William Crown

Distinguished Scientist

William  Crown's photo


Email: wcrown@brandeis.edu
Office: Irving Schneider and Family Building (Heller School) 211
Brandeis Directory


Health Economics
Pharmaceutical Economics
Real World Analysis
Comparative Effectiveness Research
Causal Inference
Machine Learning


  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Boston University
  • University of Vermont

William Crown

Distinguished Scientist


Dr.Crown is a Distinguished Research Scientist in the Heller School. He is an internationally recognized expert in real world data analysis, focusing upon research designs and statistical methods for drawing causal inferences from transactional health care datasets such as medical claims and electronic health records. Bill began his career at the Heller School in the early 1980s focusing on the demography and health economics of aging, and taught a series of statistics courses in the Heller PhD program. He left Brandeis in the mid-1990s to lead health economics consultancies at Truven and Optum. From 2013-2020, he was Chief Scientific Officer at OptumLabs where he provided methodological guidance on a portfolio of research projects with specific focus on causal inference in database studies, simulation of health care systems, and application of operations research methods to health policy questions. He received his doctorate degree in regional economic modeling from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a master of arts in economics from Boston University. He has an extensive record of empirical comparative effectiveness studies and methodological publications in clinical and health policy journals. Dr. Crown was 2013-14 President of the International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR). He currently co-chairs the ISPOR Task Force on Machine Learning and is particularly interested in the intersection of machine learning and causal inference methods, as well as transparency in the conduct and reporting of empirical health care research.

Awards and Honors

  • Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, Visiting Scholar (2020)
  • ISPOR Distinguished Service Award, Operations Research Task Force Co-Chair (2018)
  • Richard Olding Beard Award, University of MN School of Nursing (2018)
  • ISPOR Distinguished Service Award, Meeting Co-Chair (2017)
  • ISPOR Distinguished Service Award, Simulation Task Force Co-Chair (2017)
  • ISPOR Distinguished Service Award, Board of Directors (2015)


  • Crown, William and Bierer, Barbara. "Real-World Evidence: Understanding Sources of Variability Through Empirical Analysis.." Value in Health 24. 1 (2021): 116-117.
  • Crown, William. "Decomposition Analysis as a Framework for Understanding Heterogeneity of Treatment Effects in Non-Randomized Studies.." Pharmaceutical Statistics (2021).
  • Rothman, M., Crown, W., Louis, TA, et al.. "Assessing and communicating heterogeneity of treatment effects for patient subpopulations: Panel discussion on considerations in design and analysis.." Pharmaceutical Statistics (2021): 1-13.
  • Crown, William. "The Potential Role of Constrained Optimization Methods in Health Care Decision Making. Applied Health Economics and Health Policy." Applied Health Economics and Health Policy (2020).
  • Hane C., Nori V., Crown W., Bleicher P.. "Neural Network Models for Identifying Incident Dementia using Claims and EHR Datasets." PLoS ONE 2020; 15(9): e0236400. https://doi.org.10.1371/journal.pone.0236400.. (2020).
  • Hane C., Nori V., Crown W., Sanghavi D., Bleicher P.. "Predicting Onset of Dementia Using Clinical Notes and Machine Learning: Case-Control Study." JMIR Medical Informatics 8. 6 (2020).
  • Larochelle M, Wakeman S, Ameli O, Chaisson C, McPheeters J, Crown W, Azocar F, Sanghavi D.. "Relative Cost Differences of Initial Treatment Strategies for Newly Diagnosed Opioid Use Disorder: A Cohort Study." Medical Care 58. 10 (2020): 919-926.
  • Orsini L, Berger M, Crown W, Daniel G, Eichler H, Goettsch W, Graff J, Guerino J, Jonsson P, Mahendraratnam N, Monz B, Mullins D, Schneeweiss S, Van Brunt D, Wang S, Willke R.. "Improving Transparency to Build Trust in Real-World Secondary Data Studies for Hypothesis Testing—Why, What, and How: Recommendations and a Road Map from the Real-World Evidence Transparency Initiative.." Value in Health 23. 9 (2020): 1128-1136.
  • Wakeman S, LaRochelle M, Ameli O, Chaisson C, McPheeters J, Crown W, Azocar F, Sanghavi D. Comparative Effectiveness of Different Treatment Pathways for Opioid Use Disorder. "Comparative Effectiveness of Different Treatment Pathways for Opioid Use Disorder." JAMA Network Open 3 (2020): 2.
  • Zarin D, Crown W, Bierer B.. "Issues in the Registration of Database Studies." Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 121. (2020): 29-31.