Jerry Avorn

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Jerry Avorn' (born February 13, 1948) is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chief Emeritus of the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He founded one of the largest programs using health care utilization data to track medication use and outcomes, and invented the practice of "academic detailing" in which pharmacists, nurses, and physicians educate doctors about cost-effective prescribing practices using the same tactics that drug companies employ to market their products. He received a B.A. from Columbia University in 1969 and M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1974.

Early life and education[edit]

Avorn was born in 1948, in New York City and grew up in Rockaway, Queens. While attending Columbia University during the opposition to the Vietnam War and American civil rights movement, he was a campus activist against the Vietnam War with his investigative journalism for the Columbia Daily Spectator. In the summer of 1969, he wrote Up Against the Ivy Wall with fellow Spectator journalists about the campus uprisings at Columbia.

Avorn graduated from Harvard Medical School with an M.D. in 1974.[1]


Avorn was a resident at the Cambridge Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts and then at the Beth Israel Hospital (now the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts). He became an associate professor at Harvard Medical School in 1985 and a full professor in 2005.[1]

In 1983, he published his first paper on academic detailing. The practice has been taken up by several hospitals and governments, such as Pennsylvania, Washington, DC, Kentucky, Australia, Israel, and Nova Scotia. His work on academic detailing was featured in The Wall Street Journal and on The Daily Show.

Avorn is also past president of the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology.

In 2004, he founded Alosa Health, a nonprofit organization that develops and implements academic detailing programs to improve prescribing.

Avorn's group's paper on coxibs was one of the first medical research papers to demonstrate that Vioxx increased some patients' risk of heart attack and stroke.[citation needed] In 2006 he testified as a plaintiff’s expert witness in the Vioxx litigation, but he donated all profit from his involvement to charitable causes. He is one of the most highly cited authors in his field. [2]


Avorn is the author of the 2004 book Powerful Medicines.

Notable research[edit]

  • Avorn, Jerry; Soumerai, Stephen B. (1983). "A New Approach to Reducing Suboptimal Drug Use". JAMA. 250 (13): 1752–1753. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340130070037. ISSN 0098-7484. PMID 6411945.
  • Solomon, Daniel H.; Glynn, Robert J.; Levin, Raisa; Avorn, Jerry (2002). "Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug Use and Acute Myocardial Infarction". Archives of Internal Medicine. 162 (10): 1099–1104. doi:10.1001/archinte.162.10.1099. ISSN 0003-9926. PMID 12020178.
  • Solomon, Daniel H.; Avorn, Jerry; Stürmer, Til; Glynn, Robert J.; Mogun, Helen; Schneeweiss, Sebastian (2006). "Cardiovascular Outcomes in New Users of Coxibs and Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs". Arthritis & Rheumatism. 54 (5): 1378–1389. doi:10.1002/art.21887. ISSN 0004-3591. PMID 16645966. ResearchGate:7135233.


  1. ^ "Jerry Avorn, MD". NaRCAD. Retrieved 2023-03-05.

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