Jerry Avorn, MD, is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chief of the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. An internist, geriatrician, and drug epidemiologist, he studies the intended and adverse effects of prescription drugs, physician prescribing practices, and medication policy.
The division he leads includes faculty with backgrounds in internal medicine and its subspecialties, geriatrics, epidemiology, health services research and policy, biostatistics, and computer science. His major areas of research include: the scientific, policy, and social factors that shape physicians’ drug choices; the identification and prevention of adverse drug effects; medication compliance by patients; programs to improve the appropriateness of prescribing and drug taking; and pharmaceutical cost-effectiveness analysis. Dr. Avorn pioneered the “academic detailing” approach to continuing medical education, in which non-commercial, evidence-based information about drugs is provided to doctors through educational outreach programs run by public-sector sponsors. Such programs are now in use in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Europe (see www.alosafoundation.org).
Dr. Avorn did his undergraduate training at Columbia University in 1969, received the M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1974, and completed a residency in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He has served as president of the International Society for Pharmaco-Epidemiology and is a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Standards for Developing Trustworthy Clinical Practice Guidelines. Dr. Avorn is the author or co-author of over 275 papers in the medical literature on medication use and its outcomes, and is one of the most highly-cited researchers working in the area of medicine and the social sciences. His book, Powerful Medicines: The Benefits, Risks, and Costs of Prescription Drugs, was published by Knopf in 2004 and is now in its tenth printing (see www.powerfulmedicines.org).