Kenneth J. Smith, MD, MS

  • Professor of Medicine and Clinical and Translational Science

Kenneth J. Smith, MD, MS, is a Professor of Medicine and Clinical and Translational Science and a core faculty member of the Center for Research on Health Care at the University of Pittsburgh. His research centers on the cost-effectiveness of common medical interventions, most notably on pneumococcal, influenza, and varicella vaccination and on the impact of racial disparities in vaccination rates. He has published in many other areas, including pelvic inflammatory disease, influenza management strategies, diabetes prevention and treatment, VA formulary decisions, anticoagulation and thrombotic disorder management, and hospital-physician communication. In addition, Dr. Smith is Associate Editor of the journal Medical Decision Making.

Outside of work, he enjoys reading, music, and meals with his foodie spouse and family.

Education & Training

  • BS, Penn State University, 1976
  • MD, Jefferson Medical College, 1979
  • Residency (Internal Medicine), Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh, 1982
  • MS, University of Pittsburgh, 2005

Representative Publications

Smith KJ, France G, Nowalk MP, Raviotta JM, DePasse J, Wateska A, Shim E, Zimmerman RK. Compressed influenza vaccination in U.S. older adults: a decision analysis. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2019;56(4):e135-e141.

A Markov model compared influenza likelihood in older adults with (1) status quo vaccination (August-May) to maximize vaccine uptake or (2) vaccination compressed to October-May (to decrease waning vaccine effectiveness impact). Results suggest that compressed vaccination could decrease waning vaccine effectiveness and decrease influenza cases in older adults.

Smith KJ, Nowalk MP, Lin CJ, Zimmerman RK. Cost effectiveness of a practice-based intervention to improve vaccination rates in adults less than 65-years-old. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics. 2017;13(10):2207-2212.

The 4 Pillars Practice Transformation Program is an economically reasonable intervention to improve vaccination rates in adults <65-years-old, and could have a substantial public health impact.

Smith KJ, Nowalk MP, Wateska A, Brown ST, DePasse JV, Raviotta JM, Shim E, Zimmerman RK. Potential consequences of not using live attenuated influenza vaccine. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2017;53(4):500-503.

Using recently observed low live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) effectiveness values, fewer influenza cases will occur if LAIV is not used compared with having LAIV as a vaccine option. However, having the option to use LAIV may be favored if LAIV effectiveness returns to prior levels or if the absence of vaccine choice substantially decreases overall vaccine uptake.

Smith KJ, Zimmerman RK, Nowalk MP, Lin CJ. Cost-effectiveness of the 4 Pillars Practice Transformation Program to improve vaccination of adults aged 65 and older. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2017;65(4):763-768.

To estimate the cost-effectiveness of an intervention to increase pneumococcal, influenza, and pertussis-containing vaccine uptake in adults aged 65 and older in primary care practices, we used a Markov decision analysis model, comparing the cost-effectiveness of the 4 Pillars Practice Transformation Program with no intervention.

Click here for a more complete bibliography of Dr. Smith’s works.

Research Interests

  • Decision analysis
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Vaccination strategies
  • Racial disparities in vaccination rates