The Cancer Research Network supports and facilitates population sciences cancer research that is conducted in integrated health care settings. Providing infrastructure support for cancer research resources, the CRN focuses on research activities that take advantage of the unique settings in which their research centers reside. These include access to defined populations of approximately nine million members; development of research data resources that extract data from the rich electronic medical record; the expertise of scientists based in these research centers; and linkage to clinical and operations leaders that can both inform research protocols, and result in projects with direct translational potential.
Recognizing this unique combination of attributes for conducting population sciences research in cancer, the CRN has created four Scientific Working Groups (SWGs) that have as their general objective the promotion of innovative, high quality research that can improve our knowledge and decrease the burden of cancer. Activities include: outreach to encourage collaborations among CRN Sites, with academic and other research institutions, and with clinical and operational leaders; discussions to promote the ferment of ideas that result in fundable and funded research projects; the shepherding of research projects to enhance the likelihood of success; and the encouragement and mentoring of careers in cancer research.
Each SWG is co-led by three scientists with expertise and research interests in the domain covered by the SWG. This includes two investigators with primary appointments at CRN Sites, and an investigator based at a non-CRN research institution. This partnership combines investigators with direct knowledge of the nuances of conducting research in the CRN setting with investigators who may have other perspectives. The four SWG areas, described further below, are:
- Prevention & Screening
- Epidemiology of Prognosis & Outcomes
- Health Care Quality & Cost
- Communication & Dissemination
Prevention & Screening
The mission of the Prevention & Screening SWG is to facilitate research that takes advantage of the strengths of the CRN to reduce the human and economic burden of cancer through improved prevention and early detection. We seek to develop a network that includes national experts and internal and external scientists interested in conducting innovative, high impact research that can be translated into usual care.
- Interventions to promote health behaviors and improve adherence to medications.
- Cost and comparative effectiveness studies on recommendations for screening.
- Surveillance of diffusion of evidence-based screening technologies and vaccines.
- Research to promote translation of effective interventions into usual care.
- Etiological studies on environmental and drug exposures and cancer incidence.
Douglas A. Corley, MD, PhD, MPH, Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California
Virginia P. Quinn, PhD, MPH, Department of Research and Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Southern California
Tom Vaughan, MD, MPH, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
For more information about the Prevention & Screening SWG, please contact:
Tracy A. Becerra, OTR/L, MPH, PhD
SWG Project Manager
Kaiser Permanente Southern California
Epidemiology of Prognosis & Outcomes
Our aim is to make the CRN the most complete and comprehensive data resource for cancer prognosis, treatment and outcomes research in the United States, and to facilitate research in these areas.
- Personalized medicine: Prognostic and predictive data (including genomic and molecular data), Risk factors and lifestyle data, Risk stratification and treatment decision making, Pharmacogenomics, Multiple comorbidities, Translational research from mechanisms to population sciences
- Development and evaluation of (multi-level) interventions and comparative effectiveness research in cancer treatment
- Patient reported measures and outcomes
- Cancer survivorship: Long-term consequences of cancer treatment, Care coordination and survivorship care, Recurrence
- Palliative and end of life cancer care
Heather Spencer Feigelson, PhD, MPH, Institute for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Colorado
James Cerhan, MD, PhD, Mayo Clinic
For more information about the Epidemiology of Prognosis & Outcomes SWG, please contact:
SWG Project Manager
Kaiser Permanente Colorado
Health Care Quality & Cost
The vision of the Health Care Quality & Cost (HCQC) Scientific Working Group is accessible, effective, equitable, affordable patient-centered cancer care. The SWG is focused on four high-priority policy concerns:
- Costliness of cancer screening treatments & survivorship care
- Comparative effectiveness of competing treatments
- Safe patient-centered cancer care
- Affordability of high quality cancer care
- Developing strategies to systematize evaluation of care quality and effectiveness leveraging electronic medical record systems.
- Evaluating the comparative effectiveness of cancer treatment strategies.
- Measuring the economic costs and the relative value of intervention strategies to treat cancer.
- Developing systems to engage patients in reporting their experiences of cancer treatment and systematic measurement of patient-reported outcomes.
- Evaluating the impact of financial barriers on cancer care access, quality and outcomes.
- Developing strategies to evaluate and address the impact of potentially avoidable emergency department visits and hospitalizations.
Members of the HCQC SWG are also available to provide the CRN and HCSRN with expert advice regarding cost and quality analysis projects.
Mark C. Hornbrook, PhD, The Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest
Debra Ritzwoller, PhD, Institute for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Colorado
Deborah Schrag, MD, MPH, Harvard Medical School
For more information about the Health Care Quality & Cost SWG, please contact:
Joanna E. Bulkley, PhD
SWG Project Manager
The Center for Health Research
Kaiser Permanente Northwest
Communication & Dissemination
The overarching goal of the Communication & Dissemination Scientific Working Group is to facilitate CRN-based research focused on cancer-related Communication, Decision Making, Dissemination, and Implementation.
- Cancer communication, including the study of clinician-patient communication, intra-team communication, peer-to-peer communication (including social media), and health literacy as they relate to cancer prevention, detection and care.
- Decision making, including the study of the cognitive, social and contextual factors which influence decision-making for patients and clinicians across the cancer care continuum.
- Dissemination research, including the study of communication practices to achieve widespread awareness, interest and adoption of effective health interventions and innovations.
- Implementation research, including the study of practice change barriers, facilitators, processes and strategies that facilitate professional and organizational practice change and sustained use of effective interventions and innovations.
In addition to developing new research in these areas, we intend to build on existing CRN accomplishments by identifying CRN products ready for dissemination and implementation, and to develop and implement systems for sharing research and effective practices across the CRN and beyond.
Kathleen Mazor, EdD, Meyers Primary Care Institute
Brian S. Mittman, PhD, VA Center for Implementation Practice and Research Support
For more information about the Communication & Dissemination SWG, please refer to our Web page or contact:
SWG Project Manager
Meyers Primary Care Institute