University Receives $2.1 Million for Cancer Research

The award to the GW Cancer Institute, housed within the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and the School of Public Health and Health Services will fund research into cancer survivorship care models.

Medicine Healthcare
May 08, 2013

The George Washington University Cancer Institute, housed within the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and School of Public Health and Health Services have received a $2.1 million, three-year research award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to evaluate cancer survivorship care models. 

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed health care decisions.

Holly Mead, SPHHS assistant professor of health policy and principal investigator, said GW is “privileged” to have been selected by PCORI.

“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,” Dr. Mead said. “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 project will address the impact that different models of care have on patient-centered outcomes for cancer survivors. The team will develop a patient-prioritized framework and measurement 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, leveraging the Livestrong Essential Elements of Survivorship Care and rolling out the index to Commission on Cancer accredited institutions through the American College of Surgeons.

Finally, three survivorship care models will be studied to assess their impact on 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, associate director of the GW Cancer Institute and co-principal investigator. “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 survivors in the U.S. today.”

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

Two long-term cancer survivors will also 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.

“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. “The research will provide patients and those who care for them better information about the health care 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 competitive review process in which scientists, patients, caregivers and other stakeholders helped to evaluate more than 400 applications for funding. The award was approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.