RTI Policy Forum

Better Lives for Some, Shorter Lives for Others: Are New Drugs
Worth the Risk — Speaker Biographies

Brett Hauber

Brett Hauber, PhD, is a senior economist and Global Head of Health Preference Assessment at RTI Health Solutions. He has more than 10 years of academic, research, and government experience in health and environmental economics. His primary area of specialization is discrete choice analysis of revealed- and stated-preference data. He also has extensive experience in conducting benefit-risk analysis of patients and other health care decision makers and in estimating health-state utilities. His most recent applied work has included discrete-choice experiments of patient and physician benefit-risk preferences for treatments of conditions including Alzheimer's disease, HIV, vasomotor symptoms, Crohn's disease, idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura, type 2 diabetes, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Telba Z. Irony

Telba Irony, PhD, is the Chief of the General Surgical Devices Branch at the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) within the Food and Drug Administration. She joined the CDRH in order to help implement the use of Bayesian methods in medical device clinical trials. Dr. Irony has worked on several projects of applications of Bayesian statistics sponsored by the National Science Foundation and has produced numerous articles on Bayesian methodology that have been published in peer-reviewed statistical journals. Prior to joining the FDA, she was on the faculty of the George Washington University. She is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and an elected member of the International Statistics Institute.

F. Reed Johnson

F. Reed Johnson, PhD, is Distinguished Fellow and Principal Economist at RTI Health Solutions, with more than 35 years of academic and research experience in health and environmental economics. He has served on the faculty of several universities in the United States, Canada, and Sweden. While with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's environmental economics research program, Dr. Johnson helped pioneer the development of basic nonmarket valuation techniques. He has more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has coauthored a book on techniques for using existing environmental and health value estimates for policy analysis. His current research involves estimating general time equivalences among health states and patients' willingness to accept side-effect risks in return for therapeutic benefits.

Bennett Levitan

Bennett Levitan, MD, PhD, is Director of Quantitative Safety Research, Department of Epidemiology, at Janssen Research & Development. Dr. Levitan has more than 20 years' experience in decision analysis, modeling, and simulation in both consulting and pharmaceuticals. He specializes in pharmaceutical benefit-risk assessment and applications of machine learning in pharmaceutical development, and is currently leading technical development of the PhRMA Benefit Risk Action Team Framework for drug benefit-risk assessment. Dr. Bennett is also a member of the Public-Private Benefit-Risk Assessment Working Group. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Santa Fe Institute. His research and consulting work have dealt with pharmaceutical benefit-risk assessment, organizational learning, evolutionary-based optimization, high-dimensional data visualization, and combinatorial chemistry.

Mitchell T. Wallin

Mitchell T. Wallin, MD, MPH, is Clinical Associate Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Excellence based in the Baltimore Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center/University of Maryland. His clinical responsibilities are focused as an attending neurologist at the Washington, DC, VA Medical Center and the national VA multiple sclerosis network with academic appointments as Associate Professor of Neurology at Georgetown University and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Wallin is a member of the North American Cysticercosis Consortium and a neurological consultant at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. His research interests include neuroepidemiology, multiple sclerosis, and neurological infections. Dr. Wallin received the 2010 Wolcott National Award for Clinical Leadership, the highest prize within the VA health care system.

Return to Better Lives for Some, Shorter Lives for Others: Are New Drugs Worth the Risk