Elliott Bosco

Elliott Bosco


Elliott Bosco, PharmD, PhD successfully defended his dissertation "Use and Outcomes of Opioid and Nonopioid Arthroplasty in Older Adults” via Zoom to an enthusiastic crowd of faculty, friends, family, mentors, and colleagues.

Dr. Bosco earned his PharmD at the University of Connecticut and entered the HSR PhD Program in 2017. The Program was pleased to declare his candidacy in 2020. During his time at Brown, Dr. Bosco was a Pfizer Pre-Doctoral Fellow and a Brown School of Public Health Student Ambassador. Congratulations, Elliott!

1. Tell us about your time at Brown. What did you enjoy most about being a doctoral student here?

There are many things I enjoyed about my time at Brown. First, the interdisciplinary nature of the PhD in Health Services Research easily sets Brown’s program apart. Health Services Research often involves elements of epidemiology, economics, statistics, clinical expertise, and other research disciplines. The multi-factorial nature of Health Services Research was a major highlight of my time at Brown. Further, the flexibility that the department allows was extremely enjoyable and there was no pressure to pursue something that I did not feel passionately about. In the first year, this allowed me to explore different research ideas and opportunities that Brown has to offer. For example, I’ve always had an interest in teaching students about medications, and I was able to do just that with a class of high school students through Brown’s Pre-College program. The experience, the support I had from the department and teaching preparation through the Sheridan Center’s certificate program were invaluable in helping me pursue my interests. Additionally, I was able to explore a variety of non-academic settings through a Predoctoral Fellowship with Pfizer and a summer internship in the Health Economics and Outcomes Research Practice at Analysis Group. Participating in these opportunities and the ability to pursue my interests would not have been possible without the department’s support.

2.  What public health issues do you hope to address through your dissertation?

Opioids are commonly used for acute pain relief during the postoperative period following major surgeries. Though it may seem surprising, there is much we don’t know about how opioids are used among older adults (i.e., age ≥65) and the effect these therapies have on outcomes. This is particularly important because age-related physiologic changes among older adults may increase their susceptibility to adverse events. Further, optimal treatment strategies are not well-established or recommended in evidence-based guidelines. For example, tramadol is commonly used among older adults but has specific pharmacologic properties that may result in unpredictable pain relief or potential adverse events. I chose to further explore these topics in my dissertation by focusing on Medicare-enrolled older adults receiving elective total hip and knee arthroplasty, increasingly common surgeries that many older adults receive.

3. What are your future plans now that you have finished your PhD?

Now that I’ve finished my PhD, I am staying on at Brown as an Investigator in Health Services, Policy & Practice. Along with a team of Brown researchers, I am working closely with CVS Health and Walgreens to study the national uptake and outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination among Medicare-enrolled older adults. In particular, we will focus on individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, as well as understanding differences across racial and ethnic groups. Additionally, I will be studying vaccinations and COVID-19 break-through infections among U.S. nursing home residents using electronic health record data. Together, these efforts represent cutting-edge approaches that Brown is taking to study the most vulnerable groups affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

See below for articles describing this work in greater detail:

CVS IMPACT supplement: https://www.brown.edu/news/2021-02-08/cvs

Walgreens IMPACT supplement: https://www.brown.edu/news/2021-05-10/walgreens

Nursing home IMPACT supplement: https://www.brown.edu/news/2020-12-02/vaccine