By Ellen Engelhardt, PhD, Editor-In-Chief

As summer draws to a close in the Northern hemisphere, we find ourselves facing the arrival of rain and autumn storms. But it's not just a season of gloom; autumn also graces us with its splendid display of vibrant colors. Regardless of your location, I hope you had the opportunity to take a break and unwind. 

Source: https://www.interrail.eu/content/dam/blogazine/netherlands-amsterdam-autumn-canal-bike.adaptive.767.1630505521506.gif

The 45th North American meeting is less than a month away. Hopefully, many of you will be able to join. In this issue’s Poll, we want to hear from you why you are or aren’t able to attend the annual SMDM meeting and what SMDM can do to make the meetings more appealing or feasible for you to attend. Click on this link to share your thoughts, it only takes 5 minutes!

In this newsletter you will find the latest updates regarding the meeting and related activities. I want to highlight one very special session which will be held on Wednesday October 25th. SMDM’s Patient Advisory Council (PAC) members are organizing a panel discussion entitled: Beyond Polite Listening: Integrating patients’ perspectives throughout the research phases. Engaging patients and patient representatives throughout the various stages of research can help you connect the patient experience and the outcomes that are most relevant to the actual work. During the PAC panel at SMDM, you will hear from patients and patient representatives what their experiences have been participating in research in different roles and have a chance to exchange ideas about how to meaningfully engage with patients and patient representatives in your own work. If you have questions you would like to have addressed during the PAC panel discussion, simply e-mail them to me ([email protected]). I look forward to seeing many of you there. This panel will be a great end to what will undoubtedly be another inspiring SMDM meeting.

In this edition of the newsletter, you will find a lot of information about the upcoming North American meeting, but also:

  • Beate Sander, SMDM President, will walk you through important developments for the Society, among which is a change to the meeting schedule.
  • Scott Lajoie, SMDM Secretary-Treasurer-Elect, talks about the financial aspects of organizing SMDM meetings.
  • Brian Zikmind-Fischer, editor-in-chief of MDM and MDM P&P, shares news about a new opportunity to promote your work as well as a chance to meet the editors in Philadelphia.
  • I report back on the results of the last MDM poll in which we asked you about your use of electronic health records in your research.


By Beate Sander, PhD, President

Dear colleagues and friends,

I am excited to share significant developments on the structure of our scientific meetings that will shape the future of SMDM meetings.

As you might recall, to achieve the goals of the 2022-2024 Strategic Plan, several Task Forces were set up in 2021, including a Meetings Task Force with the charge to rethink scientific meeting structures, including new formats (in-person, virtual, hybrid), timing, and locations. Led by Dr. Olga Kostopoulou and myself, this dedicated group of members, including Drs. Robert Beck, Beate Jahn, Lisa Prosser, Alan Schwartz, Victoria Shaffer, and Anthony Sunjaya, has put forward the following recommendations:

  1. Rotation: Rotate Annual Meetings in a 3-year pattern: two in North America (NA), and one in Europe. Hold 2024 and 2025 meetings in North America and the 2026 meeting in Europe.
  2. Venue: Strong preference to hold meetings in lower-cost, non-hotel venues, and use universities as is possible.
  3. Timing: Move from October to May/June each year. Moving from hotels to universities necessitates a change in timing from October to June, as universities are generally not available in October to host conferences, with very few exceptions, e.g., Boston University.

These recommendations, first introduced to the membership at Dr. Olga Kostopoulou’s Presidential Address at the 2022 North American meeting in Seattle, were further developed by the Meetings Task Force, who took into account 1) SMDM Board discussions during its 2021 Strategic Planning Sessions, 2) insights from the SMDM Membership survey about SMDM conferences and rotations in 2022, 3) meeting and membership statistics, and 4) discussions held in several SMDM Task Force meetings in 2022 and in 2023. The recommendations were presented and discussed at various levels within SMDM, including the Executive Meeting in April 2023 and the Board Meeting in June 2023. They also underwent extensive email discussions among the Executive Committee. In preparation for the August 2023 Board Meeting, the DART committee, led by Drs. Heather Gold and Beate Jahn, provided valuable feedback to the Board, touching on issues related to pricing of registration and accommodation, meeting timing, and the rotation pattern, i.e., consideration of alternating meeting locations between North America and Europe (1 NA/1 Europe), allowing for more frequent international networking opportunities.

The recommendations of the Meetings Task Force were finally approved by the SMDM Board at their August 2023 meeting. Changes will be implemented one at a time, starting next year: shift to a University setting for the NA Meeting in 2024, shift to June with the 2025 NA Meeting, and shift to the Annual Meeting being held in Europe in 2026.

