In the Summer of 2010, the Harvard School of Public Health launched the Dean’s Flagship Initiative in Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) to shape the national dialogue around CER and, specifically, to broaden its scope to include public health programs and health system interventions not often highlighted in the current national discussion of CER, which passage of health reform has generated. Moreover, the school can be a strong advocate of methods of economic evaluation such as cost-effectiveness analysis and measures of health improvement such as quality-adjusted life years, as part of policy-relevant comparative effectiveness research.

Milton C. Weinstein, the Henry J. Kaiser Professor of Health Policy and Management, was appointed by Dean Frenk to chair the Initiative. A Steering Committee that is broadly representative of HSPH departments, centers and programs was appointed to facilitate this strategic initiative.

The Focus of the HSPH Initiative on CER

The objectives of the HSPH initiative on CER include:

1. To catalyze new collaborations among HSPH faculty and with other Harvard faculty, on methodologic and applied research relating to Comparative Effectiveness;

2. To develop a broadened concept of CER that includes not only health care services, but also innovations in health care delivery and organization, as well as public health interventions in the community, the workplace, the food supply, and the environment; and

3. To develop a strategy for communicating to the public our vision of comparative effectiveness, that includes consideration of value for resources spent, and a systems view of health improvement interventions.