Marilyn Dix SmithIt is with a very heavy heart that ISPOR announces the passing of its Founding Executive Director, Marilyn Dix Smith, RPh, PhD.

We know you join the ISPOR membership, staff, and leadership in mourning a friend, inspiring colleague, and the guiding force behind ISPOR’s foundation, growth, and direction. Dr Smith’s vision shaped ISPOR into the leading, global organization for health economics and outcomes research (HEOR). She led the Society through many milestones, including its first scientific conference on HEOR in 1996, the establishment of its regional chapters, the launch of its flagship publication Value in Health, the creation of the Society’s short course program, the founding of its student network, the organization of its global consortia and networks, and the development of its books and many online HEOR resources.

For those who would like to pay tribute, post a comment, or tell a story about Dr Smith as the inspiring friend, colleague, and leader that she was, please complete the comment form on this page. Comments will be posted below on this remembrance page.


Nancy Berg, ISPOR CEO & Executive Director

"I am blessed to be leading the organization that Marilyn so expertly formed, nurtured and made a global success. It was a privilege to know her and a greater privilege to be entrusted with her member and staff family. We are doing great things because of your vision and leadership, Marilyn. Rest in peace."


Lou Garrison, ISPOR member since the first conference; President 2016-17

"There are no words to express the depth of the gratitude that I feel for what Marilyn did for me and ISPOR. She was a true visionary, and we are all beneficiaries of her vision and generous spirit.

My wife Fran and I have a wonderful memory of a fun dinner with Marilyn and Bill in Salt Lake City, as they had traveled there to support the first Western Pharmacoeconomics Conference. She gave us all so much, and we should celebrate her memory in this time of sadness for Bill and ISPOR."


Sissi Pham, ISPOR Institutional Chair

"She was immensely helpful and supportive when I became the ISPOR Institutional Chair. Her guidance was much appreciated. RIP, Marilyn, I'm sure you will continue to organize those in the next life!"


Lorne Basskin, Friend and Colleague

"Marilyn was a visionary, and took the organization from nothing to a huge multi national group. She had a vision, as a leader, but most of all she was a dear sweet woman and a wonderful friend. I will miss her and I’ve missed seeing her at recent events, and offer all my best for Bill and her family."


Karen Worley, Worked with Marilyn on the ISPOR Board of Directors

"I will remember the way Marilyn actively listened to members of the society and thoughtfully considered each suggestion and piece of input she received. She was kind and welcoming to me when I joined the Board, and made me feel as though my contributions were meaningful and important. She respected the HEOR discipline and led with great commitment and compassion...and leaves behind a great legacy."


Anantha Naik Nagappa, A Friend From India

"I approached Marylin Dix in 2009, to help us in developing Pharmacoeconomics and Outcome Research activities in India , she took keen interest and guided us to form and function ISPOR regional chapter of Karnataka and ISPOR student chapter of Manipal University. I was fortunate enough to meet her in couple of conference of several meetings. She was born leader who had contributed to the development of PeOr at global level. My deepest condolences and prayers for departed soul and bereaved family."


Jeff Trotter, Founding Member

"Sincere condolences to you, Bill, and your family, on Marilyn's passing. I have nothing but fond memories of Marilyn and her calm-but-firm guidance from the early years of ISPOR (APOR), always looking out for what was best for the organization and always with a smile. ISPOR --- and the broader outcomes research community --- would not be what it is today without Marilyn's guidance and contributions. Her legacy will live on!"


Martin Visnansky, ISPOR Chapter Slovakia

"Words are coming not easily to our minds in such a sad moments... Big thanks for articulating ISPOR vision and spreading ISPOR values across all continents. I´m sure, many of my colleagues in Central and Eastern Europe ISPOR Chapters will remember her forever..."


Amir Viyanchi, Published in VIH

"Please accept my heartfelt sympathy on the passing of our dear."


