Team

Team

AHE maintains a core team of research staff skilled in health economics and outcomes research (HEOR) and litigation support and policy analysis (LSPA). AHE’s core team includes a talented group of Project Managers and Associates responsible for maintaining continuous forward progress on projects and organizing and facilitating clear communication with clients and collaborators. In addition to its core team, AHE maintains a network of Scientific Advisors and Clinical Advisors who are assigned to specific projects as necessary. Our consultants and researchers able to provide the full spectrum of life sciences consulting.

The health economics group is led by CEO and Founder John Schneider, PhD, Director and Principal Andrew Briggs, DPhil, and Director and Principal Cara Scheibling. The core health economics group is based in Miami, FL, and Morristown, NJ (just outside of New York City). The economics support team has a wide variety of education, training, and experience, including economics, statistics, actuarial science, epidemiology, public health and engineering.

CORE TEAM

John E. Schneider, PhD – CEO & Principal
John E. Schneider is the CEO and founder of Avalon Health Economics. Dr. Schneider was one of the founding partners of the Health Economics Consulting Group, LLC (HECG), which formed in 2004. HECG merged with the UK-based Oxford Outcomes in 2009, and from 2009-2013 Dr. Schneider served as Senior Director of the U.S. health economics operations of Oxford Outcomes, which also included facilitating integration between Oxford Outcomes and ICON plc in 2011. He started Avalon Health Economics in 2013 by bringing together the consulting practices of several industry and academic colleagues, building on what he started with HECG in 2004. Prior to starting HECG, Dr. Schneider was on the faculty in the Department of Health Management and Policy and the Department of Economics at the University of Iowa. His PhD is in Health Services and Policy Analysis from the University of California Berkeley, with a concentration in health economics. He has over 25 years of experience studying economic and organizational aspects of the health care industry, including professional appointments at the Center for Health Economics Research (Waltham, MA; now part of RTI International), and the California Association of Health Plans (Sacramento, CA).Dr. Schneider has also served as a consultant to managed care organizations, state health departments, trade associations, medical device manufacturers, large pharmaceutical companies, and others. He has also served as an expert witness in several legal proceedings. Dr. Schneider’s expertise include: economic evaluation of new pharmaceuticals, devices, and diagnostics (including outcomes research and other forms of technology assessment); pricing and reimbursement; analysis of medical care costs (costs of illness; valuation of medical services and supplies); health insurance & managed care; regulation, hospital competition, and health care markets; specialty hospitals; physician ownership; contracting; antitrust; and trademark infringement. Some of his research has been published in Medical Care Research and Review, International Journal of Healthcare Finance and Economics, Tobacco Control, Health Economics Review, Health Affairs, Inquiry, Health Services Research, Review of Industrial Organization, International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care, American Journal of Medical Science, Prevention Science, and Health Care Financing Review. He is co-author of The Business of Health (AEI Press, 2006).

Andrew Briggs, D.Phil, MSc – Director & Principal
Andrew Briggs, D.Phil, MSc, is a Director at Avalon Health Economics. Dr. Briggs is primarily responsible for project direction, scientific advising, and training and mentoring of our health economists and researchers. He has extensive experience conducting economic evaluation analyses globally, and adapting models across health systems. Andrew has a DPhil in Health Economics and an MSc in Applied Statistics, both from the University of Oxford. He currently holds the Lindsay Chair in Health Economics at the University of Glasgow, and has acted as advisor to the UK Department of Health, the UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence and a number of pharmaceutical companies. Andrew is an integral part of Avalon’s capability in health economics. He has extensive experience of all aspects of health economic evaluation, policy and reimbursement processes. He has published extensively on the topic of cost effectiveness analysis and economic evaluation, and served on numerous committees on economic evaluation methodology and standard practices, including four ISPOR Task Forces on Good Research Practices (Clinical Trials, Modelling, Risk Sharing and Health State Utility Measurement). He is also lead author of the widely cited textbook Decision Modeling for Health Economic Evaluation (with Karl Claxton and Mark Sculpher; Oxford University Press 2006) and is an editor at the journal Health Economics. He is currently on sabbatical at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York where he is looking at the value of oncology products.

