CRN Monthly Update for August/September 2014

In this issue:

Message from the Coordinating Center

We have now completed our second year of the current CRN grant, and activities are in full swing. With the Site Visits to Group Health Research Institute, Meyers Primary Care Institute, and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute coming up, we will have completed Site Visits to twelve of the CRN's funded and affiliate sites.

This also marks a time when we can reflect on our achievements and how to best position the CRN to be an ongoing leader in the cancer research community. This will be an overarching theme to guide discussions during the upcoming in-person CRN Steering Committee in October.

With time also inevitably come changes in CRN-supported personnel. Diana Miglioretti, who led the writing of the Informatics Core section of the CRN grant application, and who has been a member of the CRN Executive Committee for the past two years, is stepping down from formal involvement in the CRN. Elizabeth Trice-Loggers, who has co-led our Scientific Working Group on the Epidemiology of Prognosis & Outcomes, has recently moved full-time to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and is no longer employed part-time at the Group Health Research Institute.

We would like to thank Diana and Elizabeth for their dedication to the CRN, and are confident that although they will no longer play leadership roles in the CRN, they will continue to work with us on research projects.

There have been other personnel changes as well. Maria Sundaram, who has been an integral part of the CRN team at the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, has left to attend graduate school at the University of Minnesota, and Julie Liu, who provided programming support for the CRN and was the VDW Census Workgroup lead, has left the Department of Research and Evaluation at KP Southern California for professional growth opportunities at the KP Los Angeles Medical Center. We wish them the best in their new endeavors.

-Larry, Heather & Melissa

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September 2014 Dates of Note

Sept 11-12: Group Health Site Visit
Sept 15: Deadline to Submit Scholar LOI
Sept 22: Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute Site Visit
Sept 23: Meyers Primary Care Institute Site Visit
Sept 26: HCSRN Abstracts Due
Sept 30: CESR Meeting, Berkeley CA

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Recent CRN-Related Publications

Lee CI, Ichikawa L, Rochelle MC, Kerlikowske K, Miglioretti DL, Sprague BL, DeMartini WB, Wernli KJ, Joe BN, Yankaskas BC, Lehman CD. Breast MRI BI-RADS Assessments and Abnormal Interpretation Rates by Clinical Indication in US Community Practices. Acad Radiol 2014 Aug 7. pii: S1076-6332(14)00231-1. [Epub ahead of print] [View Abstract]

Hillyer GC, Schmitt KM, Freedberg DE, Kramer RA, Su Y, Rosenberg RM, Neugut AI. Fecal-based colorectal cancer screening among the uninsured in northern Manhattan. Am J Prev Med 2014 Aug;47(2):182-7. [View Abstract]

Asgari MM, Eide MJ, Warton M, Fletcher SW. Comparing characteristics of melanoma cases arising in health maintenance organizations with state and national registries. Melanoma Res 2014 Aug;24(4):381-7. doi: 10.1097/CMR.0000000000000087. [View Abstract]

Gonzalez A, Japuntich S, Keating NL, Wallace R, He Y, Streck JM, Park ER. Pain experiences among a population-based cohort of current, former, and never regular smokers with lung and colorectal cancer. Cancer 2014 Jul 15. [Epub ahead of print] [View Abstract]

Jordan JH, Thwin SS, Lash TL, Buist DS, Field TS, Haque R, Pawloski PA, Petersen HV, Prout MN, Quinn VP, Yood MU, Silliman RA, Geiger AM. Incident comorbidities and all-cause mortality among 5-year survivors of Stage I and II breast cancer diagnosed at age 65 or older: a prospective-matched cohort study. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2014 Jul;146(2):401-9. [View Abstract]

Tiro JA, Kamineni A, Levin TR, Zheng Y, Schottinger JS, Rutter CM, Corley DA, Skinner CS, Chubak J, Doubeni CA, Halm EA, Gupta S, Wernli KJ, Klabunde C. The colorectal cancer screening process in community settings: a conceptual model for the population-based research optimizing screening through personalized regimens consortium. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2014 Jul;23(7):1147-58. [View Abstract]

VanderWalde NA, Salloum RG, Liu TL, Hornbrook MC, O'Keeffe Rosetti MC, Ritzwoller DP, Fishman PA, Elston Lafata J, Khandani AH, Chera BS. Positron emission tomography and stage migration in head and neck cancer. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2014 Jul;140(7):654-61. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2014.812. [View Abstract]

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Cancer-related Data Quality Reports Available on CRN Portal

When planning your next cancer data project, don't forget to check the CRN Portal (secure login required) for the most recent data quality reports. Several reports are already available under Home > CRN4 > Core: Informatics > Data Quality, and more are on the way. The Informatics Core also accepts requests for new reports; please contact Monica Fujii with any requests.

