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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Medical Social Sciences
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Programs

 Michael Bass, MS, Research Program

Bass develops Patient-Reported Outcomes (PROs) software for the integration into EHR systems and research data collection platforms.

Research Description

Bass’ area of research focuses on the develop and integration of PRO software. This includes the implementation and dissemination of Item Response Theory–based algorithms for the selection and scoring of PRO measures. Bass developed and supports the Assessment Center API, software that administers and score PROMIS measures. This software has been incorporated into both clinical patient portals such as EPIC’s MyChart and research-based data collection platforms such as REDCap. Another software project has been the implementation of a text-message software component for the delivery of behavior interventions that integrate into REDCap. This software is currently being used in multiple EMA-based studies and clinical trials. Bass has also had leadership roles, acting as research site PI and member of advisory panels in multiple SBIR Phase I and II grants.

For more information, see Bass' faculty profile.

Publications

See Bass’ publications on PubMed.

Contact

michael-bass@northwestern.edu
312-503-3618

 David Cella, PhD, Research Program

Cella’s research program focuses on the development, validation and application of quality-of-life measures in clinical research and in clinical practice, ensuring the patient’s voice in the design and analysis of clinical trials and elucidating unique cultural and personal preferences into clinical decision-making.

Research Description

Over the past 30 years, Cella has built a scientific enterprise around the development and application of questionnaires that precisely indicate symptom severity, functional limitations and general perceptions of health and well-being. His mission has been to bring the voice of the patient into consideration of treatment value and to identify opportunities for improving quality of life. Cella developed and is continually refining the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT) Measurement System for outcome evaluation in patients with chronic medical conditions.

As a clinical psychologist and measurement scientist with expertise in applied health status measurement, Cella has led the development of numerous item banks and instruments, intended for both normal and clinical populations including paper-and-pencil and computer administered instruments. Cella led the PROMIS and Neuro-QoL item banking initiatives from 2004 to 2014 and is now charged with sustaining them as part of the HealthMeasures distribution. In this capacity, he enables countless others to meaningfully apply patient-centered measurement tools in their research and clinical care. Cella’s work includes areas of high-stakes decision-making such as regulatory review, payer negotiations and individual clinical care. A major focus of many of these initiatives has been ensuring measurement sensitive to diverse populations, including issues of health literacy and health disparities and developmentally sensitive measurement across the lifespan. Most recently, Cella has been engaged in implementing patient-centered supportive oncology care, providing learning health system research and training opportunities at Northwestern Medicine and elsewhere.

For more information, see Cella's faculty profile.

Publications

See Cella’s publications on PubMed.

Contact

d-cella@northwestern.edu
312-503-1086

Program Staff

September Cahue
Clinical Research Associate
312-503-3577

Victoria Morken
Senior Program Administrator
312-503-5197

Amy Sparling
Senior Program Coordinator
312-503-4928

 Karon Cook, PhD, Research Program

Cook’s program studies the science and application of patient-reported outcomes.

Research Description

Since earning a doctoral degree with concentration in psychometrics, Cook has worked in the area of patient-reported outcomes. As primary investigator, she has received funding to complete measurement-related projects from the National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development, Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development and the United States Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity. Her work has included measurement development (e.g., impact of spasticity, shoulder function, self-reported pain behaviors), methodological research (e.g., impact of number of common items on linking, fit statistics in the context of item banking) and clinically-substantive research accomplished using advanced psychometric methods (e.g., impact of cross-diagnostic symptoms on the scores of common depression measures). A chief focus of her work is pain and its measurement. Cook has been lead psychometrician in three studies that modified and applied methods borrowed from educational standard testing (Bookmarking) to categorize PRO symptoms by severity. She adapted these methods for estimating score change thresholds. The new method, Idio Scale Judgment, uses patient input to answer the question of what magnitudes of score change matters to patients.

For more information, see Cook's faculty profile.

Publications

See Cook’s publications on PubMed.

Contact

karon.cook@northwestern.edu
713-291-3918

 Patricia Franklin, MD, Research Program

Franklin’s program develops and evaluates innovative patient-centered methods to disseminate and increase the value of patient-reported outcomes in clinical care, quality monitoring and comparative effectiveness research.

