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


The CHOICE Institute was previously known as the Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research and Policy Program (PORPP). the Institute was established in the summer of 2017. It is hosted within the Department of Pharmacy at the University.

In 1989, Andy Stergachis, current Associate Dean in the School of Pharmacy, was recruited from Group Health’s Center for Health Studies by then-Dean Milo Gibaldi to join the then-Department of Pharmacy Practice. In 1990, Andy laid the vision for a program in pharmaceutical outcomes research and policy, which included a new graduate program. He recruited faculty such as epidemiologist Dr. Jackie Gardner and a newly-minted Ph.D. from UC Berkeley named Sean D. Sullivan to join him in creating the program and offer a graduate program in the same area.

By 1995, the team had attracted additional top scholars and built enough support and funding that the time was right to secure an official Program designation at the UW as well as establish a new graduate program. By 1997, the first class of Ph.D. students began. The focus of the program since its inception has been on population health sciences, medical products and health technology evaluation, and health economics.

Key partnerships were formed with other units and organizations, including the UW Department of Health Services, Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research, Group Health Research Institute, the CHASE Alliance at UW, and Premera Blue Cross, among many others. These partnerships continue to provide extraordinary opportunities for collaboration, data sharing, student and faculty research, and joint faculty appointments.

In 2012, Andy and JoAnn Stergachis established the Stergachis Family Endowed Directorship of PORPP, ensuring the Program is led by a dynamic and internationally recognized director and that the legacy of providing each student with specialized training in outcomes research is strengthened and enhanced. In 2014, Dr. Sullivan was appointed Dean of UW School of Pharmacy, and a national search began for a new Stergachis Family Endowed Director of PORPP. In May 2015, the successful search concluded with the selection of Professor Anirban Basu, Ph.D.

Since its inception 27 years ago, the CHOICE institute (earlier PORPP) has grown from 6 core faculty from within the Department of Pharmacy to 12 and has engaged seven additional adjunct faculty from across the University, and over a dozen affiliate faculty throughout the community and beyond. Moreover, the graduate program currently has 30 pre-doctoral students. Year 2017 marked the transition of PORPP to The CHOICE Institute.