Because this constitutes a major shift, I want to provide some context and background, focusing on our overall goal, potential impact on meeting attendance and membership, and evaluation. Those interested, please read more here!

All my best,


PS. This notice will also be sent as an email in its entirety to all SMDM members.

SMDM Meeting Venues

By Andrew Scott LaJoie, PhD, Secretary-Treasurer-Elect

I think I prefer living under a veil of ignorance. This past year, as the SMDM Secretary-Treasurer-Elect, I got to participate in the preparing and approving of our annual budget, including expenses and revenues, rainy-day funds, and investment strategies. As most know, our biggest expense and income stream is the annual meeting and this year I really started to understand why. 

Main point: we host annual meetings in large, pricey cities, in attractive locations, at brand-name hotels large enough for us.

Previously, I co-chaired an annual meeting (St Louis, with James Stahl), so expenses shouldn't have surprised me. But they did. I am honesty shocked by how much more hotels are charging now compared to previously. Allow me to share how expensive meetings have become.

To begin, I recognize when we host our meetings at large hotels in big cities, everything is simply more expensive. When we occupy a hotel, we agree to rent a certain number of rooms. Hotel policies mean we must use the hotel catering department, pay to use the hotel audio-visual department (or pay a fee to bring outside equipment and people in), pay for Wi-Fi, and pay taxes, special fees, and prescribed gratuities. As our executive director Diane Nickolson says, professional and academic meetings are a captive and lucrative market for hotels.

Here are some costs for our 2023 meeting in Philadelphia.

·       USD 100,000 for Audio/Visual (hotel's IT staff, laptops, microphones, projectors, speakers)

·       USD 68.50 per person for a box lunch (sandwich, chips, apple, bottle of water)

·       USD 72.50 for a dozen pieces of pastry

·       USD 6.50 for a piece of fruit

·       USD 36 a day per person for coffee

These present-day costs represent an increase of 25% since 2021, with another 7% expected for this year, according to the Northstar Meetings Group. To be budget neutral, revenues must meet expenses; to do so, organizations like ours have to pass some of the costs along to members in the form of higher registration fees.

As Beate Sander mentions in her President’s Column this month, we intend to host future SMDM Meetings in non-hotel venues, such as universities and special venues. Meeting at universities will allow us significant savings on food, beverages, audio visual needs, as well as reduced rental costs. We have compared our own budgets for hotel-based to what it would have cost at non-hotel venues. We suspect to see significant savings by switching to non-hotel venues. And, we should be able to reflect some of these savings in our future meeting registration fees.  


By Ellen Engelhardt, PhD, Editor-In-Chief

Use of data from Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems for MDM research

Over the last seven months you’ve had the opportunity to fill in the MDM Poll on the use of EHR data for MDM research. This poll was inspired by the keynote lecture given at last year’s Annual Meeting in Seattle by Erich Huang, MD, PhD entitled: “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities: Using Data for More Equitable and Effective Clinical Decision Making”. We asked you to share whether you had used EHR data in your MDM research and the experiences (both positive and negative) you’ve had.

In total, 87 SMDM colleagues completed the Poll, thank you!! Most respondents were based in the US (71%), and 37% work in the SMDM subfield of Health Services, Outcomes, and Policy Research and 29% in Decision Psychology and Shared Decision Making.

Of respondents, 49 out of 87 (56%) indicated that they had used EHRs in their research and 53% of them would consider using EHRs in future research. Of those respondents who would consider using EHRs again for research purposes, 18 out of 26 described key factors for deciding to use them again related to: costs of obtaining data, accessibility, cleanliness, completeness, and reliability of the data. Respondents’ experiences showed that these factors could be important barriers to the use of EHRs for research. Another major problem was the lack of connections across health systems or sometimes even within health systems. Popular EHRs do not communicate well with each other. Even though the experiences of respondents suggest that working with EHR data is complex, there was also a general sense that it has a lot of potential. Finally, close collaboration with health information technology colleagues and healthcare professionals is crucial to locate data in the system, but also to correctly interpret the data.

Example quotes:

-       “It sounds easy to collect data from the EHR, but it's not.

-       “Data is messy, especially if there are no structured fields and sometimes even if there are.

-       “It is a wonderful resource for abundant and rich data.

Fill in the Poll for Issue 4

DSCCo Interest Group Engagement

By Jody Lin, MD, MS and Davene Wright, PhD

The Decision Sciences Collaborative for Child Health (DSCCo) focuses on fostering community and developing programming related to pediatric decision science. While membership engagement during the annual SMDM meeting remains high, we have strived to develop programming that continues this high level of engagement throughout the year.

