In the “Magnified” series, we take a closer look at the life experiences & career journeys that have shaped AbbVie’s leaders. Meet self-proclaimed “data hippie” Chris Boone, an introvert who started off in IT and ended up on the big stage talking digital and diversity. Today, Chris leads AbbVie’s health economics & outcomes research (HEOR) group with a big goal: Democratize data and improve health for all.
Your background spans IT, hospitals, public health and now pharma. Tell us about your career journey and what drew you to health care.
I started my career as an information technology (IT) intern through INROADS, which is a national program focused on advancing diversity in corporate America. It was through this developmental experience that I was able to establish a professional foundation.
However, the experience also revealed to me that I wasn’t passionate about working in environments or industries that didn’t align with my professional and personal interests. That’s when I decided that health care administration would be my career path. Specifically, I realized I wanted to carve a path to being a CEO of a health system one day – a public health system focused on treating our nation’s most vulnerable and underserved populations.
After undergrad, I returned to my home in Dallas, Texas, to find a hospital/health system that would take on an enthusiastic early careerist with no relevant experience other than my IT and data systems internship experience. Someone took a chance on me, and I’ve worked in health ever since.
You lead the growing health economics & outcomes research (HEOR) team at AbbVie – beyond the acronym, what do you want people to understand about this group and what you do?
Simply, that HEOR is focused on generating evidence that helps us understand the performance of our therapies and interventions in a real-world context. The “real-world” in this particular context is what happens outside the boundaries of a randomized clinical trial. The patient-centric evidence we generate is an input into a broader story of the value of the therapy. People should also know that HEOR is highly interdisciplinary with formally-trained economists, epidemiologists, data scientists, clinicians and policy analysts.