CRN investigator Jessica Chubak and colleagues recently used the Cancer Stage Variables data quality reports when identifying the cohort for the RECORD study. A collaboration between Group Health Cooperative and Kaiser Permanente Colorado (Site PI: Deb Ritzwoller), RECORD aims to evaluate the effects of commonly used medications on colorectal cancer recurrence. Dr. Chubak and her co-investigators wanted to limit the study cohort to patients initially diagnosed with early-stage colorectal cancer (i.e., persons with better prognosis for recovery). Given that AJCC staging algorithms changed several times during the 1995-2014 RECORD study period, the team realized that it would need to use the individual TNM componentsExternal Web Site Policy of AJCC stage to apply a consistent staging algorithm across all years. Dr. Chubak and programmer Rebecca Ziebell used the charts in the Cancer Stage Variables reports to quickly assess the availability of the T, N, and M variables across diagnosis years at both GHC and KPCO. The reports served as an illuminating starting point for additional investigation.

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Scientific Working Group Updates

Communication & Dissemination

Kathy Mazor and Bridget Gaglio will both attend the International Conference on Communication in Healthcare (ICCH)External Web Site Policy in Amsterdam from 9/28 to 10/1.

At ICCH, Bridget will present on "Interventions to improve provider-patient communication during cancer care: Current knowledge and future directions". Bridget's presentation is based on a recent paper that was initiated in and facilitated by our SWG. Kathy's presentation, titled "Assessing Patient Perceptions of Communication Throughout Cancer Care: Results of an Initial Administration of a New Item Set", is part of a symposium organized by Neeraj Arora. Kathy will present a new set of items that measure communication throughout various phases of cancer care. She has previously presented these items to our SWG and the CRN Steering Committee.

Contact Vanessa Neergheen for more information on the C&D SWG.

Epidemiology of Prognosis & Outcomes

There will be an open teleconference on November 19, 2014 at 10am PST. Christine Cole Johnson and team will present on the Statins and Lymphoma study. Contact Sarah Madrid for information on how to join this call.

Health Care Quality & Cost

HCQC held a recent webinar which included presentations from two of our HCSRN partners. The first was by John Schousboe MD, from Park Nicollet/HPRF, entitled "Estimation of Standardized Hospital Costs from Claims Data that Reflect Resource Requirements for Care." The second was by Hal Luft PhD, PAMFRI, entitled "Variations in the Cost of Ambulatory Care Episodes: An Opportunity for Improvement?" Contact Joanna Bulkley for more information.

Prevention & Screening

Doug Corley will be presenting at the ASCO Quality MeetingExternal Web Site Policy in Boston, which runs October 17-18, 2014. His presentation is titled "PCORnet" in the session "Building Data Infrastructure to Evaluate and Improve Quality Care."

Doug is also giving a talk at Mt Sinai in New York regarding big data in relation to improving cancer prevention and screening.

Please contact Tracy Becerra for more information on SWG activities.

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Calls for Abstracts

HCSRN 2015: Care Improvement Research: Partnering with Patients, Providers and Operational Leaders

due September 26, 2014

March 11-13, 2015 | Hyatt Regency in Long Beach, CA
The theme for the 2015 conference is "Care Improvement Research: Partnering with Patients, Providers, and Operational Leaders." The planning committee selected this theme based on feedback from fellow HCSRN members and previous conference attendees. It's in keeping with the visions of the network, and Kaiser Permanente as the host member organization. The conference will feature groundbreaking examples of care improvement research from scientists and administrators representing HCSRN member organizations throughout the country, as well as work from researchers outside the network with a demonstrated interest in care improvement.

View the HCSRN full call for abstracts (PDF) External Web Site Policy.

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Webinars & Meetings

AcademyHealth webinar: Analytical Methods for Learning Health SystemsExternal Web Site Policy

September 9, 2014
1:00 - 2:30 pm EST

Learning health systems use routinely collected electronic health data to advance knowledge and support continuous learning. Despite the increasing sophistication of analytics and data, analysts are still unable to confidently infer causal relationships from this observational data.

This webinar will discuss ways of using observational data to improve performance in learning health systems to include effective framing of research questions effectively and application of study design and analytical methods to ensure rigorous results. Brian S. Mittman, Ph.D., VA Center for Implementation Practice and Research Support; Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation will be one of the presenters.

Novel Approaches and Challenges to Data Harmonization: Maximizing the Use of Multi-level Data in Collaborative Studies

Sponsored by NCI's EGRP

October 6,7, 2014

The breadth and scope of studies utilizing an epidemiologic framework has grown significantly during the last few decades. This trend is mainly due to the increasing complexity of the research questions being asked and the consequent need to coalesce data across many studies. In fact, the case has been made that "integrative epidemiology" - the integration and analysis of heterogeneous and multi-layered data sets - may be the key to advance the practice of epidemiology in the twenty-first century.

The goals of the Novel Approaches and Challenges to Data Harmonization Workshop are:

The NCI Workshop on Broadening Epidemiologic Data Sharing

Sponsored by NCI's EGRP

October 8, 2014

Broad accessibility to peer-reviewed scientific publications has ushered in an era of open access in the 21st century. A 2013 memorandum from the Office of Science and Technology Policy directing Federal agencies to "support increased public access to results of research... funded by the Federal Government" suggests that broader access to scientific data will exist in the near future. There have been major advances in genomic data sharing with the establishment of new infrastructure, resources, and policies. However, additional approaches are needed for sharing individual-level epidemiologic data to enhance the pace of scientific progress in cancer epidemiology.

