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 Volume V, Issue 2 March 2004 

In This Issue

Cancer Research Network - The Cancer Research Network (CRN) is a collaboration of 11 non-profit HMOs committed to the conduct of high-quality, public domain research in cancer control. The CRN is a project of NCI and AHRQ.

News from NCI
Trans-DHHS Meeting on Improving Patient-Reported Outcomes Assessment and Measurement

Representatives from Institutes, Centers, and Agencies across DHHS met on Feb. 24, 2004 to discuss their mutual interests in improving patient-reported outcomes assessment and measurement through new technologies and methods that have been successfully employed in other research fields. Topics discussed at this meeting included cognitive interviewing, computer and internet-based technologies, item response theory modeling, computerized-adaptive testing, and the importance of evaluating measurement equivalence when exploring group differences on measured traits such as depression, fatigue, pain, and physical functioning. This and subsequent meetings should serve to strengthen the "federal community" of outcomes researchers to support a research program that uses these methods to improve our ability to assess and measure a patient's health status.

- Martin Brown, NCI

Ed's Corner of the World
News from the CRN PI Ed

Some recent events suggest that NIH research funding may change in significant ways. On the negative side, double digit NIH budget increases are history and there will be less money for the foreseeable future. The Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium was not refunded, which may signal greater scrutiny of expensive, more general research resources. On the positive side, the new NIH Roadmap gives high priority to research that moves and evaluates innovations in actual practice. That should play to some strengths of the CRN. The net effect of all these changes remains to be seen, but it is clearly not a time to be complacent. For a large cooperative agreement like the CRN to survive in this era, we will have to demonstrate our value as a resource to researchers outside the CRN. The Steering Committee will be discussing how to approach this goal without lessening our value and commitment to our investigators and organizations. We will also have to keep promises made in our proposal-especially to create and use standardized data collection and data handling approaches. We need active involvement of all with the SDRC to meet this goal. Our work is cut out for us. Thanks to the nearly 100 of you who have completed the CRN 2003 Evaluation survey, and a reminder to those that have not - the new deadline for completing the CRN Evaluation is April 1, 2004.

Ed Signature

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