Cara M. Scheibling – Vice President & Principal
Cara Scheibling is a Vice President & Principal at Avalon Health Economics. She has her MBA from University of Tennessee. In addition to her role in business management and development, Cara’s focus is on cost accounting, cost analysis, and economic valuation. With more than 10 years of experience in health economics, Cara has developed expertise in developing cost estimates for economic models of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, developing unit cost measures for model adaptations, and estimating reasonable costs of medical services in a variety of health care litigation applications. In addition to experience and skills in cost modelling in Excel, she has extensive experience in health policy analysis and technical writing. Prior to joining Avalon Health Economics, Cara has been a Health Economist and Policy Analyst at Oxford Outcomes, Ltd. At Oxford, she contributed to studies of ambulatory surgery center economic impact, orthopedic surgeon ownership of ancillary services, hospital access, and cost analysis for litigation support projects and health policy analyses. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Business from Drew University.

SCIENTIFIC ADVISORS

Anthony Lo Sasso, PhD
Anthony Lo Sasso, PhD, is Professor and Driehaus Fellow in the Economics Department at DePaul University in Chicago. His research spans several dimensions of health and labor economics, health policy, and health services and outcomes research. He is keenly interested in how government policies affect private sector decisions. After receiving an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) 5-year Independent Scientist Award entitled “Workplace Health Benefits and Employee Health,” his research explored the impact of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program on insurance coverage of children. An area of particular interest for Lo Sasso is the effects of health insurance benefit design on health care utilization and health outcomes. This work includes an AHRQ-funded research grant to study so-called narrow network insurance plans; a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) funded study to examine the impact of an expansion of mental health benefits on cost and quality of care at a large manufacturing firm; and ongoing work examining the effects of high deductible health insurance on health care use. Additionally, he served as co-investigator on an NIH-funded study examining the effects of corporate wellness programs on use of preventive services and health outcomes. Until recently (2012-2019), Lo Sasso served as the Executive Director of the American Society of Health Economists (ASHEcon). With training in labor and health economics and extensive experience studying the effects of insurance in both the private and public sectors, he is a nationally recognized leader in the field.

Robert Ohsfeldt, PhD
Robert Ohsfeldt, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the School of Rural Public Health at Texas A&M University. In 2016, he was designated a Regents Professor, a prestigious award for faculty who have provided exemplary service to the university and community. Previously, he has been a Professor at the University of Iowa and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University, and was employed as a manager of health outcomes research for Eli Lilly and Company, where he received the President’s Award from Lilly Research Laboratories in 2001. Dr. Ohsfeldt completed his Ph.D. in economics at the University of Houston in 1983 and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow in Healthcare Finance at Johns Hopkins University and the Texas Medical Center during 1987-88. He is author or co-author of more than 160 papers published in peer-reviewed journals and is a co-author of The Business of Health (AEI Press, 2006). He has broad expertise on cost analysis and cost data, cost-effectiveness analysis, budget impact analysis, regression analysis and analyses of large administrative claims databases. Dr. Ohsfeldt has been the principal investigator for research grants funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Cancer Institute, Centers for Disease Control, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He has served as a peer-reviewer for more than 60 scientific journals and has been a member of grant review panels for the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Ohsfeldt currently serves as a member of the Editorial Board for Value in Health and was a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy from 2005-2015.

