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The 22nd Annual Health Care Systems Research Network (HCSRN) Conference took place on April 13-16, 2016 in Atlanta, GA.  The theme for this year’s conference was Advancing Population Health: New Models and the Role of Research.  Three notable points that particularly highlighted this theme include: (1) growth of the HCSRN to include new sites that are not traditional integrated delivery systems, such as Catholic Health Initiatives, which covers a big geographic area but does not offer insurance products; (2) a call to do a better job engaging patients in research, which was emphasized in the opening presentation and in several sessions that included patient presenters; and (3) the importance of sharing data.  Regarding this last point, Sarah Greene, CRN alum and now the inaugural Executive Director of HCSRN, noted that the pressure to share data is increasing and HCSRN needs to take the lead in determining how this will be done, rather than... Read more


The Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting took place in Washington, DC on March 30-April 2, 2016. The meeting covered a broad range of topics germane to behavioral medicine with sessions addressing cutting-edge research on health behaviors and behavior change, patient engagement and communication, management of chronic conditions, and population health and health disparities.  Within these content areas, two themes were consistently addressed: 1. precision medicine and the role of behavioral science and 2. opportunities for mHealth in behavioral medicine.  Several key points about these topics that were addressed at teh meeting are as follows:  

 Precision medicine and the role of behavioral science

There is value and great potential in capturing genomic information as part of behavioral science research. The scientific community’s ability to test for genomic alterations has outpaced our ability to interpret and... Read more
Precision medicinemHealth

The SEER PI meeting was held on March 16-17 in Albuquerque, NM and was sponsored by the New Mexico Tumor Registry.  The meeting began with presentations by the NM tumor registry staff highlighting the unique characteristics of the region (e.g., racial/ethnic diversity, 5th largest state but 36th most populated) and summarizing current research projects, many of which are health disparities- related. The remainder of the meeting focused primarily on electronic data capture and alternate methods to complete cancer registration, including natural language processing, deep machine learning, and incorporation of medical billing data. 

Among the many thoughtful presentations were some nuggets of information that we found particularly interesting and relevant to our work in HDRP:


The NCI/ASCO teams in cancer care delivery initiative is focused on creating groups of clinicians and team scientists who work together to identify gaps and ways to improve clinical problems that involve clinical teams. Last spring, groups were formed that identified a specific population and set of challenges in teamwork and then met to discuss these topics in August.  Groups then began drafting manuscripts for submission to a special issue in the Journal of Oncology Practice. 

The NCI/ASCO Teams in Cancer Care Delivery Workshop on February 25, 2016, which was held in Phoenix, AZ in conjunction with the ASCO Quality of Care symposium, provided a platform for a selected group of authors to present a synopsis of their project to about 100 attendees.  Those projects were then discussed in small groups that represented a cross-section of attendees to provide feedback to authors. I was involved in one of... Read more


Last November the NIH issued a Notice clarifying the types of economics research that the agency will fund.  Our OBSSR colleagues wrote an informative blog about the Notice in December.  Although we in HDRP have received few questions about this notice, I thought it would be useful to provide some basic suggestions.

The most important thing to realize is that NCI continues to fund research that falls under the rubric of “economics.”  The grants currently in our portfolio all appear to fit within the priority areas identified in the Notice.  In addition, the research resources created by HDRP, like the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS): Experiences with Cancer Survivorship Supplement, are all consistent with the types of supported work described... Read more