Research Description

Franklin’s current research advances the integration of patient-reported, clinical and device data to improve patient care decisions and aggregate population outcomes in aging adults with knee and hip osteoarthritis. Under her leadership, the FORCE-TJR research registry established an international reputation for implementing patient-reported outcomes (PROs) as the primary outcome following total joint replacement surgery. Since 2010, FORCE-TJR has aggregated U.S. norms for pain, function and adverse events following total joint replacement surgery to inform quality benchmarks and research standards. Today, her interdisciplinary national team collects annual longitudinal outcomes on the FORCE cohort, collaborates in evaluations of bundled payment outcome measures and develops and tests innovative phone apps, brief patient-reported measures and new informatics tools to accelerate the implementation of patient-centered predictive analytics in clinical care. Specifically, based on prediction models using the FORCE-TJR cohort, her team is testing web-based, shared decision tools that predict patient-defined priority outcomes and present the data in patient-defined visual formats to guide treatment decisions. These methods can be readily extrapolated across diverse chronic conditions.

For more information, see Franklin's faculty profile or the Function and Outcomes Research for Comparative Effectiveness in Total Joint Replacement website.

Publications

See Franklin's publications on PubMed.

Contact

patricia.franklin@northwestern.edu
312-503-9803

Program Staff

Hua Zheng, PhD 
Lead, Informatics Program

 Richard Gershon, PhD, Research Program

Gershon focuses his research at the intersection of measurement with technology to enable the development and application of assessment tools for numerous disciplines and across diverse domains over the lifespan, including cognitive functioning, achievement, emotional health and physical, motor and sensory function. 

Research Description

Gershon often turns to Item Response Theory and Computer Adaptive Testing to increase test efficiency and to enable comparisons over time and across studies. He has leveraged this expertise to serve as an investigator and/or consultant on more than 100 assessment development projects in healthcare, education and medical certification. He is the PI and continues to manage the distribution and further development of the NIH Toolbox for the Assessment of Neurological and Behavioral Function. For example, Gershon is MPI (with David Cella, PhD) of the ECHO (Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes PRO Measurement) Core to oversee measurement integration and new measure development for 50,000 children and their parents. At the other end of the age spectrum, he is MPI (with Sandy Weintraub, PhD) for Advancing Reliable Measurement in Alzheimer's Disease and Cognitive Aging (ARMADA), which is validating and expanding the NIH Toolbox for use in studies of cognitive aging beginning with normal cognition through progression into MCI and into early stages of AD. Gershon also is active in the development and distribution of Patient-Reported Outcomes (PRO) measures. He oversaw the development of Assessment Center, served as the PROMIS Technical Center PI and currently works as the Technology Core Lead for the National Person-Centered Assessment Resource. His team is also now working on the development and distribution of self-administered performance and PRO measures on smartphones in his role as contact MPI for Mobile Toolbox.

For more information, see Gershon's faculty profile.

Publications

See Gershon’s publications on PubMed. 

Contact

gershon@northwestern.edu
312-503-3453

Program Staff

Ellen Roney
Program Assistant
312-503-3601

Maria Varela
Director of Information Technology
312-503-3032

Michelle Langer, PhD
PROMIS/Assessment-Center API Product Manager

Julie Hook, PhD
NIH Toolbox Product Manager

Vitali Ustsinovich
Project Manager: ARMADA, Mobile Toolbox, MyCog
312-810-9476

Amanda Summers
ECHO Project Manager
312-503-5247

David Ortiz
Assistant Manager, Customer Service

 Andrea Graham, PhD, Research Program

Graham’s program focuses on using digital technologies for screening, prevention and treatment of eating disorders and obesity.

Research Description

Graham is a clinical psychologist and health services scientist specializing in using digital technologies for the screening, prevention and treatment of eating disorders and obesity. Graham’s research program is housed within the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies and shares the mission of increasing access to high-quality care using scalable interventions. More specifically, her work focuses on designing and testing screening tools and interventions for youth, adults and families and on evaluating their implementation. She also is interested in understanding issues that impact adoption of interventions in practice, such as the costs of treatment, and in training providers to deliver evidence-based interventions for mental and behavioral health problems.

For more information, see Graham's faculty profile or the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies.

Publications

See Graham’s publications on PubMed.

