In Brief

Medical Professor Stephen Pauker Receives Dean’s Medal

At Tufts School of Medicine since 1972, he led national efforts to analyze and improve physicians’ decision-making
Stephen G. Pauker at the Tufts School of Medicine
Stephen G. Pauker was recognized “for his unique accomplishments in helping to found a new medical discipline,” said Dean Harris Berman. Photo: Anna Miller
November 20, 2017

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Professor Stephen G. Pauker, a longtime professor of medicine at the School of Medicine, was awarded a Dean’s Medal by Dean Harris Berman in a ceremony on November 17. Dean’s Medals are given periodically to mark distinguished achievements in the field of medicine.

Berman recognized Pauker “for his unique accomplishments in helping to found a new medical discipline,” he said. “He was a leader in using the formal mathematical technique of decision analysis to deal with real clinical dilemmas for patients and for populations.”

Pauker, who came to the School of Medicine in 1972, founded the Division of Clinical Decision Making in the Department of Medicine, was a founding member of the Society of Clinical Decision Making, and a pioneer in the founding of the journal, Medical Decision Making.

At Tufts, Pauker led a group that used the tools of decision analysis in the clinical setting, and his research team discovered critical concepts of decision-making: the toss-up, the use of Markov models, and the use of life expectancy approximations and quality of life as utility measures in decision models.

“He pioneered the use of decision analysis in national health technology assessment and international guideline development,” said Berman. Pauker’s fellowship program, sponsored for years by the NIH’s National Library of Medicine, “produced dozens of researchers in the field, many of whom populate medical school faculties around the world. Techniques widely used today, such as cost-effectiveness and comparative effectiveness analyses, are offshoots of his seminal work.”