker, the Conference will bring together high-quality, oral and poster presentations from the fields of prediction modeling, epidemiology, shared decision making, health economics, psychology, and other scientific disciplines involved in the study of medical decisions. We are aiming for a record number of attendees with a variety of backgrounds and academic disciplines from all over the world. Fun social events are also planned where you will have a unique opportunity to dance with your SMDM buddies!
The city of Leiden provides an excellent environment for relaxation and sight-seeing. Leiden is a lively city. It has plenty to choose from in music, theatre, and world-class museums. Paintings by Rembrandt, a superb natural history museum, an Egyptian temple and more in the museum of Antiquities, and treasures from Japan: Leiden has something for everyone. Leiden also has hundreds of restaurants, cafés and bars. Every cuisine imaginable can be found here at prices that run from affordable to expensive. Located within such a short distance from one another, the canals offer interesting opportunities to walk and view very interesting sites from almshouses to windmills and churches to city gates. It is also attractive to discover Leiden from the water. The city is amidst an area of beautiful lakes and pools, with only a short distance from Leiden to the coast. Nearby Katwijk and Noordwijk have both nice beaches and dunes, as well as a boulevard to stroll, and are easy to reach. And, if you wish to extend your visit, you can reach The Hague in 10, Rotterdam in 30, and Amsterdam in 35 minutes by train.
We look forward to welcoming many of you in Leiden next year!
2017 SMDM Awards
SMDM is pleased to announce the winners of its 2017 Awards:
Pictured above
(top row, l to r): Valerie F. Reyna, Uwe Siebert, Gillian D. Sanders-Schmidler
(bottom row, l to r) Phuc Le, Ellen G. Engelhardt
The  Career Achievement Award  recognizes distinguished senior investigators who have made significant contributions to the field of medical decision making. The 2017 recipient is  Valerie F. Reyna, PhD.
The  SMDM Award for Distinguished Service  recognizes service to SMDM in terms of leadership, role in the operations of the Society, and contributions to the scientific and educational activities of the Society. The 2017 recipient is  Uwe Siebert, MD, MPH, MSc, ScD.
The  John M. Eisenberg Award for Practical Application of Medical Decision Making Research  recognizes an individual or organization that has demonstrated sustained leadership in translating medical decision making research into practice, and that has taken exceptional steps to communicate the principles and/or substantive findings of medical decision making research to policy makers, to clinical decision makers, and to the general public. The 2017 recipient is  Gillian D. Sanders-Schmidler, PhD.
The  Young Investigator Award  is presented annually for the best paper published by a trainee or junior faculty member. Phuc Le, PhD, MPH and Ellen G. Engelhardt, PhD are 2017 co-recipients.

These individuals will be honored at the upcoming meeting in Pittsburgh. Please join us in congratulating all of the winners and thanking the Awards Committee for their work.
Angie Fagerlin, PhD
The SMDM Award for Distinguished Service

by Angie Fagerlin, PhD SMDM President

As many of you know, Dr. Eugene Saenger was one of the founding members of SMDM. He made critical contributions, both intellectual and financial, that supported the early development of our society. Based on his vision and significant contributions, in 1995 SMDM named an award after him, the Eugene Saenger Award for Distinguished Service to SMDM.

During a dinner last year at our annual SMDM meeting, I became aware of some additional details of Dr. Saenger’s career. Between 1960-1971 Dr. Saenger, a radiologist, conducted research on 88 cancer patients; these patients were predominantly poor and slightly more than half were African American. This study was controversial for a number of reasons. First, at the time the study was conducted, the type of radiation therapy Dr. Saenger was testing had been widely discredited. Second, participants did not provide consent nor told they were part of a Department of Defense funded research project. Finally, the adverse effects of the radiation therapy received in the study were significant and frequent. 

After this discovery, I spoke with many members of our society about my concerns—particularly those who were our earliest members and who knew him personally. I then brought this to the awards committee and the Board of Trustees. After numerous difficult discussions and considerable reflection, we have decided that we cannot overlook the consequences of this research. Thus, the Board voted to simplify the award’s name to the SMDM Award for Distinguished Service. Previous awardees may choose whether to include Dr. Saenger’s name on their C.V. or change it to reflect the new award name.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at .
2017 - 2018 Officers and Trustees
Congratulations to the newly elected Officers & Trustees of the Society for Medical Decision Making!
Pictured above: top row from left to right:
President-Elect : Heather Taffet Gold, PhD

Vice President-Elect: Beate Sander, PhD

Pictured above: bottom row from left to right:
Trustees: Joanna Siegel, SM, ScD; Torbjørn Wisløff , MSc, PhD; Holly Witteman , PhD

