249116 NUTORC The Implementing of a Transdisciplinary Scientific Collaboration to Advance Transplantation Outcomes Research

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Olivia Anne Ross, MPH , Institute for Healthcare Studies, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Daniela Ladner, MD, MPH , Department of Surgery, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Elisa Gordon, PhD, MPH , Institute for Healthcare Studies, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Anton Skaro, MD, PhD , Department of Surgery, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Zeeshan Butt, PhD , Department of Medical Social Science, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Donna Woods, PhD, EdM , Institute for Healthcare Studies, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Baris Ata, PhD , Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, Chicago, IL
David Cella, PhD , Department of Medical Social Science, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Sanjay Mehrotra, PhD , Department of Industrial Engineering, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Jane Holl, MD, MPH , Institute for Healthcare Studies, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Michael Abecassis, MD MBA , Department of Surgery, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Research in transplantation has traditionally been performed by clinicians using single center data or national registry data centered around graft- and patient survival. The Northwestern University Transplant Outcomes Research Collaborative (NUTORC) was created in June 2008 to broaden the scope of transplant research. By building upon the existing clinical strengths of a large multi-organ transplant program and the expertise across the university, a collaborative initiative focused on health services outcomes research in transplantation was implemented. Cooperative research groups (workgroups) were formed around identified key clinical questions related to all aspects of organ transplantation. Following the model of transdisciplinary scientific research teams, collaborations were established between the Division of Transplantation, centers and departments within the medical school, and additional schools within the university. To establish multi-lateral commitment to the collaboration, several faculty members were hired jointly by transplantation and collaborating departments and schools. NUTORC currently includes over 40 faculty members, 5 non-physician transplant clinical staff members, and 8 research support staff members. 1) Collaboration: Within 30 months, NUTORC successfully developed multi-departmental collaborations within the school of medicine focusing on safety, quality of life, and informatics and with the school of engineering and the school of management, focusing on risk assessment, economy, and access and allocation to transplantation. Collaborators include transplant clinicians and experts in industrial engineering, bioethics, epidemiology, health policy, psychology, business, management, and biostatistics. Presently NUTORC includes seven workgroups with the following topical areas: safety, risk and economics, access and allocation, quality of life, health literacy, disparity, and health informatics. 2) Organizational Structure: Each NUTORC workgroup is comprised of: transplant clinicians (determining needed information); health services and outcomes researchers (framing need in outcomes context); and experts with specific expertise (formulating experimental design). Weekly NUTORC meetings are held to solicit feedback and to ensure cross-fertilization among workgroups. 3) Funding: NUTORC received over $4 million through 6 intramural (4 under review), 2 foundation/pharmaceutical (5 under review), and 4 NIH/NSF grants (7 under review). 4) Dissemination: 76 oral and poster presentations at national conferences, and 23 published manuscripts. Through transdisciplinary collaboration, NUTORC has brought together multi-disciplinary expertise to address outcomes research questions significant to advancing organ transplantation research. NUTORC has expanded the horizon of transplant outcomes research, yielding high impact, innovative research results. NUTORC is an example of successfully leveraging a transdisciplinary collaboration to improve the delivery of care and guide clinical policies.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the creation of the Northwestern University Transplantation Outcomes Research Collaborative. Discuss the benefits and challenges of applying a team science approach to health services research.

Keywords: Research, Partnerships

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the research project manager for the Northwestern University Transplant Outcomes Research Collaborative.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.