Contact

andrea.graham@northwestern.edu
312-503-5266

 George J. Greene, PhD, Research Program

Greene’s program engages with community stakeholders, particularly in racial and ethnic minority communities, to understand and measure health risks and health status and to build upon the strengths of communities to develop, implement and evaluate health interventions.

Research Description

Greene’s research and program evaluation activities focus on identifying and eliminating health disparities related to race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and age. These activities are informed by social ecological and intersectional perspectives and are driven by community-based participatory research approaches and mixed methods research frameworks. As a faculty member of the Northwestern University Center on Outcomes Research and Education group, Greene’s program includes research on patient-reported outcomes (PROs), including studies on the development of PRO measures, disease- and treatment-related symptoms and health status in patients with chronic illnesses. At the community-level, Greene is engaged in a number of projects investigating healthcare access, service utilization and program improvement. He is currently leading a multisite implementation and outcome evaluation of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and HIV care re-engagement (Data to Care) demonstration projects focusing on health disparity communities in collaboration with the Chicago Department of Public Health. In collaboration with Howard Brown Health and the EDIT Program in the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing, Greene is evaluating the use of social media and mobile technology to engage and retain patients in HIV care and to improve health outcomes. He is also co-leading the CURE HIV project to establish foundational knowledge for the development of a community-based research agenda in collaboration with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. These research and program evaluation activities span collaborations with community-based organizations and healthcare clinics, hospitals, health departments, academic research centers and industry partners.

For more information, see Greene's faculty profile page.

Publications

See Greene’s publications on PubMed.

Contact

george-greene@northwestern.edu
312-503-3603

 James Griffith, PhD, Research Program

Griffith’s lab is focused on the optimization of clinical assessment and using the results of clinical assessment to guide the patient’s healthcare.

Research Description

Griffith’s lab has ongoing studies examining how to improve health assessment for people with low health literacy. The lab also studies the connection between anxiety and depression with other medical symptoms. Along these lines, they have a clinical trial underway focused on reducing anxiety in women with lower urinary tract symptoms, and another interventional study focused on anxiety in patients with eczema. The lab is also interested in the connections among anxiety, depression and cognition. Griffith has published many papers on autobiographical memory as it relates to trauma and depression. The lab also has funding from the National Institute on Aging to enhance dementia-screening tools.

For more information, see Griffith's faculty profile or the Griffith Research Lab website.

Publications

See Griffith’s publications on PubMed.

Contact

j-griffith@northwestern.edu
312-503-5345

Program Staff

Eloisa Serrano
Research Project Coordinator
312-503-6501

Michelle Taddeo
Research Project Coordinator
312-503-1469

Noël C. Slesinger, MS
Clinical Psychology PhD Student
312-503-5608

Claire Weaver
Clinical Psychology PhD Student
312-503-4003

Bayley J. Taple, MS
Clinical Psychology PhD Student
312-503-3811

 Sally Jensen, PhD, Research Program

Jensen’s current research focus is the development and application of patient-reported outcome measures across a variety of surgical and medical patient populations, including traumatic facial injuries, major tissue and limb loss, neurofibromatosis, oncology, rheumatoid arthritis and veterinary orthopedic injuries. 

Research Description

Jensen has a strong research interest in biopsychosocial relationships in the context of medical illness and treatment. As a trained clinical health psychologist, she has extensive training and experience in research focused on the interrelationships between psychosocial functioning, neuroendocrine/immune functioning, physical symptom onset and patient-reported outcomes in a variety of surgical patient populations. This line of research is grounded in the hope that a better understanding of the relationships between psychosocial functioning and surgical outcome may help to identify optimal surgical candidates, identify biological mechanisms by which psychosocial functioning may affect health outcomes and lead to the development of future interventions to improve psychosocial functioning and surgical outcomes. Jensen’s recent research has focused on patient-reported outcomes, psychosocial functioning, physical symptoms and medical decision-making with respect to innovative surgical and non-surgical treatments among individuals with traumatic facial injuries, candidates for transplant surgery, candidates for reconstructive surgery, oncology, women’s health and individuals with upper limb amputations. Currently, she serves as the principal investigator of several research projects that seek to develop and apply patient-reported outcomes measures in traumatic craniomaxillofacial injuries, traumatic tissue loss and reconstructive transplantation (e.g., abdominal wall, limb, face) and veterinary surgery.

