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Technology Evaluation Center Staff

NAOMI ARONSON, Ph.D.

Naomi Aronson, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of Clinical Evaluation, Innovation, and Policy in the Office of Clinical Affair at Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Dr. Aronson oversaw the Association’s development of the Technology Evaluation Center (TEC) into a nationally recognized technology assessment program and an evidence-based practice center (EPC) of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). She has directed over 300 technology assessments and 20 evidence reports for AHRQ. Prior to joining the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Dr. Aronson was a member of the Northwestern University faculty, specializing in the sociology of science and medicine. Dr. Aronson’s academic research focused on how the organization of scientific specialties in biomedical and clinical research affects the process of scientific discovery.

Dr. Aronson is a member of the Methodology Committee of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Dr. Aronson is a member of the Health Technology Assessment International Health Policy Forum, the Institute of Medicine Genomics Roundtable, the Steering Committee of the Chicago-Area DEcIDE Research Center, and the National Business Group on Health Committee on Evidence-Based Benefit Design. Previously, she has represented the private sector on a U.S. Agency for International Development Team providing technical assistance to the Hungarian government on building evidence-based medicine capacity and also served on the Ontario Health Technology Assessment Evaluation Review Team. She was a member of the Institute of Medicine Forum on Drug Discovery Translation and Development, and a review committee co-chair for the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research Annual Meeting. She also was a post-doctoral fellow in the Science, Technology and Society Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received research awards from the National Science Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies. 

SUZANNE E. BELINSON, Ph.D., M.P.H.

As the Executive Director of the Center for Clinical Effectiveness, Suzanne Belinson, Ph.D., M.P.H. leads the operational and financial responsibilities of TEC assessments. In addition, Dr. Belinson is also part of the leadership team focusing on the development of emerging programs and services that enhance clinical effectiveness for the independent BCBS Plans. Prior to joining the BCBS Association, Dr. Belinson was at Northwestern University, focusing on community based cervical cancer prevention strategies for the U.S. and new screening and diagnostic test development for the developing world.

Dr. Belinson received a B.A. in political science from Cleveland State University, an M.P.H. from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill where her dissertation focused on cervical cancer. She has published in numerous journals, including Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease and International Journal of Gynecologic Cancer.

SUSAN BENLOUCIF, Ph.D.

Dr. Benloucif is Associate Director with Medical Policy in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness, joining the team in 2006. Dr. Benloucif received her training in Biological Psychology and Neuropharmacology and has been a member of the research faculty of Northwestern University since 1995; her current affiliation with Northwestern is as Adjunct Associate Professor of Neurology. Dr. Benloucif has received over ten grants and career development awards from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Benloucif’s research at Northwestern University has focused on circadian rhythms, sleep, and aging, with the goal of developing treatments to improve sleep in older adults. She has presented results from projects at national conferences and in peer-reviewed journals including Sleep, Brain Research, Journal of Biological Rhythms, and the Neurobiology of Aging. While at Northwestern University, Dr. Benloucif served on the Scientific Advisory Panel of the General Clinical Research Center of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and has been a frequent reviewer of journal articles and grants for the National Institutes of Health.

CLAUDIA BONNELL, R.N., M.L.S.

Ms. Bonnell is Program Manager, Medical Information Services and Coding Services with Medical Policy in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness, joining the team in 1993. She received her baccalaureate degree in nursing from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and her Master of Library and Information Sciences degree from Rosary College in River Forest, Illinois. She has completed several Medical Library Association advanced medical reference courses. She manages TEC customer relations, and is the Association's medical and dental coding specialist.

HEATHER M. BROWN, M.D.

Dr. Brown is Associate Medical Director, Policy Resources with Medical Policy in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness, joining the team in 2008. She is a board-certified pathologist with subspecialty boards in cytopathology and a fellowship in oncologic surgical pathology. She received her B.S. in Biology and M.D. at the University of Illinois, and completed a residency in anatomic and clinical pathology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Her subspecialty training was at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Florida. Some special interests include breast cancer and head and neck pathology. She has published in Cancer, Surgery, Human Pathology, Acta Cytologica, Journal of Surgical Research, and other journals 

RYAN D. CHOPRA, M.P.H.

Mr. Chopra is a Scientist in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness, joining the team in 2010. He received a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in public health from Indiana University (Bloomington). He is currently completing his Ph.D in epidemiology from the University of Illinois (Chicago) with a specialization in genetics and infectious disease epidemiology.  He has assisted on several AHRQ projects and technology assessments prior to working full-time at TEC. In addition he has epidemiologic experience working for the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Indiana Drug Prevention Resource Center.

