HOUSTON – Phuc Le, Ph.D. ’13, M.P.H., ’09, recently received the Young Investigator Award from the Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM) for her work “Determining the Optimal Vaccination Schedule for Herpes Zoster: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis,” published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The award was presented at the SMDM’s Annual North American Meeting in Pittsburgh on Oct. 25.
Founded in 1979, SMDM is an international, transdisciplinary group that seeks to improve the health of individuals and populations through the advancement of systematic methods to deal with the uncertainties of health care decisions. The Young Investigator Award recognizes the best paper published by a trainee or junior faculty member.
“Phuc’s paper addresses an important question which can only be determined by decision modeling, namely the optimal vaccination schedule for Zoster,” says John B. Wong, M.D., SMDM senior member and chair of the awards Committee. “Her result is particularly relevant because the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) currently recommends a single dose of the vaccine at age 60 — a strategy that cost more and yielded lower quality-adjusted life expectancy in every scenario.”
Le earned her doctorate degree from UTHealth School of Public Health in Health Economics in 2013 and her Master of Public Health in Community Health Practice in 2009.
Currently, she is a faculty member at the Center for Value-Based Care Research at the Cleveland Clinic, and assistant professor of medicine at the Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. Her research involves decision modeling of herpes zoster vaccines, prophylaxis for venous thromboembolism, antibiotics treatment for community-acquired pneumonia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in diabetic patients.
Early in her doctoral training at the Department of Management, Policy and Community Health at UTHealth School of Public Health, Le developed a passion for health economics, especially economic evaluation, and conducted a dissertation on the cost-effectiveness analysis of Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine among Vietnamese children. She was a 2014 AcademyHealth Delivery System Science Fellow, 2013 Steven M. Teutsch Prevention Effectiveness Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health, and member of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health.
“Phuc completed a demanding and important dissertation and she continues to conduct rigorous, innovative research,” says her former Ph.D. and M.P.H. advisor, J. Michael Swint, Ph.D., George McMillan Fleming Professor in Health Administration. “This research award is well deserved and it will not be her last.”