ISPOR Honors Rebecca Myerson with Award for Excellence in Health Economics and Outcomes Research

Assistant Professor Rebecca Myerson, a health economist at the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics and faculty at the USC School of Pharmacy, was honored at the 2018 ISPOR Awards Program for her research on the impact of trans fatty acid bans on rates of heart attacks and stroke. Myerson received the ISPOR Health Economics and Outcomes Research Application Award, which recognizes outstanding practical application of pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research in healthcare decision making.

ISPOR is the International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research. It was founded in 1995 and has 9,500 individual and student members from 114 countries.

The study, published in JAMA Cardiology in June 2017, analyzed New York counties that implemented bans on trans fatty acids, comparing them to similar counties without such bans. The authors conducted an innovative difference-in-difference analysis in which they adjusted for commuting between restriction and non-restriction counties, given that people may consume food near their place of work. Myerson led the design of the analysis and conducted the analysis.

Myerson and her coauthors found that New York counties that implemented restrictions on trans fats experienced a 6.2 percent decline in hospital admissions for heart attack and stroke three or more years after the bans were implemented compared to counties without restrictions in place. The results translate to 43 fewer heart attacks and strokes per 100,000 people. Previously, little was known about the effects of TFA restrictions on population-level cardiovascular outcomes.

“This is a well-deserved award commensurate with the innovative methods used by professor Myerson and her colleagues,” said Dana Goldman, director of the Schaeffer Center. “On the study team, Dr. Myerson led that effort.”

The study came at a pivotal time. In 2015 the Food and Drug Administration released a ruling stating trans fats were no longer safe to consumer in processed foods, and effective in 2018 restriction on industrial trans fatty acids were implemented across the United States. The publication has garnered significant national attention with mentions in over 100 new articles and blog posts and viewed over 1,600 times on the JAMA website.

Lead author on the study is Eric J. Brandt of Yale University School of Medicine. Myerson’s other co-authors include Marcelo Coca Perraillon of University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Tamar S. Polonsky of University of Chicago Department of Medicine.