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Who We Are  
Hilary Llewellyn-Thomas, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Community & Family Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School (DMS); Co-Director, Academic Area for Health Care Decision Making; Director, Health Decision Research (HDR); Director of Research at the Center for Shared Decision Making at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Dr. Llewellyn-Thomas's research focuses on measuring patients' and physicians' attitudes about:

  • The health states that individuals currently experience, that they expect to enter, and that they actually experience in the future;

  • Different decision making roles in screening, preventive, diagnostic, treatment, clinical trial entry, and end-of-life situations;

  • The different periods of time involved in waiting for, undergoing, and recovering from treatment, as well as long-term survival

  • Different optional health care policies, programs, or treatment protocols, given their inherent risks, benefits, and costs; and

  • Different "decision support" interventions designed to foster informed, preference-based patient choice, particularly in close-call situations that generate considerable decisional distress in patients, their families, and their health care providers.

The course she teaches at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice ("Studying Patients' Decisions") is built on this research background. Dr. Llewellyn-Thomas has served as President of the Society for Medical Decision Making, and publishes extensively in the methodological literature about health care decision making.


Mary Ann O'Connor, M.A., M.Sc.

Instructor, Department of Community and Family Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School; Project Director, Health Decision Research, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

Mary Ann uses methods from health services research and the clinical evaluative sciences to direct the systematic development, testing, and dissemination of innovative decision support systems for patients and clinicians. She manages all aspects of the Institute's production and evaluation of selected FIMDM decision aids in various media formats.



Annette O'Connor, Ph.D.

Canada Research Chair in Health Care Consumer Decision Support; Professor, University of Ottawa, School of Nursing & Department of Epidemiology and Community Health; Senior Scientist, Clinical Epidemiology, Ottawa Health Research Institute; Visiting Scholar, Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

Dr. O'Connor's research program focuses on understanding and improving the decision making of people facing health care choices and increasing the support provided by health professionals who counsel them. She has been involved in over 55 projects, which has culminated in over 100 publications; a conceptual framework of decision support; 20 decision aids for patients/practitioners; a widely used evaluation measure of decisional conflict; and several educational programs and courses on shared decision making.

Dr. O'Connor plans to use her Canada Research Chair Award to launch the first Canadian Patient Decision Support Research Laboratory. Internationally, Dr. O'Connor has led the Cochrane Collaboration Systematic Review of Patient Decision Aids and a development project in Chile to improve decision making of disadvantaged women.

While at the Institute, Annette will evaluate two online framework-based decision support tools: 1) decision coaching software that structures, captures, and feeds back information on the quality of decision support provided; and 2) standardized training and feedback programs to develop practitioners' decision support skills.