August 26, 2014
Donna K. Arnett, PhD, MSPH, professor and chair in the Department of Epidemiology, has been appointed to the Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC)—under the Department of Health and Human Services—which was established to provide impartial guidance and expert advice to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on clinical topics.
According to its website, MEDCAC reviews and evaluates medical literature, technology assessments, and examines data and information on the effectiveness and appropriateness of medical items and services that are covered under Medicare or that may be eligible for coverage under Medicare. It also judges the strength of the available data and makes recommendations to CMS based on that evidence.
Up to 100 experts in clinical and administrative medicine, biologic and physical sciences, public health administration, patient advocacy, health care data and information management and analysis, health care economics, and medical ethics are selected to serve on MEDCAC. No more than 15 members with knowledge specific to the topic in question are chosen to serve on the panel for each MEDCAC meeting, with non-MEDCAC members having relevant expertise providing additional input to panel members and invited experts making formal presentations to MEDCAC at particular meetings. The panel meets in a public forum approximately four to eight times a year to review medical evidence for the topic under deliberation, to listen to public testimony, and to provide advice about the quality of the evidence.
In addition to serving on this committee, Dr. Arnett is past-president of the American Heart Association (AHA), as well as past-president of the Greater Southeast Affiliate of the AHA, representing Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and Puerto Rico. She is also an elected fellow in the AHA Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, the American Society of Epidemiology (AES), and the American College of Epidemiology (ACE). Dr. Arnett served as an editor for the American Journal of Epidemiology from 2004-13 and currently serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. In 2009, she was selected as an Outstanding Woman Faculty Member at UAB.
Dr. Arnett's primary research area is cardiovascular genetic epidemiology. Her current research involves the genetic epidemiology of atherosclerosis hypertension and target organ damage from hypertension, with pharmacogenetics as another research interest.