Jagpreet Chhatwal, Assistant Professor of Health Policy & Management has been selected as one of the University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Clinical Research Scholars. This award is funded through the NIH Institutional KL2 program. Under this this multidisciplinary career development award, Dr. Chhatwal will develop computational models to evaluate the optimal treatment and screening strategies for hepatitis C in the era of direct-acting antivirals.
Chronic infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major public health problem, with 130–170 million people infected worldwide. HCV infection is a leading cause of chronic liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma, and the most common indication for liver transplantation.
The immediate goal of this research is to improve decision-making concerning screening and treatment of hepatitis C, which is a major public health problem in the world. Dr. Chhatwal will explore the use of advanced simulation models that capture various clinical aspects of hepatitis C disease. The main objective of this research is to identify patients who will benefit from immediate treatment with recently launched direct-acting antiviral agents, and those who may be appropriate candidates for future drug therapies. Using a decision-analytic approach, Dr. Chhatwal will evaluate a combination of several treatment strategies (even hundreds) that may not be feasible using randomized control trials (RCTs). In addition, these models can make projections beyond the time period studied in RCTs.
In the US, 3.2 million people are infected with HCV. As many as 75% of these patients are unaware of their status. Dr. Chhatwal will also investigate the appropriateness and cost-effectiveness of universal hepatitis C screening, as more efficacious treatment therapies become available in the near future.
Through this career development award, Dr. Chhatwal will also advance the use of the value of information analysis and probabilistic sensitivity analysis in agent-based models, which so far has been limited to simple Markov models. Dr. Mark Roberts (Chair, HPM) and Dr. John Grefenstette (Director, Public Health Dynamics Lab) will serve as primary mentors to Dr. Chhatwal.