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Recent Projects

Through prevention effectiveness research, fellows make a difference in policies, programs, and practices by determining their value, quality, and cost. Here are some recent projects that PE fellows have completed.

Changing Federal Immigration Policy

As a direct result of research performed by a PE fellow in 2009, HHS and the CDC proposed the removal of HIV infection from the list of communicable diseases of public health significance. An economic model was developed to help assess the costs and benefits of the proposed rule change.

The research resulted in a set of recommendations published in the Federal Register:

  • HIV infection would no longer be included on the list of "communicable disease of public health significance"
  • Testing for HIV infection would no longer be required as part of the U.S. immigration medical screening process
  • HIV infection would no longer require a waiver for entry into the U.S.

These recommendations, based on rigorous economic and decision analysis, reflect a deviation from conventional wisdom.

Influenza Vaccine and Asthma

This study examined the effectiveness of the seasonal influenza vaccine in preventing acute asthma episodes and associated costs. Results indicated that vaccination was found to be associated with fewer acute asthma episodes, lower asthma-related non-prescription expenditures, but higher expenditures on prescription medication.

These results support the policy recommendation to routinely deliver seasonal influenza vaccine to individuals with persistent asthma and suggest that this vaccination may actually represent a cost saving intervention, potentially saving over $1 billion dollars in U.S. medical costs per year.

Economic Burden of Cancer in the U.S.

This research was first to combine national cancer costs for all types of payers, examining the changes over time. Findings indicate that the cost of treating cancer has doubled over the past 20 years, but those costs are in line with overall trends in health spending. While more people are getting cancer as the U.S. population ages, treatment has shifted away from hospitals to outpatient settings. Medicaid costs for cancer care have increased by 488%, private insurer costs by 137%, and Medicare by 99%. Out-of-pocket costs paid by patients, including co-pays and deductibles, fell by 7%.