ITA’s Tenth Anniversary

The MGH Institute for Technology Assessment celebrated its 10-year anniversary on October 30. The ITA was founded in October of 1997, by Dr. G. Scott Gazelle. Originally named the Decision Analysis and Technology Assessment (DATA) Group, its original members in addition to Dr. Gazelle were Elkan F. Halpern, PhD, and Kevin P. Farr. To recognize its growth and multidepartmental nature, the DATA Group became the MGH Institute for Technology Assessment in 2002. The ITA has garnered approximately 35 million dollars in grant funding and has published 438 papers since its inception.

At the anniversary celebration several academic awards were presented. A Career Achievement Award was presented to Elkan F. Halpern, PhD, who also received one of two awards for the best paper by a faculty member in the history of the ITA. Pamela McMahon, PhD, received the other best paper award. Thomas G. Roberts, MD, MPH received an award for the best paper in the history of the ITA by a trainee. Two new “Director’s Awards” were also given: one to Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH for the best paper in the past year by an ITA faculty member, and the other to Chris Lathan, MD, MPH for the best paper in the past year by a trainee. The Director’s Awards will be given annually.

The ten-year anniversary celebration was followed by an ITA Advisory Board meeting on October 31, at which time, several ITA members presented their current research. Steven D. Pearson, MD, MSc also explained his vision for bringing ICER (the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review)to the MGH. ICER joined the ITA in September of this year. The addition of ICER to the ITA creates a wealth of new opportunities to become more involved with policy-setting at the payer level.

From a historical and content perspective, the ITA’s departmental home has been and remains appropriately in the Department of Radiology. The Department and its Chair, James H. Thrall, MD, have been very supportive of the ITA and its mission. However, the Institute is also recognized as an institutional program, and has important connections to many departments and programs throughout the Massachusetts General Hospital. Institute faculty have training and expertise in biostatistics, epidemiology, economics, decision science, outcomes analysis, health care policy and regulatory law. Research activities emphasize the evaluation of non-drug technologies, including devices, diagnostics, and procedures.