The CRN Connection, Spring 2013

In this issue:

Welcome from the CRN

Photograph of Larry Kushi, CRN Prinicipal Investigator

The Cancer Research Network is pleased to once again introduce ourselves to our colleagues in participating institutions, and to the broader cancer research community. The CRN is a consortium of research groups that are part of non-profit, integrated health care delivery systems. The NCI-funded CRN provides infrastructure support for cancer research in these health care settings.

Our current funding, which began in September, 2012, as a U24 research resources cooperative agreement brings to the forefront the central mission of infrastructure support to enhance resources to facilitate collaborative cancer research in the integrated health care setting.

In order to promote specific areas of scientific excellence, the CRN has created Scientific Working Groups. An Informatics Core focuses on the maintenance and improvement of our standardized Virtual Data Warehouse and on other informatics tools to facilitate cancer research. The CRN Scholars program continues, as does our Pilot Projects Program. In keeping with the U24 mechanism, both of these programs are now open to the broader research community. We have established an Outreach & Collaborations Core to help develop linkages with our parent institutions and with other research organizations, and to facilitate collaborative research projects.

Under the leadership of Ed Wagner, Group Health Research Institute, the CRN grew from a nugget of an idea into one of the flagship research collaboratives within the Health Care Systems Research Network. The CRN is now led by myself, Larry Kushi, at the Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, along with our Project Director, Heather Clancy. Our Executive Committee also includes Mark Hornbrook, Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Kathy Mazor, Meyers Primary Care Institute, and Diana Miglioretti, UC Davis/Group Health Research Institute, along with our NCI colleagues described below.

We look forward to working with you as we collectively make the CRN the place to conduct innovative, translational population sciences cancer research.

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Welcome from the NCI

Photograph of Paul Doria-Rose, CRN Project Scientist

The new structure of the CRN under its 4th funding cycle represents an opportunity for us to establish new collaborations and greatly expand our visibility within the cancer research community.

There have been a number of changes in the NCI CRN team. Martin Brown, the CRN Program Director since it was first funded in 1999, retired from NCI at the end of 2012 and has accepted a position at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. He'll be missed by all of us, but we know that he will continue to have a large impact on health services research in his new role at PCORI. We wish him the best of luck.

New CRN team members include myself, Paul Doria-Rose, as the CRN Project Scientist, and Emilee Pressman, who serves as the Program Director. I have been at NCI since 2006, initially as a Cancer Prevention Fellow and currently as an Epidemiologist in the Health Services and Economics Branch. I have been collaborating with the CRN since 1999, working on various projects relating to colorectal cancer screening. Emilee joined the NIH as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2009 after completing her MPH at Columbia University, and has been with the Applied Research Program as a Public Health Advisor since 2011.

The CRN will also benefit from the continued involvement of Rachel Ballard-Barbash, the Associate Director of the Applied Research Program, and Robin Yabroff, an Epidemiologist in the Health Services and Economics Branch. The NCI team looks forward to working with you in what is certain to be an exciting time for the CRN.

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Announcing the 2013 Scholars

Individual photographs of the named scholars
Farhood Farjah, Hazel Nichols, Jason Lott, Pamala Pawloski, Mara Epstein

Individual photographs of the named scholars
Alexi Wright, Grace Hillyer, Mateo Banegas, Dori Rosenberg, Amit Singal

The CRN Scholars Program is a 26-month training activity to help junior investigators develop research independence using the CRN resources to conduct population-based multi-site and multi-disciplinary studies. Specific goals that CRN Scholars work toward during their training include becoming a Principal Investigator (PI) on a successful investigator-initiated grant, and being first author on a peer-reviewed, published article reporting original research. The CRN Scholars Program is co-directed by Terry Field (Meyers/Fallon) and Diana Buist (Group Health).

Ten junior investigators will participate in the CRN Scholars Program beginning March 2013. The Scholars are at ten different institutions and are trained in seven clinical and research areas. Their proposed projects are related to eight different types of cancer and include each stage in the cancer care continuum.

Welcome Scholars!

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Pilot Project Call for Applications

picture of a telephone

The CRN announces a call for applications to support one-year Pilot Projects of up to $75,000 in total costs. This program is open to any investigator who is otherwise qualified to receive NIH funding. The intent of this program is to support projects that can lead to cancer research conducted in the CRN setting, so projects must include an investigator based at a CRN or affiliate Site.

The CRN also announces a call for Developmental Projects with similar level of funding. The intent of this funding is to enhance resources to support cancer research in the CRN setting, so principal investigators must be at a CRN or affiliate Site.

Upon review, invitations to submit full applications will be issued. Applications will be accepted only from those who are invited. Full applications are due Friday, June 21.

For more information and to review complete instructions, please see the full announcement on our Web site. Any questions can be sent to the CRN Coordinating Center (

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Become Involved

In order to promote research in specific areas, the CRN has established Scientific Working Groups (SWGs). A principal objective of the SWGs is to promote discussions and collaborations that lead to research projects in these four areas:

There are several ways to become involved with the CRN, and varying levels of involvement are available. Please visit the CRN Web site to find out more information on these Scientific Working Groups, and to contact those you might want to participate with.

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HCSRN Annual Conference

April 16-18, 2013 in Burlingame, CA

The Health Care Systems Research Network Annual Conference is one of the primary venues for professional interaction of researchers who are interested in or are conducting research in the HCSRN setting. This year's 19th Annual Conference is hosted by the Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, and will be held from April 16-18 at the Hyatt-San Francisco Airport Hotel, just south of the San Francisco Airport.

Presentations and ancillary meetings related to the CRN and associated research projects will be held at the conference. We encourage anyone with an interest in CRN activities to take advantage of these opportunities to meet and interact with CRN investigators.

See the HCSRN Annual ConferenceExternal Web Site Policy Web site for more information.

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For further information about the CRN, please visit our Web site at

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