For more information, see Jensen’s faculty profile.

Publications

See Jensen’s publications on PubMed.

Contact

sally-jensen@northwestern.edu
312-503-1765

Program Staff

 Aaron Kaat, PhD, Research Program

Kaat’s program conducts research on psychometrics, in particular instrument development, adaptation and validation in special conditions.

Research Description

Kaat’s primary research interests relate to measure development, adaptation and validation in special populations, particularly for child chronic conditions. However, his research has expanded to include other special populations such as other adult orthopaedic outcomes and cancer outcomes. Kaat’s research emphasizes psychometrics and latent variable models related to the instruments within the HealthMeasures suite (i.e., the NIH Toolbox, PROMIS, PROMIS Pediatric, Neuro-QoL and ASCQ-Me). He is particularly interested in multiple-group item response theory. Kaat is the site-PI on a grant funded by NICHD to develop a social communication outcome measure, the site-PI on a foundation grant related to children with medical complexity and has served as a co-investigator on several other projects.

For more information, see Kaat's faculty profile.

Publications

See Kaat’s publications on PubMed.

Contact

aaron.kaat@northwestern.edu
312-503-3477

 Emily Lattie, PhD, Research Program

Lattie’s program focuses on the design and implementation of digital mental health programs to broaden the accessibility of mental healthcare.

Research Description

Lattie’s program focuses on the development and evaluation of technology-enabled mental health services for stress management, depression and anxiety delivered via mobile app or website, as part of the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies. She is particularly interested in adapting these services to subpopulations with access barriers and in examining the contexts in which these programs can be implemented. Current work includes a federally funded project aimed at developing and deploying mobile tools to support university student mental health. Lattie also provides consultation and expertise regarding the role of human support in technology-enabled services.

For more information, see Lattie’s faculty profile.

Publications

See Lattie’s publications on PubMed.

Contact

emily.lattie@northwestern.edu
312-503-3741

Program Staff

Nathan Winquist
Research Study Assistant
312-503-6895

 John Peipert, PhD, Research Program

Peipert’s program studies patient-centered health outcomes.

Research Description

As a psychometrician and investigator, Peipert focuses on the development and validation of patient-reported outcomes that are essential to understanding patients’ experiences, decision-making and quality of life using cutting-edge psychometric, but patient-centered, approaches. His interests in patient-reported outcome measurement range from methodological statistical issues to applications of patient-reported measures in clinical practice, especially for clinical trials and quality monitoring. Substantive areas of expertise and application include chronic kidney disease and solid organ transplantation.

For more information, see Peipert’s faculty profile.

Publications

See Peipert’s publications on PubMed.

Contact

john.peipert@northwestern.edu
312-972-5223

 Benjamin Schalet, PhD, Research Program

Schalet’s program studies response theory, the relationship between personality traits and psychopathology and the development/treatment of mood disorders.

Research Description

Schalet’s research has focused on multi-method assessment and how the personality traits of Openness to Experience and Absorption may be related to psychopathology. He has also examined the effects of antidepressants on different symptom clusters in patients with depression and anxiety disorders. He is currently involved in several projects that focus on psychometric linking of multiple patient-reported outcome instruments (PROsetta Stone) and the validation of instruments in the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System in patients with a range of medical conditions.

For more information, see Schalet’s faculty profile.

Publications

See Schalet’s publications on PubMed.

Contact

b-schalet@northwestern.edu
312-503-3640

 Susan Yount, PhD, Research Program

Yount’s research focuses on measurement of and interventions to improve health outcomes of chronic illness. 

Research Description

Yount is a clinical health psychologist and health outcomes scientist with interests in the development, validation and application of patient-reported outcomes measures (such as health status, health-related quality of life, symptoms). In particular, she is interested in using health information technology applications to measure patient-reported outcomes to ensure the capture of the patient’s perspective in their clinical care. She has been involved in research that focuses on a number of chronic conditions, including various cancers, organ transplant (liver, kidney), heart failure, osteoarthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

For more information, see Yount's faculty profile.

Publications

See Yount’s publications on PubMed.

Contact

s-yount@northwestern.edu
312-503-3534

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