Public Release:  GW receives Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute award to evaluate cancer survivorship care

George Washington University

WASHINGTON (May 8, 2013) - The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has approved a $2.1 million, three-year research award to The George Washington University (GW) Cancer Institute (GWCI), housed within the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), and the GW School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) to evaluate cancer survivorship care models. The award is part of a portfolio of patient-centered research that addresses PCORI's national research priorities and will provide patients with information that will help them make better informed decisions about their care. The award was approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.

"The GW team, which is the result of a partnership between SPHHS and GWCI, is privileged to have been selected by PCORI in its second round of funding on patient-centered outcomes research," said Holly Mead, Ph.D., assistant professor of health policy at SPHHS and principal investigator (PI). "The goal of our project is to transform cancer care by creating standards of quality that are defined by patients and to use these standards to identify models of survivorship care that are most effective. We are particularly excited to be working with leading survivor and community cancer organizations to ensure that cancer survivorship care meets the needs of patients."

The primary goal is to evaluate the effectiveness different models of care have on patient-centered outcomes for cancer survivors. The team will accomplish this through the development of a patient-prioritized framework and instrument to assess high quality survivorship care, drawing from the Cancer Support Community's national system of support to garner diverse patient input on what quality survivorship care looks like. The research team will also create a program implementation index to define survivorship models of care using the LIVESTRONG Essential Elements of Survivorship Care and they will identify high performing programs among those institutions accredited by the American College of Surgeon's Commission on Cancer. Finally, three survivorship care models will be compared to evaluate their effectiveness of impacting patient-prioritized outcomes.

"This project builds from the work of GWCI's Center for the Advancement of Cancer Survivorship, Navigation, and Policy, which has catalyzed the development of survivorship programs nationally for the last four years," said Mandi Pratt-Chapman, M.A., associate director of GWCI and co-PI. "We are pleased to work with such a talented team of researchers and survivors to evaluate how care is delivered from the patient perspective, setting the standard for what constitutes quality care for the nearly 14 million cancer survivors in the U.S. today."

Mead and Pratt-Chapman will lead the study with co-investigators Sean Cleary, Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at SPHHS; April Barbour, M.D., associate professor of medicine at SMHS; and Khaled El-Shami, M.D., assistant clinical professor of medicine at SMHS.

"The development of this innovative project exemplifies the potential of cross-disciplinary collaboration, a hallmark of the University's new strategic plan," said Cleary.

Two long-term cancer survivors will be a critical part of the project team. Anne Willis, director of the division of cancer survivorship at GWCI, will serve as project director and Cindy Cisneros, a nine-year cancer survivor, will serve as chair of the advisory board. In addition to cancer survivors from the community, the advisory board includes key project collaborators Kevin Stein, Ph.D., managing director of the Behavioral Research Center at the American Cancer Society; Joanne Buzaglo, senior director of research for the Cancer Support Community's Research and Training Institute; Nina Miller, cancer liaison initiatives manager for the Commission on Cancer at the American College of Surgeons; Ruth Rechis, Ph.D., director of evaluation and research at LIVESTRONG; and Sarah Arvey, Ph.D., senior manager of research and evaluation at LIVESTRONG.

"This project reflects PCORI's commitment to support patient-centered comparative effectiveness research, a new approach to health research that emphasizes the inclusion of patients and caregivers at all stages of the study process," said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, M.D., M.P.H. "The research will provide patients and those who care for them better information about the healthcare decisions they face."

The GW study is one of 51 projects totaling $88.6 million approved for funding by PCORI's Board of Governors on May 6. All were selected through a highly competitive review process in which scientists, patients, caregivers, and other stakeholders helped to evaluate more than 400 applications for funding. Proposals were evaluated on the basis of scientific merit, how well they engage patients and other stakeholders, their methodological rigor, and how well they fit within PCORI's national research priorities.

The awards are part of PCORI's second cycle of primary research funding. This new round of funding follows PCORI's initial approval of $40.7 million in support for 25 projects under the institute's national research priorities.

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For more information about PCORI's funding announcements, visit http://www.pcori.org/funding-opportunities.

About PCORI:

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed health care decisions. PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work. More information is available at http://www.pcori.org.

About the GW Cancer Institute (GWCI):

GWCI takes a comprehensive approach to a complex disease. In connection with the GW Hospital and the Medical Faculty Associates, GWCI provides for collaboration in the study, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Its mission is to ensure access to quality, patient-centered care across the cancer continuum through community engagement, patient and family empowerment, health care professional education, policy advocacy and collaborative multi-disciplinary research. More information about GWCI at: gwcancerinstitute.org.

About the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services:

Established in July 1997, the School of Public Health and Health Services brought together three longstanding university programs in the schools of medicine, business, and education and is now the only school of public health in the nation's capital. Today, more than 1,100 students from nearly every U.S. state and more than 40 nations pursue undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral-level degrees in public health. http://sphhs.gwu.edu/

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