Public Release: 

Putting patient's voice in center of health care

Northwestern scientist honored for pioneering work in patient-reported outcomes

Northwestern University

CHICAGO --- David Cella, chair of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has received a prestigious international award for his contributions as a pioneer in the field of patient-reported outcome measures and his mission to put the patient's voice in the center of health care.

Cella accepted the John Ware and Alvin Tarlov Career Achievement Prize Oct. 6 at the International Society of Quality of Health Care conference in Rio de Janeiro.

The award, given by the Health Assessment Lab/Medical Outcomes Trust, honors Cella as a leader in the development, promotion and education of patient-reported outcome measures.

Throughout his 30-year career, Cella has focused his scientific work on the vision that understanding the patient's perspective optimizes health and health care. By gathering and assessing information about patients' symptoms from the patients themselves, clinicians and researchers can improve quality of life for people affected by chronic illness.

"I am deeply moved to receive this award, especially because it comes from peers I admire and respect," said Cella, who is director of Feinberg's Center for Patient-Centered Outcomes. "Together, we share the goal of putting the patient's voice squarely into the middle of what we do in health care."

Cella is also the associate director of prevention and control research at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University

Cella joined Feinberg in 1997 and became the inaugural chair of the department of medical social sciences in 2009. Among his many ongoing projects, he is principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund Initiative Patient Reported Outcomes Medical Information System (PROMIS). Through PROMIS, Cella has overseen the establishment of a universal metric to assess patients' physical, mental and social health across conditions.

In September, Cella received a $10.2 million NIH grant to spearhead the National Person-Centered Assessment Resource (PCAR). The grant supports a multi-site research resource platform that will make standardized measurements of patient-centered health outcomes broadly accessible. He also oversees the new Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-funded Northwestern University-Patient-Centered Intervention and Engagement Training (NU-PATIENT) K-12 Training Program.

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