In April 2023, we launched a monthly “Show and Tell” series. Much like the informal sessions of sharing we engaged in during childhood, this event provides a forum for members to share interesting news and ongoing work related to pediatric decision science without any need for advance preparation. Thus far attendees have shared on a broad variety of areas: new articles, emerging methodologies, and updates on individual research. These sessions allow us to learn from each other and foster more personal connections within the interest group beyond our annual meeting.

Show and Tell occurs the 2nd Tuesday of each month 10-11a PT/11a-12p MT/12-1p CT/1-2p ET via Zoom. Look out for registration for upcoming Show and Tells on the SMDM website, social media, and the DSCCo listserve. 

In collaboration with the Career Development Committee we are developing a Grant Review and Networking for Trainees (GRANTs) series focused on grant preparation and guidance. This series led by Hadley Stevens Smith and Ryan Suk will launch after the SMDM North America Meeting and occur quarterly.

If you are interested in being added to the DSCCo mailing list to receive ongoing news and announcements related to pediatric decision science, email Jody Lin at [email protected].


By Brian Zikmund-Fisher, PhD

I'm excited to share two pieces of journal-related news with the SMDM membership.

MDM Journal News: Free Article Access for Journalists

First, Sage (the publisher of both Medical Decision Making and MDM Policy & Practice) has just announced a program that gives journalists free access to articles in any of their journals upon request. Journalists can use this form to request access or email for more information. In addition, Sage is also willing to provide paywall-free links to articles that journalists cite in their own articles so that the news audience can read the underlying science free of charge. See the press release here.

This is great news for any of us who talk to journalists about the work that we publish in the MDM journals. I am especially excited about the paywall-free links that journalists can include in their stories to increase the readership of our work. Please let any journalists who you speak to about work published in MDM or MDM:P&P know that these options are available to them.

Meet the Editors in Philadelphia!

Second, as an extension of the successful "Editors and Abstracts Hours" that we have been running throughout this year, I am happy to announce that Deputy Editor Lauren Cipriano and I will be hosting 1:1 "Meet the Editors" sessions with prospective authors at the SMDM meeting in Philadelphia in October. We're especially hoping to talk to anyone who wants to transform their meeting presentation or poster into a manuscript submission to our journals. We're happy to look at abstracts or just discuss what we would be looking for in your submissions. 

Each 10-minute consultation will be held at the MDM journals table (near registration) on Sunday 10/22 from 4:30-6 and Monday 10/23 from 5:15-6:15. Reserve your preferred time slot using this link, or just drop by the table and sign up for the next available slot.

Alternately, please feel free to say hi and ask questions of any of the Editors and Associate Editors as we are wandering the meeting. We love to talk with prospective authors!




Join us October 22-25 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Don't miss this great opportunity to connect with your peers and attend interesting and informative sessions.

You are sure to enjoy the "City of Brotherly Love" Philadelphia, PA. A city rich in America's history of Independence.

Register Now
Register for the Mt. Hood Diabetes Challenge


Metamodeling for Simulation Based Optimization of Strategies in Health Care

9 November 2023

Koen Degeling, PhD

Lumen Value & Access

Scientific Director

Economic Modeling & Innovation Lead

University of Melbourne

Honorary Fellow

Erik Koffijiberg, PhD

University of Twente

Full Professor HTA of Digital Innovations

Chair of the Section Technology & Services Research

Cohort Modeling in R

13 December 2023

Eline Krijkamp, PhD

Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Petros Pechlivanoglou, PhD

Hospital for Sick Children,

Research Institute

Senior Scientist

University of Toronto, Institute of Health Pollicy

Associate Professor


The Harvard University PhD Program in Health Policy held a Virtual Admissions Information Session on September 28 to share information about the program, application tips, our new optional GRE policy, and to offer track-specific breakout sessions to potential applicants. The recording for this event has been posted to the “Apply” page on our website for those who were unable to attend the live Information Session. Prospective applicants are encouraged to watch the recording so that they can prepare their strongest application.



Davene Wright

Submit Member News for Issue 4

Here are the most recent job opportunities since our last newsletter.

SMDM members can stay current on the newest opportunities in the Resources Section of SMDM Connect.

CDC Steven M. Teutsch Prevention Effectiveness Fellowship

Analytics and Modeling Track

Cognitive Health Services Research Faculty – Physician Scientist

Twitter  Linkedin  
Netherlands Cancer Institute

Deputy Editor

Aisha Langford, PhD

Wayne State University School of Medicine