Edmund Pezalla, MD, MPH
Dr. Pezalla is a Senior Advisor to Avalon Health Economics, assisting in projects related to U.S. market access, U.S. payer coverage determinations, and commercialization strategy. He is Founder and CEO of Enlightenment Bioconsult, LLC, a strategic payer consultancy advising biopharmaceutical firms on access, technology assessment, and drug evaluation in the US market. His clients include established pharmaceutical firms and emerging companies with innovative therapies. Dr. Pezalla served for nine years as VP for Pharmaceutical Policy and Strategy for Aetna, and four years as VP of Clinical Services for RxSolutions. In these roles he developed programs for drug evaluation, creation of clinical policy and formulary inclusion. Dr. Pezalla also served as the leading executive for Aetna on public policy issues related to drug approval, drug pricing and regulation. He is a member of the MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation NEWDIGS project and was a member of the inaugural class of Scholars-in-Residence at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. Dr. Pezalla received his BS and MD degrees with honors from Georgetown University and holds an MPH from the University of California at Berkeley. He was a Health Services Research Fellow and doctoral student at the University of Michigan Schools of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Pezalla has published on a range of topics related to regulatory affairs/adaptive licensing and innovative healthcare financing models. Most recently Dr. Pezalla published a paper with Dr. Sam Nusbaum in JMCP on health plan member retention related to disease severity. And Dr. Pezalla recently presented at the MIT Paying for Cures conference in Washington, DC and the Pharma Pricing and Market Access Summit in Amsterdam.

Ron Shadbegian, Ph.D.
Ron Shadbegian, Ph.D. (Clark University 1991) is a Professor of Economics at San Diego State University (SDSU). Prior to moving to SDSU Ron was a Senior Research Economist at the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE). During his time at NCEE Ron also served on President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers as Senior Economist for Environment and Energy (2013-2014) and was also an Adjunct Professor in Georgetown University’s Economics Department and McCourt School of Public Policy. Prior to NCEE, Ron had earned the rank of Professor in the Economics Department at UMass Dartmouth. Ron was also a Visiting Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore from 2015-2017. His research focuses on three main areas: 1) the effects of early childhood lead exposure on children’s health, educational, and labor market outcomes; 2) the effect of air pollution on children and elderly’s health and cognitive abilities; and 3) the impact of environmental regulations on electricity prices, employment, productivity, environmental performance, investment, and technological change.

CLINICAL ADVISORS

Laura Bellmont, MPAS
Laura Bellmont, MPAS, received her degree in Masters of Physician Assistant Studies from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Institute of Health Professions. MGH is affiliated with Harvard Medical School and is its original teaching hospital. Laura is currently a Physician Assistant at Inpatient Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. Prior to this position, Laura worked as a Medical Technologist II in the Clinical Flow Cytometry Laboratory at MGH, as a Research Assistant for the New England Primate Research Center, and a Personal Care Assistant. Laura is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

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Marie Espinal, MHS
Marie Espinal, MHS, is currently practicing medicine as a certified Physician Assistant in Southern California, drawing on her diverse clinical training, research background, and leadership skills to best serve her patients. She holds a B.A in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and a Master’s in Health Sciences (MHS) from Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Physician Assistant Program. She has served as a Neurosurgery Researcher for UCLA’s Neuroplasticity and Repair Laboratory, and a contributing author of numerous journal and research publications.

Melanie Monroe, MPAS
Melanie Monroe, MPAS, received her degree in Masters of Physician Assistant Studies from Tufts University School of Medicine. Melanie is currently a Physician Assistant at Inpatient Solid Tumor Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. Prior to this position, Melanie worked as a Medical Assistant in Vascular Surgery at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, an Emergency Room Technician at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Needham, and a Nursing Technician at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Needham. Melanie is also certified in American Heart Association- Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers and American Heart Association- Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support.

Oberender AG
Avalon has teamed up with Oberender, a leading global healthcare management consultancy based in Germany, to collaborate in a variety of ways, offering Avalon’s U.S. clients access to European market access, technology assessment, and management consulting, and offering Oberender added reach into the U.S. The companies hope to collaborate on a variety of projects, such as market access for innovative medical devices, novel pricing mechanisms for medical devices and pharmaceuticals, and innovative mechanisms to reduce costs in U.S. and European health systems.

Avalon Health Economics LLC