Dr Onukwugha is an associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and is the executive director of the Pharmaceutical Research Computing center at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. She received a Bachelor of Science in economics and French from the University at Albany, State University of New York, a Master of Science in agricultural and applied economics as well as a Doctor of Philosophy in economics (concentration: econometrics) from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). Dr Onukwugha completed a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship in pharmacoeconomics and health outcomes research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.
Dr Onukwugha’s research interests are in pharmacoeconomic analysis, health disparities, and medical decision making by individuals and institutions. She has more than 15 years of experience conducting health economics and outcomes research using administrative medical and pharmacy claims, hospital discharge, and prospectively-collected data. She uses linked data to investigate the role of contextual (eg, hospital, physician, and geographic) factors in explaining health outcomes and processes of care. She examines the costs and health outcomes associated with health-related decisions, as well as the institutional and environmental context framing individuals’ health-related decisions. The health-related decisions of interest include the decision to receive guideline-recommended treatment, self-care following a hospital discharge, and healthcare resource utilization in the oncology and cardiovascular disease settings.
Her research on cost-effectiveness and regression modeling has received contributed research awards at international conferences sponsored by the ISPOR—The Professional Society for Health Economics and Outcomes Research. Dr Onukwugha’s research has been published in journals such as Cancer, Urologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations, Journal of General Internal Medicine, JCO: Clinical Cancer Informatics, Journal of Geriatric Oncology, PharmacoEconomics, Value in Health, Ethnicity & Disease, Medical Care, Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy, Journal of Oncology Practice, and Medical Decision Making. Dr Onukwugha is an editorial board member for PharmacoEconomics and an associate editor for Ethnicity & Disease.
ISPOR Vision Statement by Eberechukwu Onukwugha
As an ISPOR Director, I will bring a unique perspective to both evidence generation for decision making and the efforts to advance ISPOR’s core mission, “to improve decision making for health globally.” My global perspective is shaped in part by a childhood split between Nigeria (living on the campus of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture) and the United States. Having lived and attended school in the United States, Nigeria, and France, my perspective on global health is also shaped by my social and environmental exposures. My prior experiences have uniquely prepared me to contribute to ISPOR’s global service mission as it relates to evidence generation, partnership development, and training.
Health economics and outcomes research (HEOR), and therefore ISPOR, is at an important crossroads with the exponential increase in the availability of real-world data and big data analytics. Our ability to improve decision making globally will continue to require individuals who can bring lived global experiences to the discussion of data, evidence, and value. ISPOR will also need to continue to develop more partnerships within and outside the HEOR network. These partnerships will allow us to better understand and meet the demand for HEOR evidence, including its cultural, social, and geographic aspects. For example, suppose the current need is for information about the comparative value of treatment modalities (eg, surgery, hormone therapy, or chemotherapy) among individuals diagnosed with prostate cancer. The HEOR evidence is not optimized for decision making if the evidence is siloed (ie, available only within modalities), incomplete (eg, omits modalities or combinations of modalities), or potentially misleading (eg, incorrectly assumes homogeneous effects across race/ethnicity subgroups in the presence of heterogeneity). Partnerships with family support groups, patient advocacy groups, religious organizations, or hospitals can yield innovative approaches to develop the evidence that is lacking. As an ISPOR Director, I will draw on prior experiences developing such partnerships.
My work is guided by a commitment to conduct sound science, train the next generation of HEOR researchers, and develop partnerships to translate results for real-world decision making. I have served as the guest editor for themed issues on big data published by PharmacoEconomics and Ethnicity & Disease. Since 2014, I have served ISPOR in several capacities: as a member and president of the Student Chapter Faculty Advisor Council, on the Annual Conference Research Review Committees and, more recently, as a member of the Educational Council. I also support new initiatives such as the Women in HEOR program. In the role as Director, I will work with ISPOR and its partners to strengthen the alignment between the producers and users of HEOR evidence. This alignment will be critical in order to extend the reach and relevance of HEOR. I will also continue to advocate for innovative training opportunities oriented to junior investigators and trainees. Serving ISPOR and its membership as a Director will allow me to more directly support the Society’s global real-world evidence and training initiatives, which are critical for the success of our field.