I currently work as a Research Biostatistician in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The below highlights a few research programs that I have been a part of, as well as related publications and presentations.
American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) project GENIE BPC (Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange Biopharma Collaborative) is a cross-institution collaboration between MSKCC, Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center with biopharmaceutical partners working towards linking cancer genomic sequencing data with clinical treatment and outcomes data (press release). As a part of this team I am involved in writing standard operating procedures for quality assurance, maintaining a quality assurance dashboard, deriving variables that will be publicly released with the data and performing statistical analyses.
As part of a team of statisticians, health services researchers and oncologists at MSK this portfolio of work focused on measuring the quality of surgical cancer care provided to patients across the United States. Hospital profiling refers to measuring each hospitals’ specific patient-level outcomes, and potentially reporting those outcomes publicly so that patients may make informed decisions regarding where to pursue care and hospitals may work towards improving their quality, when needed. This project is multifaceted, and involves validating a relevant data source for this endeavor, assessing variables essential for risk-adjustment, considering how to evaluate hospitals with few surgeries from which we can observe outcomes, and weighing the different statistical methods available to determine which is most appropriate given its implications.
Opioid use in older adults with cancer
Cancer survivors may be at increased risk of opioid-related harms because of exposure to opioids during treatment, high prevalence of pain after treatment, and heightened risk of addiction among people with tobacco- and alcohol-related cancers. Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registry linked to Medicare claims, we conducted a retrospective matched cohort study to compare receipt of chronic opioid therapy (90-days of continuous use) between cancer survivors and cancer-free controls from 2008 through 2014.
Quality of life in melanoma patients treated with immunotherapy
Given the rapid pace of incorporation of checkpoint inhibitors into practice and the rising number of patients treated with these drugs as part of routine care, an assessment of the impact of these agents on patient quality of life, with attention to both the symptom and financial burdens associated with immunotherapy, is necessary to optimize care.
Hospital interpreter policies
Patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) are at risk of impaired communication with their clinicians and thus disparities in cancer treatment completion. Despite knowledge that the use of professional interpreters improves patient care for LEP patients, research has shown that clinicians underuse language services in favor of their own, often limited, non-English skills. We conducted a nation-wide hospital survey to investigate the current policies of hospitals that care for LEP cancer patients to inform guidelines for linguistically appropriate care, which was identified as a priority by the Commission to End Health Disparities.