DIANE CIVIC, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Civic is Senior Scientist with Medical Policy in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness, serving in this capacity since 2009. She has worked in the field of evidence-based medicine since 1999. Prior to coming to TEC, Dr. Civic worked on clinical guideline development and medical technology assessment at Group Health Cooperative, an integrated health system based in Seattle. Current interests include clinical trial design and approaches to critically appraising the research literature. Dr. Civic received a B.A. from Duke University, and an M.P.H. and Ph.D. from the University of Washington. She has a background in HIV/STD prevention research. Past projects include a Fulbright Scholarship conducting AIDS-related research in Zimbabwe and a post-doctoral fellowship working on a randomized controlled trial evaluating a condom promotion intervention. Dr. Civic has published in peer-review journals such as Social Science and Medicine, AIDS Education and Prevention, AIDS Care, and the Journal of Adolescent Health.

JOAN GLACY, M.D.

Dr. Glacy is Senior Scientist, Medical Policy in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness, joining the team in 2010. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Trinity College in Hartford, CT and her M.D. from the University of Connecticut. Her clinical background is in Psychiatry, and she worked in private practice before coming to the Association. Dr. Glacy worked for Blue Distinction before joining TEC, developing centers of excellence programs in orthopedic surgery and cancer. Currently, she is completing a Master of Public Health degree in Quantitative Methods at the University of Illinois School of Public Health.

MARK D. GRANT, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Grant is Director, Technology Assessment in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness, joining the team in 2005. His clinical background includes Geriatric and Family Medicine, and he was previously the Director of Research in the Department of Family Medicine at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. He is board certified in Family Practice and holds a Certificate of Added Qualifications in Geriatric Medicine. He has published in JAMA, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, and Annals of Human Biology. Some special interests include epidemiologic methods, treatment and prevention of aging-related diseases. He has taught epidemiology on the graduate level at the University of Illinois and on the undergraduate level at the University of Chicago. Additionally, he recently completed a doctorate in epidemiology at the University of Illinois School of Public Health where he previously obtained his master's degree.

KIMBERLY HINES, M.S.

Ms. Hines is a Medical Editor with Medical Policy in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness, joining the team in 2010. She received her Master of Science degree in Writing and a postgraduate certificate in Medical Editing from the University of Chicago. Besides holding other non-medical writing positions, she worked in various medical editing capacities on behalf of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association and the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and has developed and edited, for a number of years, a variety of medical, health care, and health care technology books. She managed content for a column of latest research in medical literature and served as copy editor for a group of cardiologists launching a new website. In addition, she served as adjunct faculty teaching Writing and Informed Argument at a Chicago university.

FRANK LEFEVRE, M.D.

Dr. Lefevre is Medical Director, Policy Resources with Medical Policy in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness, joining the team in 1991. Most recently, he was also an Associate Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, with appointments in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine. Dr. Lefevre has been with TEC since 1991 and is the primary author on more than 30 TEC Assessments in the areas of internal medicine and cardiology. While at Northwestern, he worked as a hospitalist on the University Service and on the general medicine consultation service. He teaches evidence based medicine and medical decision making to medical students, and has developed a course that he teaches for the Northwestern Masters of Public Health program titled “Technology Assessment: Evidence-based approaches to assessing medical effectiveness.” He has published widely in the peer-reviewed literature in the areas of evidence-based systematic reviews, quality of care, and preoperative medical consultation. 

ANNE MARBELLA, M.S.

Ms. Marbella is a Scientist in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness & Policy, joining the team in 2009. She was with the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Department of Family and Community Medicine for many years, first as an Associate in Family Medicine and then as an Epidemiologist. Prior to the Medical College, Ms. Marbella was with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services as an Epidemiologist and a Data Systems Analyst. In addition, she was a Senior Research Assistant at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas, Houston. She has coauthored numerous publications on a wide variety of health care topics. She has an M.S. in Epidemiology from the University of Texas School of Public Health and an A.B. in Biology from the University of Chicago.

LAURINDA MARIN, R.N., B.S., C.M.Q/O.E.

Laurinda Marin RN, BS, C.M.Q./O.E., is the Nurse Project Manager for the Office of Clinical Affairs at BCBSA. She is a registered nurse that comes to the BCBSA organization with 26 years of nursing experience. Ms. Marin received her BS degree from St. Francis University in Joliet, Illinois and has held the American Society for Quality certification as a Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence (C.M.Q./O.E.) since 2007. Laurinda has a background in emergency medicine and has held a number of leadership positions with the Adventist Health System, Midwest Region since 1987. She has over 15 years of experience with meeting regulatory compliance requirements for various hospital based programs including the Level II Trauma Center, EDAP (Emergency Department Approved for Pediatrics) and Primary Stroke Center as well as core measures for Joint Commission. Ms. Marin has also lead on several key policy development teams and quality improvement initiatives at the hospital. Her most recent role was regional oversight of the Primary Stroke Centers for the Adventist Health System, Midwest Region.

