Interview with: Lori Frank, PhD
Senior Vice President, Research, Policy, and Programs
The New York Academy of Medicine

Lori Frank, PhD, has been active in ISOQOL for many years and most recently served as ISOQOL President from 2019 to 2021. With her term serving as ISOQOL Past President on the Board of Directors concluding in October at the Annual Conference, ISOQOL would like to thank Dr. Frank for her strong leadership and dedication to the Society. The past few years have been challenging for all, and Dr. Frank has been integral to the advances and growth we have made as a Society.

In an interview with QualityTALK, the ISOQOL Past President talks about her experience with the Society and lets members get to know her better.

Can you tell a little about your journey to becoming an ISOQOL President?

Lori Frank (LF): I certainly did not plan on becoming President of ISOQOL. I served on the Board and was very impressed by the level of commitment to improving ISOQOL among all the Board members. This was when the strategic planning process was just starting, and when many of the original policies were being reviewed with fresh eyes. It was interesting and rewarding to work with the Board to make changes. When the opportunity to run for President came up, I went ahead and submitted my name with the idea of continuing that work to strengthen the Society.

What does serving as an ISOQOL President mean to you?

LF: Serving the Society in this way has been thoroughly rewarding. I have deep respect for the work ISOQOL members are doing and I respect the community that emerges from the efforts of the members. The whole is qualitatively distinct from the parts in a fascinating way – it’s the “power of the aggregate.” My tenure overlapped with the pandemic and I was aware of the need to keep the Society moving forward but the path was quite different than I had planned! My original goals included establishing a culture of evaluation for the work of the Society.  I wanted to expand ISOQOL’s leadership role in the field of health outcomes and I also wanted to ensure that we could adapt to change flexibly and quickly to always meet the moment. I just didn’t think the moment would be so dramatic!

What is your favorite thing about ISOQOL?

LF: I’ve seen many productive collaborations emerge out of meetings at ISOQOL. My favorite thing about ISOQOL is the very particular way we address advancing member knowledge and the culture of collaborating with others to optimize that knowledge. My other favorite thing is the commitment of members to thoughtfully and carefully using and creatively advancing measurement methods.

How long have you been a member of ISOQOL and why did you join?

LF: I had the great good fortune of joining MEDTAP International after my post-doctoral fellowship, in 1996. Dennis Revicki connected many of us to ISOQOL back in the ‘90s. It was a relatively new professional Society and there was a great deal of energy around finding the signal in the noise in HRQL research. ISOQOL continues to focus on the signal, on establishing how best to answer clinical and public health questions. The contributions from the field over the last few decades would not have been possible without the work of the earliest ISOQOL members focusing on outcomes measurement and establishing standards.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

LF: It’s about signal vs noise! What’s centrally important, and what can and should be ignored? Dennis is behind that advice.

Is there anything else you would like to share with ISOQOL membership (e.g., current projects you are working on)? 

LF: My time on the Board of the Personalized Medicine Coalition keeps me thinking about the intersection between population-level and personalized health outcomes, and I’m working on methods for inclusion of stakeholder perspectives in health technology assessment (HTA) with colleagues at the RAND Corporation, where I’m now Affiliated Adjunct Scientist. We’re working on connecting individual-based methods like goal attainment scaling to population level questions like those required for HTA. The work connects clinical outcomes assessment to issues of representation and equity. In my current role with the New York Academy of Medicine I’m exploring similar types of questions and working with a talented group of health equity researchers. How should “patient-centered” methods connect to community engaged public health work?  How does understanding individualized determinants of health in the context of broader social determinants help with understanding intervention effectiveness and health outcomes? The pandemic experience underscores the urgency of these questions. We’re also exploring how best to incorporate individual views of health-related quality of life into governance structures within health care settings. For example, in long-term care facilities what data and methods can best ensure that infection control policies balance public health needs with quality of life? New York Academy of Medicine’s mission is to advance public health and health equity, and now is the right time to find better methods to represent individual and stakeholder views in health policy development. To create better health policy, these questions need to be addressed.

This newsletter editorial represents the views of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of ISOQOL. 

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The International Society for Quality of Life Research (ISOQOL) is a global community of researchers, clinicians, health care professionals, industry professionals, consultants, and patient research partners advancing health related quality of life research (HRQL).

Together, we are creating a future in which patient perspective is integral to health research, care and policy.