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The Comparative Health Outcomes, Policy, and Economics (CHOICE) Institute

Who We Are

The CHOICE Institute was established in the summer of 2017. Previously known as the Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research and Policy Program, it is hosted within the Department of Pharmacy at the University.


The CHOICE Leadership

Anirban Basu, PhD

Stergachis Family Endowed Director, The CHOICE Institute
Professor, Pharmacy and Health Services
Adjunct Professor, Economics

Josh Carlson, PhD

Director of Graduate Program, The CHOICE Institute
Professor, Pharmacy
Affiliate Investigator, Cancer Prevention Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Mission Statement

Research: Develop innovative methods and generate actionable evidence about the effectiveness, safety, and value of medical products and services that improve decision making in health care and policy.

Training: Provide transformative training in health economics, outcomes research, and policy analysis to meet contemporary health care challenges regionally, nationally, and globally.

Service: Be a leading resource on the effectiveness, safety, and value of medical products and services by providing expertise and facilitating collaborations at the regional, national, and global level.


Message from the Director
This is an exciting time for us. We thank our Chair Steve White and our Dean Sean Sullivan for their unwavering support for the transitioning of the Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research and Policy Program in the Department of Pharmacy to The Comparative Health Outcomes, Policy, and Economics (CHOICE) Institute. An Institute designation better reflects the breadth of work conducted by our faculty, students, and post-docs. It promotes our recognition as an international hub of excellence in the areas of health outcomes research, pharmacoepidemiology, health economics, and policy. The Institute will be an integral part of the Department of Pharmacy and the School of Pharmacy, which will facilitate interactions with clinical faculty in the Department and the School and reinforce the crucial role of medications in shaping patient health and patient-centered health care delivery.

The CHOICE Institute organizes research and training activities and resources into focused Programs to enhance our competitiveness and expand our leadership in the field. Key programmatic areas include health economics, policy analysis/big data science, individualized care, drug and vaccine safety, and global medicines issues. For example, one such existing program is the Program on Health Economics and Outcomes Methodology (PHEnOM). PHEnOM aims to facilitate intellectual activities within the department in the fields of health economics, econometrics and methodology development in outcomes research and to engage researchers in allied fields around the city of Seattle. PHEnOM is a joint program with the Department of Health Services. Similarly, our Global Medicines Program will maintain a strong academic linkage with the Department of Global Health. The mission of the Global Medicines Program, is to improve the use, safety, quality, risk-benefit profile, cost-effectiveness, and affordability of medicines in low- and middle-income income countries. Directed by Andy Stergachis, the Program conducts field-based research, pre-service and in-service education and training, and capacity-strengthening technical assistance in a variety of low- and middle-income countries. The role of organized programs within the Institute is critically important for developing junior faculty into world-class researchers in focused areas and for training the next generation of scientists in our graduate program

We remain ever grateful to PORPP’s founding members, alumni and our corporate advisors, whose continued support is instrumental to our success in the future. We cherish their engagement with the program, and in the future with the Institute.

-Anirban Basu, PhD

Stergachis Family Endowed Director, The CHOICE Institute
Professor, Pharmacy and Health Services

Message from the Graduate Program Director

We at the CHOICE Institute are proud to offer a premier training program in HEOR to prepare the next generation of research scientists who will address the critical needs in health and healthcare. Our goal is to prepare scientific leaders who will identify solutions to the current problems in population health and healthcare systems, both domestically and globally, and propel the field of HEOR forward.

With a training track record of over 25 years, we are well positioned to rapidly evolve and remain at the forefront of solving the current challenges in healthcare. Our previous iteration, The Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research and Policy Program (PORPP) was established in 1995, under the guidance of Andy Stergachis, soon joined and eventually led by Sean Sullivan.  Our current director, Anirban Basu, has led the program since X, including the transition from PORPP to the CHOICE Institute.  Graduating our first PhD student in 1998, we now count 49 PhD graduates among our alumni. Our Master of Science (MS) program followed shortly thereafter, graduating its first class in 1999. We now count 60 MS graduates among our talented alums. Alongside these programs, we were early adopters of two-year post-PharmD training programs.  In this program, fellows complete one year of graduate level coursework leading to an MS in HEOR followed by a second year of training in the biopharmaceutical industry. To date we count 45 alums from this program. We also offer post-doctoral fellowships for those who have already completed their PhD; all 13 of these have enriched our environment. We are grateful for the external support that has allowed us to offer this diverse selection of training programs. We are very proud of all of our graduates, each of whom has gone on to make significant contributions in their chosen careers in academia, government, industry, consulting or health plans. We are thrilled that our graduates stay in touch and continue to support our program, in an ever-expanding network of CHOICE alums. A major highlight of our year is the annual gathering we host at ISPOR, where we celebrate accomplishments and enjoy camaraderie.

Our current group of graduate students includes 19 PhDs and 11 PharmD MS fellows. Each winter, faculty members on our Admissions Committee have the privilege of selecting from a pool of highly competitive candidates, who join us the following Autumn to begin their studies. Our coursework is demanding and rigorous, and our Curriculum Committee and Course Masters keeps a close pulse on emerging methods and ‘to-be-launched’ initiatives and rapidly incorporates these into our training programs. Finally, we integrate our students into a variety of multidisciplinary, collaborative research projects. As they gain skills, our students and fellows represent us through manuscript publication, meeting presentations, and in stepping up to embrace leadership roles in our professional organizations. These collaborations enrich our work and keep us fresh and engaged scientists. Indeed, the graduate students and post-docs always have been, and will continue to be the jewel in the CHOICE crown.

-Josh Carlson, MPH, PhD

Graduate Program Director and Professor, Dept of Pharmacy

Message from the Chair of the Department of Pharmacy

The Comparative Health Outcomes, Policy, and Economics (“CHOICE”) Institute is integral to the overall mission of the Department of Pharmacy in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Washington.  The CHOICE Institute serves as the home of an internationally recognized faculty who have, previously under the umbrella of the Pharmaceuticals Outcomes Research and Policy Program (PORPP), made important scientific contributions for decades and trained talented graduate students and post-docs, to improve population health through advanced health economics and outcomes research.  The CHOICE Institute provides a framework for the faculty and leadership to organize their research and graduate training programs into highly focused programmatic themes that include:  health economics, policy analysis, big data science, individual care, drug and vaccine safety and global medicine initiatives.  Importantly, the CHOICE Institute fosters a unique and highly collaborative environment for the mentoring of junior faculty and graduate training of the next generation of scientists with an interest in these thematic areas.

-Ryan Hansen, PharmD, PhD

Associate Professor and Interim Chair, Dept of Pharmacy