New Faculty & Health Affairs Publishes Paper on Coverage for Liquid Biopsy Tests
Letter from TRANSPERS Director and Founder
Spring is here, and TRANSPERS is blooming! We are delighted to announce that Emily Mrig, PhD, will be joining our faculty as an Assistant Professor. Emily brings skill and passion to examining unequal access to health care. We look forward to her contributions!
Liquid biopsy tests for early cancer detection were hailed as one of the “6 most mind-blowing discoveries of 2021.” Our analysis of payer coverage, published in Health Affairs, turned out to be timely and pertinent. It produced an invitation to be interviewed on their podcast, which gave me the opportunity to explain the ramifications in more detail.
Finally, we bid a fond farewell to our Deputy Director, Patricia Deverka. Pat brought a fresh perspective to our research, and we are grateful for her many insightful contributions. She will be assuming a new position as Senior Vice President, Commercial Strategy and Market Access, at Veranex, a consulting firm focused on medical devices.
Please join me in welcoming Emily to TRANSPERS and congratulating Pat on her new position!
TRANSPERS Welcomes Emily Mrig, PhD, as Their Newest Faculty MemberThe UCSF Department of Clinical Pharmacy and TRANSPERS is excited to welcome their newest faculty member, Emily Mrig, PhD. Dr. Mrig joins us from the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Yale University School of Public Health, where she is finishing a Post Doc fellowship. She is an interdisciplinary scholar with diverse training and experience in public health, health policy and social science that she applies to investigating inequities in access to health care, especially in the context of precision medicine, cancer, and end-of-life care. Her research engages qualitative and mixed-methods approaches to elicit, synthesize, and amplify the experiences of patients, families, clinicians, community advocates, and other actors in healthcare settings to examine complex causal processes that produce health disparities.
Dr. Mrig has recently been awarded several honors for her work, including the University of Colorado Outstanding PhD Award and the AAUW American Dissertation Fellowship Prize. She was also selected as a 2021 NIMHD Health Disparities Research Institute Scholar.
Payer Coverage for Multicancer Early Detection Screening Tests Published in Health AffairsMulti-cancer early detection screening tests (MCED), also called “liquid biopsy tests,” could transform current approaches to cancer screening. The first MCED test is now available in the US, and there are numerous other tests in the development pipeline. Given their intrinsic features and the complexity of payer assessments for screening tests, MCEDs will predictably face coverage challenges. In their policy insight in Health Affairs, Patricia Deverka, MD, Michael Douglas, MS, and Kathryn Phillips, PhD, describe the potential benefits of an MCED test that could detect multiple cancers, and they illustrate how this innovation will complicate payer decision-making.
Health Affairs Podcast on Multicancer Early Detection Screening TestsKathryn Phillips, PhD, appeared as a special guest on the Health Affairs podcast, talking with editor-in-chief Alan Weil about coverage and access for multi-cancer early detection screening tests. “Will patients understand the limitations and the drawbacks?”
TRANSPERS Director Advises California Legislative Analysts and Singapore GovernmentKathryn A. Phillips, PhD, is working with California legislative staff to review two bills on insurer coverage in the Medicaid population, one for biomarker testing and one for pharmacogenomics testing.
Dr. Phillips has also been appointed to the Health Economist Expert Network for Precision Health Research in Singapore and will be traveling there in May for a meeting with government officials to discuss Singapore's plans to implement precision medicine.
Assessments of the Value of New Interventions Should Include Health Equity ImpactJeroen Jansen, PhD, and Kathryn Phillips, PhD, in collaboration with Thomas Trikalinos, MD, PhD, of Brown University, published a current opinion in Pharmacoeconomics calling for the inclusion of health equity impact in the assessment of value for new interventions.
Analyzing Precision Medicine Utilization with Real-World Data: A Scoping ReviewMichael Douglas, MS, and UCSF School of Medicine student Anika Kumar published a scoping review on the utilization of Precision Medicine (PM) in the Journal of Personalized Medicine, concluding there is a need for a centralized database of PM utilization.
Upcoming PresentationsHadley Stevens Smith, PhD; Cheng Chen, PhD; Kathryn Phillips, PhD; along with Emily Largent,PhD, RN: “Equity and Justice in Dementia Care: Perspectives on Ethical, Health, and Policy Implications of Tests and Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias.” The 5th ELSI Congress, May 31 – June 3, 2022