The PhRMA Foundation announced today the winners of the 2020 Value Assessment Challenge Awards. Designed to encourage innovative approaches to defining and measuring value in health care, this year’s awards focused on how patient-centered outcomes can be better incorporated into health care decision making.

“This year’s PhRMA Foundation Challenge Awards place a greater emphasis on including the patient voice in value assessment than ever before,” said Eileen Cannon, PhRMA Foundation President. “The global pandemic has brought to the forefront the importance of capturing outcomes that matter to patients and society to achieve value in health care delivery.  Our award winners this year have proposed dynamic, innovative ideas to get us closer to informed decision-making that measures value on the outcomes that are most important.”

A total of $85,000 in funding will be awarded to the winning researchers who answered the question:

What approaches are needed to consistently and reliably incorporate patient-centered outcomes in value assessment for both population- and individual-level health care decision-making?

The 2020 Award winners are:

First Place - $50,000

Research Proposal: Generalized Risk Adjusted Cost Effectiveness (GRACE): Assuring Patient-Centered Outcomes in Health Care Decision Making

Award Recipients:

  • Charles E. Phelps, PhD ­– University of Rochester
  • Darius N. Lakdawalla, PhD – University of Southern California School of Pharmacy and Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics

Drs. Phelps and Lakdawalla propose using a novel approach – Generalized Risk-Adjusted Cost-Effectiveness (GRACE) – that aligns the economics of cost-effectiveness analysis with the human circumstances of patients and consider, in particular, how in standard models a given gain in life expectancy is worth less to sicker or more disabled people, because of the approach to weighting. The GRACE model reveals how traditional methods fail to account for disease severity, patient risk-aversion, and other issues and ensures that patient preferences, particularly the quintessential measure of untreated health status, reliably and consistently enter value measures used at both population and individual decision-making.  

Second Place - $25,000

Research Proposal: Nudging Health Economists: A Process for Systematic Identification of Patient-Centered Outcomes for Inclusion in Value Assessment

Award Recipients:

  • Joseph Mattingly II, PharmD, MBA, PhD – The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy
  • Julia F. Slejko, PhD – The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy
  • Elisabeth M. Oehrlein, PhD; MS – The National Health Council
  • Eleanor M. Perfetto, PhD, MS – The National Health Council, The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy

The authors aim to provide practical guidance on a process for identifying and presenting patient-centered outcomes in a way that makes it easier to include them in value assessment, thereby “nudging” more economists to choose to include these outcomes in their models and not dismiss them simply as limitations. The process incudes forming a multi-stakeholder, patient-centered advisory board, engaging the board in the research agenda, conducting evidence synthesis and qualitative research to ensure viewpoints are not missed, and disseminating findings to multi-stakeholder audiences. A publicly available, centralized database of identified patient-centered value elements should be created to increase the likelihood of their uptake in value assessment.

Third Place (Tie) $5,000 each

Research Proposal: Evolution of Precision Medicine: Applying a Population-based Evidence Assessment Repository (PEAR) to Achieve Patient-Centered Outcomes at the Point-of-Care

Award Recipient:

  • Jonathan H. Watanabe, PharmD, PhD ­– University of California Irvine School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Derjung M. Tarn, MD, PhD – University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine 
  • Jan D. Hirsch, PhD – University of California Irvine School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences

The authors propose a step-wise framework that shapes goals based on patient values and shared decision-making that is continuously refined by utilizing a population-based evidence assessment repository (PEAR) to achieve person-centered care.  The PEAR aims to empower the care team to ensure measurable data-driven treatment decisions that are tailored towards patient needs, characteristics, and wishes.


Research Proposal: Co-Production in Learning Healthcare Systems is the Key to Unlocking True Healthcare Value

Award Recipient:

Brandy Fureman, PhD – Epilepsy Foundation, Epilepsy Learning Healthcare System

The authors share their experience using co-production – a process where patients, care partners, and providers work together to design a health system that optimizes the health outcomes that matter most to patients. For example, evaluations of value in epilepsy must look beyond standard clinical endpoints of seizure control and address other outcomes that are important to epilepsy patients, such as motor skills, communication, learning, attention and emotional wellbeing.


The Challenge Awards, first offered to researchers in 2017, are part of the PhRMA Foundation’s multi-faceted Value Assessment Initiative, which supports a variety of research and innovation projects to support the shift to a value-based health care system.

Award recipients will also become part of the Value Assessment Research Network, which has been established to encourage collaboration and dissemination of findings that emerge from various projects the Foundation is supporting through its Value Assessment Initiative.


About the PhRMA Foundation

For more than 55 years, the PhRMA Foundation has been helping to build a larger pool of highly-trained, top-quality scientists to meet the growing needs of scientific and academic institutions, government, and the research-intensive pharmaceutical industry. To advance this mission, the PhRMA Foundation has awarded more than $99 million in competitive research fellowships and grants since its founding. The Foundation’s emphasis on evidence-based research that determines the true value of medicines is supported by its Value Assessment Initiative. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $4.2 million to support a variety of research projects to help advance this goal, including the establishment of four national Centers of Excellence in Value Assessment.

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