Investigators and staff of the Health Decision Sciences Center (HDSC)
Karen Sepucha, PhD
Dr. Sepucha is the director of the Health Decision Sciences Center in the General Medicine Division at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her research and clinical interests involve developing and implementing tools and methods to improve the quality of significant medical decisions made by patients and clinicians. Dr. Sepucha was the medical editor for a series of five breast cancer patient decision aids (PtDAs) developed by the not-for-profit Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making. The PtDAs have won seven media awards and Dr. Sepucha has led the dissemination of these programs to dozens of academic and community cancer centers across the country. She is also responsible for efforts to implement shared decision making tools into primary and specialty care at Mass General. Her recent research has focused on the development of instruments to measure the quality of decisions. The decision quality instruments have been used in a national survey of medical decisions, and a subset of the items is being evaluated for use in CAHPS as part of the primary care medical home certification. Dr. Sepucha has been active in local, national and international efforts to improve decision quality, including the International Patient Decision Aids Standards collaboration. She has her Ph.D. in Engineering-Economic Systems and Operations Research at Stanford University with a focus in decision sciences.
Dr. Simmons is an internal medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her research interests include patient engagement in care and shared decision making. Dr. Simmons is on the staff at the John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation and the MGH Health Decision Sciences Center where she studies the use of decision aids to help patients and clinicians in the shared decision making process. Her clinical practice is with the Internal Medicine Associates at Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to her clinical and research interests, Dr. Simmons is a medical student educator and directs the internal medicine clerkship for Harvard Medical School students at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Lauren Leavitt, MA
Ms. Leavitt is a Program Manager at the HDSC. She manages the implementation of patient decision aids through various research projects and quality improvement activities within MGH and its affiliated community health centers. She also helps to design and present clinician training promoting shared decision-making communication skills. Lauren holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from UMass Amherst and a Masters of Arts degree in Health Communication from Emerson College.
Felisha Marques, MPH
Ms. Marques is a Senior Clinical Research Coordinator at the HDSC. She oversees activities around implementing shared decision making with patients in the primary care and specialty care settings at MGH and its affiliated community health centers. Ms. Marques works on expanding relationships with primary care and specialty practices across the hospital, conducting survey research, and running quality improvement activities. Felisha holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Assumption College and a Masters of Public Health degree from The University of New England.
Sarah Hewitt, MPP
Ms. Hewitt is a Research Coordinator with the HDSC. She manages the Breast Cancer Initiative, contributes to implementation of decision aids across primary and specialty care, and assists with other decision quality projects. Sarah has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Health and a Masters in Public Policy with a concentration in healthcare from Simmons College.
Mahima Mangla, MPH
Ms. Mangla is a Research Coordinator with the HDSC. She helps manage an orthopedics study sponsored by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation which seeks to assess the decision-making process for patients considering surgery for hip and knee osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, or herniated disc. She also assists with other HDSC projects pertaining to decision quality and shared-decision making. Mahima has a Bachelor of Arts from New York University and a Masters in Public Health from the Boston University School of Public Health.
Emily Wendell, BA
Ms. Wendell is a Clinical Research Coordinator with the HDSC and the Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation. Her primary role is to recruit patients for an orthopedics study sponsored by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation which aims to assess the decision-making process for patients considering surgery to treat various orthopedic conditions. She also works with the Stoeckle Center to develop resources for investigators pursuing PCORI funding. Emily joins MGH from a role in health communications and holds a Bachelors of Arts in Biology from Williams College.
Following 15 years of service as an administrative assistant at MGH, Ms. Floramo has joined the Health Decision Sciences Center as part of a dual role in the General Medicine Division. She plays an integral role in the distribution of decision aids.