Thank you to everyone who voted and especially to those who were willing to serve. Your contributions make the Society stronger! Please feel free to reach out to our new slate of Officers and Trustees to welcome them and become more involved in the Society's activities.
Latest News From Your Fellow Members
In October, the Annual Health Literacy Month Blog Series returns for its 8th year. This year's theme is Boosting the Signal: This is Health Literacy on Technology. Many articles will be related to shared decision making. The series hashtag on Twitter is: #HealthLitOnTech If others are interested to contribute to the series, please contact Geri Baumblatt at .
SMDM student member Blythe Adamson was honored to be included in the United States delegation attending the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Economic Sciences. The events took place Aug 22-26 in Germany where Ms. Adamson spent five days discussing research ideas with Laureates. ECB President Mario Draghi delivered a speech and chatted with Ms. Adamson during a break (click each link for photos). Ms. Adamson also presented her dissertation research to Nobel Laureate Professors McFadden, Scholes, Heckman, Maskin, Tiroles, and Myerson. This economics event occurs once every three years, and this August included 19 Nobel Laureates and 300 PhD students. ( )
Joseph Pliskin , PhD has formally retired in Israel but continues his long affiliation with the Harvard School of Public Health where he regularly teaches Operations Management and Decision Analysis. Dr. Pliskin has a new book, co-authored with B. Ronen and S. Pass, tentatively titled "The Hospital and Clinic Improvement Handbook: Using Lean and the Theory of Constraints for Better Healthcare Delivery." The book is in production with Oxford University Press. ( )
SMDM members Michael Barry, MD and Suzanne Brodney, PhD have joined the faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital to establish the Informed Medical Decisions Program (IMDP), with funding from Healthwise, a nonprofit with a mission to help people make better health decisions. The IMDP is housed within the Health Decision Sciences Center (HDSC) in the Division of General Internal Medicine. The vision of the IMDP is to inform and amplify the patient’s voice in health care decisions.

We plan to accomplish this through research projects focused on the IMDP’s core areas of investigation:
• Research to prove the value of tools and solutions for patient engagement.
• Research to extend the science of measuring decision quality.
• Research to assess optimal ways to ensure people are informed and involved in their health and health care.

The IMDP continues the work of the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, founded in 1989, and 2008 winner of SMDM’s John M. Eisenberg Award for Practical Application of Medical Decision Making Research.
Janet Panoch , PhD Student, Health Communication, Pediatric Adolescent Comparative Affectiveness Research, IU School of Medicine notes the PACE-talk Project based at the IU School of Medicine has received a second 2 year IU Health Values Grant for Education to develop an SDM intervention for high school health and wellness classes. This project piggybacks on a previous grant in which videos were created using Don Cegala's patient education training model PACE. After completing a usability study with high school students in Indianapolis, we are now funded to adapt some of these videos to an interactive simulation game with Yale's Center for Health and Learning Games and PreviewLabs Rapid Games Prototyping. ( )

Our team published an article entitled: "Are mobile health applications useful for supporting shared decision making in diagnostic and treatment decisions?" in Global Health Action .

In this paper, we discuss some recent studies on mHealth applications with relevance to shared decision making. We discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of using mHealth in shared decision making in various contexts, and suggest some directions for future research in this quickly expanding field.

Samira Abbasgholizadeh Rahimi , Eng., Ph.D., Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada.
Matthew Menear , Ph.D., Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval,Quebec, Canada.
Hubert Robitaille , Ph.D., Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec (CHU de Québec), Quebec, Canada.
France Légaré , MD, MSc, PhD, CCFP, FCFP, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada.
Student News
Congratulations to our upcoming graduates!
Alaina Talboy, PhD

Degree/Graduation Date: December 2018
Area:  Cognitive Psychology, Judgment and Decision Making
Position seeking:  Academic; non-profit research
Advisor: Sandra L. Schneider, PhD

Presented at Annual Meeting:
2017 - Applying a Problem Structuring Approach to Improve Understanding of Diagnostic Test Outcomes

SMDM Interest Group Participation:
2017 - Psychology Interest Group

John Richardson, PhD

Degree/Graduation Date: April 2018
Area:  Decision Science and Operations Research
Position seeking: Academic
Advisors: David Hutton and Lisa Prosser

Dissertation: The Silent Burden Following Death: An Assessment of the Economic and Health Related Impact of Grief in the US

Here are the most recent job opportunities since our last newsletter. SMDM members can stay current on the newest opportunities in the Resources Section of SMDM Connect.

SMDM extends its heartfelt appreciation to its members for their charitable contributions!

The SMDM Lifetime Contributors list acknowledges donations, and in-kind donations, received Oct. 2005 - October 8, 2017.
Editor in Chief
The University of Hawai`i
Deputy Editor
VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam