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Recent honors for CRI Director

By News

CRI Director Sam Volchenboum, MD, PhD, is contributing his substantial expertise in pediatric oncology and biomedical informatics to several high-profile committees and advisory boards this year.

Sam has been appointed to two groups related to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Research Data Commons (CRDC). He is a member of the Semantic Infrastructure Scientific Committee, a small committee that provides ongoing expert advice and direction for expanding the NCI’s Semantic Infrastructure to address the needs of the CRDC. He also serves on the Scientific and Technical Advisory Board for the CRDC. This Board provides input into the technical direction of the CRDC as well as guidance on how this important program can best serve the cancer research community.

In September, Sam was invited to and participated in the Biden Cancer Summit in Washington, DC. This summit brought together leaders from across regions, sectors, and disciplines to strategize on the best ways to continue improving the culture of cancer care and research. 

Sam’s expertise is being recognized within the University of Chicago, as well. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Computing Activities and Services, a faculty statutory board appointed by the Provost, as well as sitting on the Provost’s IT Committee, which reviews IT projects and recommends allocations of IT resources in support of the University’s mission and institutional priorities.

CRI developing new community platform with Thirty Million Words

By News

Building on our successful past and current work with Thirty Million Words (TMW), the CRI is helping build a new community platform for the initiative. TMW, directed by Dr. Dana Suskind, is an innovative, evidence-based intervention program designed to create a population-level shift in the knowledge and behavior of parents and caregivers to optimize foundational brain development in babies and young children, particularly those born into poverty.

Since the project began in 2014, the CRI’s applications development team has been a key collaborator in developing and supporting the informatics operations for TMW and associated studies. We are now expanding our work by building the infrastructure for the TMW Community Platform, a multi-year community-wide demonstration project that will implement TMW interventions through health and social service providers already working at scale in partner communities.

Under the leadership of Director of Applications Development Brian Furner and Sr. Programmer Seong Choi, the CRI is working with a selected development partner and the TMW team to build a technical platform that will facilitate the delivery of TMW interventions and the collection of data for analysis. The platform includes a web application that supports community and user management, participant enrollment and consent, delivery of newborn interventional content, and a dashboard to monitor implementation. Our team is also developing reporting infrastructure for the platform, as well as a demo version of the application that will be used to train TMW’s implementing staff. We expect to deploy the TMW Community Platform in July 2019.

CTMS Update: Autumn 2018

By CTMS, News

The CRI’s successful development of a Clinical Trials Management System (CTMS) for the University of Chicago continues on pace this autumn as we prepare for the launch of the system. After a year of iterative work to develop and test key components, the project is now in the final user acceptance testing phase and is set for deployment in mid-November 2018. Once the CTMS is in production, all new clinical trials at the University will be initiated within it.

With our system, which includes a fully functional front end for budgeting and reporting in addition to managing clinical data, all information for University of Chicago clinical trials will be easily accessible in one place. The CRI has extended our relationship with Bad Rabbit Consulting and will continue to work closely with their research administration experts as we manage and further develop the CTMS after it is in production. We look forward to the successful deployment of this enterprise system that will unify, standardize, and modernize clinical research efforts across the BSD.

Gabriella Miller Kids First Data Resource Center launches research portal

By News

The Gabriella Miller Kids First Data Resource Center has officially launched its Data Resource Portal, a powerful, open-source resource for research in pediatric disorders. The portal brings together clinical and genomic data related to childhood diseases, including pediatric cancer and birth defects, and enables researchers to collaborate with one another and analyze data in a secure, cloud-based environment.

The CRI is committed to several efforts to use cross-institutional data sharing to study and combat diseases, especially rare diseases such as pediatric cancer. We are proud to be part of the development of this important resource, with our Sr. Programmer Luca Graglia, MS, fully dedicated to the project. Read more about the Kids First DRC and our role here.

Successful REDCapCon draws to a close

By News, REDCap

The CRI and University of Chicago wrapped up a successful REDCapCon last week. The CRI was honored to host this important three-day event, which brings together REDCap administrators and technical team members from institutions all over the world for education and networking. This year was the tenth annual meeting and one of the largest gatherings to date, with 327 attendees from 201 institutions representing 20 countries across 6 continents.

Many members of the CRI, led by our REDCap Administrator Julissa Acevedo, contributed to planning and executing the event. The keynote speech was given by Dr. Julian Solway of the Institute for Translational Medicine.

REDCapCon 2019 will be held in September 2019 in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Seminar Series 2018-19 schedule now available

By News

The CRI Seminar Series 2018-19 season kicks off this Friday with a talk from Sam Volchenboum, “Including Informatics in Grant Applications.” The full schedule for this academic year includes twelve sessions, in topics ranging from parallel computing to natural language processing to REDCap. In October, we will welcome guest speakers from the Human Imaging Research Office; the other sessions will be presented by experts in each field from the CRI.

Creating opportunities for informatics education is an important part of our mission. CRI Seminar Series talks are free and open to all members of the University of Chicago community and partner institutions. Check out the full schedule here.

CRI and UChicago prepare to host REDCapCon 2018

By News

REDCapCon, the annual education and networking conference for REDCap administrators, will be held this year from August 19-22 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. The CRI is honored to be hosting this year’s event, with our REDCap Administrator Julissa Acevedo playing an important role in bringing the conference to UChicago. 

Now in its tenth year, the conference is designed to help REDCap administrators and technical team members support the effective use of REDCap at their home institutions. The three days of programming include presentations, breakout sessions, and networking. In addition to educational opportunities, the conference works to foster collaborative relationships between member institutions, ultimately contributing to the ongoing improvement of the REDCap software.

Learn more how you can use REDCap with the CRI here.

CRI and Elligo team up on FDA data harmonization project

By News

The CRI is pleased to announce a new collaborative project with Elligo Health Research in which both teams will assist the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with developing a standard common data model to guide evidence generation in biomedical research studiesand bridge clinical research and clinical care. As part of a grant awarded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Trust Fund, the FDA is currently involved in an effort to harmonize multiple common data models and open standards. By mapping data from disparate sources to one consensus-based model, the project will facilitate interoperability between data networks and make new research possible.

The CRI’s rich Clinical Research Data Warehouse and experience in the development and maintenance of data models make us a natural partner for Elligo and the FDA in developing and implementing interoperability standards. In addition to providing the FDA with valuable information about the safety of new cancer treatments, this project will help assess the value of the standard common data model for real world evidence research, as well as the tools and methods used to achieve the data harmonization. Learn more about what we’ll be working on here.

“It’s almost like the hospital is an organism.”

By News

As the CRI-supported collaboration between the University of Chicago and Google continues, the successes of this machine learning project are capturing attention.

In Bloomberg News, CRI Director Sam Volchenboum and other experts weigh in on the meaning of the project’s accomplishments so far, potential pitfalls, and what they hope to see next. For Sam, health records are one piece of the puzzle, but they could be made even more meaningful if analyzed in combination with other types of data that influence health outcomes.

Read more: Google Is Training Machines to Predict When a Patient Will Die

Comprehensive Care Program featured in New York Times Magazine

By News

This week’s issue of the New York Times Magazine features the article “Trying to Put a Value on the Doctor-Patient Relationship,” which profiles Dr. David Meltzer’s unique Comprehensive Care Program (CCP) study. The CCP is an experiment in returning to a now-uncommon model for the doctor-patient relationship, in which patients receive consistent care from one provider whether they are outpatient or in the hospital.

The CRI has proudly been a part of the CCP study since it began; our Applications Development team built the custom dashboard and notification system that comprise the technological infrastructure for the study. The dashboard is used in the clinic to collect study information and integrate it with patients’ electronic medical records, and the notification system, which was the first of its kind at UCM, alerts physicians when patients enrolled in the study visit the emergency department or are admitted to the hospital.