Teresa Gibson, PhD, a nationally known expert in evaluation of employer-sponsored health care initiatives, originally came to Harvard Medical School as a research assistant to Paul Cleary, PhD, then an Assistant professor in the Department of Social Medicine. (He is now Dean of the Yale School of Public Health.)Â After about a year, she returned to her studies at the University of Michigan, where she earned a masters degree in Health Administration and Industrial Engineering.
She was hired at what eventually became Thomson Reuters, also in Michigan, initially supporting individual employers. She later moved into a position as Director of MarketScan, a database which is among the nationâ€™s most comprehensive depositories of administrative data for individuals with employer-based health insurance coverage. She returned to the University of Michigan, earning a masterâ€™s degree in Economics and her PhD in Health Services Organization and Policy, and then returned to Thomson Reuters, where she is a researcher.
It turned out that Gibsonâ€™s relationship with Harvard wasnâ€™t over. When she was earning her PhD at Michigan, Gibson was a colleague with Michael E. Chernew, PhD, and that began a professional collaboration that continued after Chernew became a faculty member at HCP in 2006 and Gibson went to Thomson Reuters. The two have continued to work on projects together since then.
Now, Gibsonâ€™s relationship with HCP has been formalized with her recent appointment as a lecturer in the Department of Health Care Policy. At the same time, she will continue at her position as Senior Director of Health Outcomes at Thomson Reuters. She will bring to Harvard her expertise in econometric methods and administrative data analysis as well as her substantive experience in areas such as benefit design, chronic illness, and wellness.
As an HCP faculty member, Gibson will collaborate with HCP faculty, students, and others in the Harvard community. Several such collaborations are ongoing, including those with Chernew, Mary Beth Landrum, PhD, Bruce E. Landon, MD, MBA, MSC, Haiden A. Huskamp, PhD, and John Hsu, MD, MBA. For example, Gibson and Chernew are currently examining geographic variations in healthcare spending in the under-65, commercially insured population and separately investigating the impact of benefit design on worker productivity. Gibson will both lead her own projects, seeking funding as Principal Investigator, and collaborate on projects led by other Harvard faculty.
Chernew discussed the potential impact of this appointment for HCP. â€śWe hope to expand our ability to understand how the healthcare sector is changing and to access the clinical and economic impact of those changes. The current health care financing and delivery system is unsustainable for payers; ideally, efforts to transform the system will not only address our fiscal challenges, but also improve the quality of care and beneficiary health and productivity. Teresaâ€™s insight and skills will help us accomplish these goals.â€ť
For Gibson, the position in HCP facilitates collaboration with HCP researchers, who are among the leaders in the field, and allows her to bid on grants she would otherwise not have access to. This opens opportunities for more investigator-initiated research emanating from HCP. Having access to clinicians who are also health policy researchersâ€”an unusual combinationâ€”is of particular value to her.
As she is settling in, Gibson has been talking with others in the department and is looking forward to getting more involved with their work. She has already enjoyed working with those with whom she has interacted and is eager to bring her knowledge and skills to more of the projects.
HCP is equally as eager for that. Said Chernew, â€śThis partnership is rich with possibilities to generate synergies between this valuable data set, Teresaâ€™s expertise, and the resources and skills of HCPâ€™s faculty.â€ť