The workshop will provide a forum to further the discussion on data sharing and corresponding challenges. The goals of the workshop are to:

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Additional Funding Opportunities

Applications due Sept 25, 2014; LOI due 30 days prior

Enabling Resources for Pharmacogenomics (R24)

This FOA supports critical enabling research resources that will accelerate new research discoveries and/or implementation of research discoveries in pharmacogenomics. A proposed research resource must meet an ascertained community demand and benefit the entire scientific field. The FOA will support activities that can be clearly and specifically defined, are optimally designed, have evaluative measures built-in, are judiciously staffed, have formed partnerships where appropriate, and ideally have a proven track record and a finite lifetime. The outcome of an enabling resource must be highly impactful in a demonstrable way. Full announcement here.

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Employment Opportunities

Three (3) Cancer Research Training Awards NCI's DCCPS Surveillance Research Program - Recruiting Now

  1. Medical Informatics And NLP for Cancer SurveillanceExternal Web Site Policy
    Traditionally, cancer surveillance data have been manually interpreted, extracted and entered by trained cancer registrars. With the increasing complexity of cancer diagnosis and treatment, and expanding use of electronic medical records among hospitals and outpatient facilities, the ability of cancer registrars to access, identify and extract the data manually is no longer feasible. Therefore SRP is working to develop methods based on Natural Language Processing (NLP) and use of regular expressions to maximize the value of free text documents such as the electronic pathology report, radiologic dictations, etc.
  3. Biorepository InitiativeExternal Web Site Policy
    Population-based biospecimens are critical to modern cancer research including the development and testing of novel predictive biomarkers to direct therapeutic decision making and prognostic biomarkers for understanding outcome risks, identification of novel cancer subtypes, and testing of molecular-level hypotheses in population subgroups. Leveraging its 18 cancer registries across the United States, the SEER program is initiating a series of activities to assist investigators in locating and accessing biospecimens for research purposes.
  5. Cancer Treatment Linkage DataExternal Web Site Policy
    The SEER program is initiating a series of activities to enhance the SEER cancer registry data with improved clinical and genomics data with a particular focus on the enhancements of treatment reporting. These improvements will support additional research in outcomes and quality of care as well as more traditional epidemiologic research. Currently, we are working with IMS Health to pilot test a data linkage with a database of pharmacy transactions.

See linked announcements or view the complete listings.

Branch Chief
NCI's DCCPS Surveillance Research Program

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), a major research component of the National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Health and Human Services, is conducting a national search for a senior scientist to work within the Surveillance Research Program (SRP). SRP supports population-based cancer research to provide a quantitative portrait of cancer in the US population and to understand the factors influencing the cancer burden in specific populations. A premier program in SRP is the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, which collects and manages high-quality data from cancer registries in specific geographic areas covering 28 percent of the US population. The primary mission of the SEER registry is to support research on cancer etiology, prevention, treatment, and control. Expanding the ability of the SEER Program to better support clinical and basic research is a key objective for which the Surveillance Systems Branch will play a critical role.

Full announcement hereExternal Web Site Policy.

Open-rank Doctorate Biostatistician Faculty Position
Group Health Research Institute

Group Health Research Institute (GHRIExternal Web Site Policy) is seeking an experienced, doctorate-level faculty researcher in biostatistics. This position provides an opportunity to collaborate on multidisciplinary research teams and to lead independent methodological research in a setting with access to rich data on a large, defined health plan population.

The Biostatistics UnitExternal Web Site Policy is a core resource within in the Institute and includes 4 PhD biostatistician investigators and 8 MS biostatisticians. Biostatistical research areas of emphasis include correlated data, Bayesian methods, medical diagnostic testing, survival analysis, missing data, and sequential testing. GHRI's position within Group Health, a large not-for-profit health care delivery system, provides an ideal natural laboratory to study important health and biostatistical issues through clinical trials, observational studies, and qualitative research. All biostatistician investigators have affiliate appointments at the University of Washington.

Appointment is open rank (Assistant, Associate or Senior Investigator). Preference will be given to someone with a demonstrated ability to both collaborate on multidisciplinary research teams and to successfully lead their own research program. Applicants must have a doctoral degree (PhD or equivalent) in Biostatistics or Statistics, excellent oral and written communication skills, and a strong interest in interdisciplinary collaboration.

For full consideration, submit a letter of interest, CV, and research statement to the attention of Stephen Perry by September 30th, 2014. Questions about the position can be directed to the Search Chair, Jennifer Clark Nelson, PhD. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Research Biostatistician
Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Division of Research

Position responsibilities include consultation and collaboration on multi-disciplinary research teams, assistance and expertise in study design, statistical analysis, protocol development and grant submissions, and manuscript preparation. There is also an opportunity to lead independent methodological research.

Full AnnouncementExternal Web Site Policy.

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