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GAO Names New Members to PCORI Methodology Committee

WASHINGTON, DC (September 18, 2014) - Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), today announced the appointment of three new members to the Methodology Committee of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

The Methodology Committee has the important job of assisting PCORI develop and update methodological standards and guidance for comparative clinical effectiveness research. “We had the opportunity to consider many distinguished applicants for positions on the committee and it is a pleasure to announce these exceptionally well-qualified new additions,” Dodaro said.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act authorized PCORI as a non-profit corporation to assist patients, clinicians, purchasers, and policymakers in making informed health decisions by providing quality, relevant evidence on how best to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor diseases and other health conditions.

The Act directs the Comptroller General to appoint up to 15 members to PCORI’s Methodology Committee. In addition to the three members appointed today, the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Director of the National Institutes of Health, or their designees, also serve on the committee.

The members appointed to the Methodology Committee are:

  • Cynthia Girman, Dr.P.H., Distinguished Scientist, Comparative & Outcomes Evidence, Center for Observational & Real World Evidence, Merck Research Laboratories.
  • Sally Morton, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Biostatistics, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh.
  • Neil Powe, MD, MPH, MBA, Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, and Chief of Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital.

Attached are brief biographies of the new committee members. The official announcement of the appointments will be published in the Federal Register.

For more information, contact Mary Giffin on GAO's Health Care team at (202) 512-7114 or Chuck Young in GAO's Office of Public Affairs at (202) 512-4800, or visit the GAO Health Care Advisory Committees web page at


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Following are brief biographies of the new appointees to the PCORI Methodology Committee:

Cynthia Girman, Dr.P.H., is Executive Director and Head of Data Analytics & Observational Methods in the Center for Observational & Real World Evidence at Merck Research Laboratories. She founded the Merck Center of Excellence on the development and validation of endpoints for clinical trials, including patient reported outcomes, and her work has focused on incorporating patient input into clinical trials endpoint identification. With experience in biostatistics, epidemiology and observational research methods, Dr. Girman is involved in a range of collaborative research activities with universities in the United States and Europe, and is adjunct Associate Professor in the Center for Pharmacoepidemiology at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Girman received an M.S. in Applied Statistics and Computer Science from Villanova University, and a Dr.P.H. from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina.

Sally Morton, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair of the Department of Biostatistics in the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, and is Director of the Comparative Effectiveness Research Center in the University’s Health Policy Institute. Dr. Morton is a member of the Methods Steering Committee of the AHRQ Evidence-based Practice Centers Program, and served as President of the American Statistical Association. Her current research areas include evidence synthesis and modeling strategies for observational comparative effectiveness research. Dr. Morton received an M.Sc. in Statistics from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a B.S. in Mathematical Sciences, an M.S. in Operations Research and a Ph.D. in Statistics from Stanford University.

Neil R. Powe, MD, MPH, MBA, is the Constance B. Wofsy Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and Chief of Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Epidemiological Society, and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. Dr. Powe’s areas of research include clinical epidemiology and patient outcomes research using prospective methods of randomized controlled trials, cohort studies, cost-effectiveness analysis, meta-analysis, and retrospective analyses of administrative databases and survey research. His clinical focus has included chronic kidney disease, dialysis, and racial disparities in kidney disease patients. Dr. Powe received an M.D. and an M.P.H from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


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