DAVID MARK, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Mark is an Associate Director in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness, joining the team in 1999. He has published several articles on quality of care and outcome assessment. He is also currently a contributing editor at the Journal of the American Medical Association, where he specializes in reviewing and managing manuscripts on statistics, epidemiology, decision and cost-effectiveness analysis, and laboratory medicine. He is board-certified in preventive medicine, and received training in epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley. He was formerly Director of Research in the Department of Family Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He has also served as a consultant to the Wisconsin Peer Review Organization regarding quality of care assessment and the American Medical Association on technology assessment.

BARBARA MAUGER, Ph.D.

Dr. Mauger is an Associate Director in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness, joining the team in 2005. She received her PhD in Health Services Research and Health Policy from the University of Rochester, as well as Master’s degrees from Stanford and Princeton Universities. She has published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Medical Care, Radiology, Neuroradiology, JACR, and other journals. She was a coeditor and contributor to Assessing the Health Status of Older Adults (Springer Publishing Company, 1997). She worked most recently for the Research Group at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Prior to that position, she was Health Policy Director for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in Rochester, NY and Director of Quality Assessment for the Rochester Health Commission. She was a research associate at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, working on technology assessment, cost-effectiveness analysis, and health status assessment. She has particular interests in diagnostic imaging, improving quality of care through the use of evidence-based medicine, and racial disparities in health care.

MEGAN MCCARVILLE, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. McCarville is Associate Director with Medical Policy in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness, joining the team in 2013. She is a board-certified pediatrician with a background in public health. She received her B.A. in economics from Northwestern University and her M.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, along with an M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She completed a residency in pediatrics at Rush University Medical Center, followed by general academic pediatric fellowship training at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital. Her particular interests include obesity and general pediatrics.

HUSSEIN Z. NOORANI, M.S.

Mr. Noorani is a Senior Scientist in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness, joining the team in 2010. He received a bachelor’s degree in neurosciences/medical humanities and a master’s degree in medical science specializing in bioethics from the University of Toronto (Canada). Prior to coming to TEC he was with the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health for 14 years, where he contributed significantly to the selection and definition of health technology assessment (HTA) research topics and the corresponding outreach initiatives and knowledge transfer goals for research projects. Mr. Noorani has been a member of HTA International and the working group on ethical issues of the International Network of Agencies for HTA. He has been an invited lecturer at international agencies and has acted as a consultant to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Mount Sinai Hospital in Canada. He has published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care, and other journals.

THOMAS A. RATKO, Ph.D.

Dr. Ratko is an Associate Director in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness & Policy, joining the team in 2005. He received a B.S. degree in Microbiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Doctorate in Pharmacology from the University of Illinois at Chicago Health Sciences Center. Prior to joining TEC, Dr. Ratko was employed by the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) for nearly 13 years, first as a Senior Research Associate and subsequently as a Manager in the UHC Technology Assessment Group. While at UHC, he authored more than 30 technology assessments, reports, and bulletins covering topics in transfusion medicine, diagnostic imaging, oncology, and cardiology. Before joining the UHC staff, Dr. Ratko was a Senior Scientist in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the American Medical Association (AMA), where he contributed to the compendium, Drug Evaluations and participated as a representative to a number of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Health and Human Services committees. Prior to that, Dr. Ratko was a Senior Biologist at the IIT Research Institute in Chicago, where he participated in the conception and execution of National Cancer Institute-funded preclinical studies of a wide variety of candidate cancer chemoprevention compounds in several rodent adenocarcinoma model systems. He has published articles in JAMA, Transfusion, Archives of Internal Medicine, American Journal of Medicine, Cancer Research, Cancer Letters, Anticancer Research, JCOM, and other journals. 

MICHAEL VASKO, M.A.

Mr. Vasko is a medical editor with the Center for Clinical Effectiveness, joining the team in 2013. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from McGill University. He has worked in various capacities with a number of professional and trade associations, including the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics and the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. He was a member of the Council of Science Editor’s Editorial Policy Committee that produced CSE’s White Paper on Promoting Integrity in Scientific Publications (2006).

VIKRANT VATS, Ph.D.

Dr. Vats is a Senior Scientist in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness & Policy, joining the team in 2010. He received his Ph.D. and Masters in Pharmacology from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, India.  He has completed a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship training at the Center of Pharmacoeconomic Research at the College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, and 1 year post-doctoral training at Walgreen Health Initiatives in Deerfield, IL. He has published in various national and international scientific journals in the area of herbal drug discovery, health delivery and services research with a focus on adherence to medications and anticoagulation/thrombosis. His research interests include health care service research, large database analysis and evidence-based medicine.

KATHLEEN M. ZIEGLER, Pharm.D.

Dr. Ziegler is Director, Clinical Science Services in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness & Policy, joining the team in 1993. . She received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy. Subsequently, she worked as a Drug Information Analyst on the staff of AHFS Drug Information, where she researched, wrote, and edited evaluative, evidence-based drug monographs. She has co-authored AHRQ evidence reviews and published manuscripts along with other TEC staff in Chest, JACR, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.