Sreedhar Dharmagadda, Guided to start a ISPOR regional chapter at Manipal

"It is terrible to understand the loss of Founding Director Dr Marilyn Dix Smith. Her contributions to ISPOR are commendable. My deepest condolences to her family and friends. I am sure there will be special session planned during forthcoming ISPOR conference in Barcelona to highlight the contributions of Dr Smith"


Joao Carapinha, Founder ISPOR South Africa Chapter

"It's with much sadness that I learned about Marilyn Dix Smith passing, ISPOR’s Founding Executive Director. Marilyn was an inspirational figure when I just started my career and involvement with ISPOR. I will never forget her gentle guidance when we discussed the idea of establishing the ISPOR South Africa Chapter, the first in Africa. Her leadership, passion, and support during the process went way beyond what any Founder and CEO could do given the size and magnitude of ISPOR at the time!"


Jay Mohr, Member of ISPOR since its founding as APOR and as a board member.

"Marilyn's vision, sheer determination, and hard work grew ISPOR into the vibrant, global organization that it is now. I appreciated Marilyn's accessibility, fiscal responsibility, and her understanding of the importance of ISPOR's educational mission to foster and grow young leaders and new chapters the world over. She ran a tight ship, but had a big vision. I am grateful she designed a careful to transition to our new leaders so we can grow from that strong foundation she built."


Anthony Waka Udezi, Member of ISPOR

"I first met her while on my second ISPOR Meeting in the US. In her I saw humility and focus. I take strength not from how long Marilyn has lived but from the many lives her scientific organization has impacted directly or indirectly on a global scale. That is immensely of an unmeasurable value like a rare gem that cannot be replaced. Despite the pain of your loss to the HEOR world you will continue to live in the hearts of many through the work of ISPOR. Rest in peace."

Maarten IJzerman, Former ISPOR Board of Directors

I am very sorry to hear Marilyn passed away. We all owe a lot to Marilyn, not just as a society but also as individual members. I had the pleasure to serve on the board of directors in one of the last years that Marilyn took full responsibility for ISPOR. Marilyn has been very supportive in my ambition to develop as an independent leader in health economics and outcomes research by providing introductions to different committees in ISPOR. Thank you, Marilyn.

Richard Milne, ISPOR Member Since Its Inception

I met Bill McGhan at a conference on pharmacoeconomics in Belgium when global ISPOR was being planned, and Marilyn some time later. Both Bill and Marilyn have provided much inspiration, for over 20 years. I especially remember and value Marilyn for her courage in speaking frankly about her illness at one ISPOR meeting. Condolences to Bill and her family

Renee Arnold, Founding Member

I will never forget when Marilyn and Alan Bakst came up to me at CEPOR the year of ISPOR's founding, 1995, and asked if I'd like to help form an organization made up of all the different types of professionals that were involved in outcomes research. Marilyn has always been, not only the guiding light of the organization, but also my proponent throughout my tenure at ISPOR. What a wonderful person. I really miss her.

Vlad Zah, Knew Marilyn as a Great Leader, Visionary, and a Friend

Marilyn was a kind, very fair, straight to the point, humble, exceptional leader, and visionary. Thanks to her unrelentness devotion many of us remained in health economics and saw HEOR exponentially grow. My deepest condolences to Bill and the family.

Adrian Towse, ISPOR President 2014-15

Marilyn combined exceptional drive and energy with charm and good nature. She knew her limitations but would not accept any for ISPOR. She created an organisation that allowed health economists and outcomes researchers around the world to find a home to further their research and policy objectives. Her global vision made ISPOR the force that it is today. We all owe her a debt of gratitude. She deserved a longer retirement time to relax with her family.

Naveel Atif, Knew Marilyn from ISPOR

Deeply aggrieved by this great loss...May you rest in peace...

Amir Viyanchi, Knew Marilyn Through ISPOR's Publications

Please accept my heartfelt sympathy on the passing of our dear founder. 

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