Unique attributes

The Division brings together clinicians with a variety of clinical backgrounds (e.g., primary care, geriatrics, rheumatology, cardiology, nephrology), with the skills of quantitative science (e.g., epidemiology, biostatistics) and other relevant disciplines (e.g., health policy, law, computer science, decision analysis, social science). Most division faculty have advanced degrees in several of these fields, providing a rich interdisciplinary environment for the study of medication use and outcomes. The group has developed advanced relational databases of all drug exposures and clinical encounters for several million patients, and has research relationships with governmental and private-sector insurers that provide access to several million others. Data are hosted and analyzed on an extensive network of secure computers with 10 terabytes of storage capacity.

Areas of excellence

In its first 10 years of existence, the Division has become known internationally as a center of excellence in pharmacoepidemiology research; its faculty have generated over 300 papers in the medical literature on drug risks, benefits, cost, and policy. It has become a major training site for doctoral and post-doctoral students from the Harvard School of Public Health, other Harvard graduate programs, and advanced trainees from other universities all over the world. It is the primary university site collaborating with the nation’s largest health insurer and the largest pharmacy company, and has developed research relationships with several Fortune 500 employers to analyze or perform intervention studies on their medication benefit programs.