Online Program

Surgical Outcomes Center for Kids (SOCKs): The Establishment of a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Program

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 3:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Amita Bey, MPH, Surgical Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Ashly Westrick, MPH, Pediatric Neurosurgery/Department of Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
John Brock III, MD, Division of Pediatric Urologic Surgery, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
John Wellons III, MD, MSPH, Department of Neurological Surgery, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Chevis Shannon, MBA MPH DrPH, Pediatric Neurosurgery/Department of Neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

To improve quality of care, patient safety and patient quality of life at our institution, we established the Surgical Outcomes Center for Kids (SOCKs). Here we describe the evolution of this multidisciplinary research center.


Clinicians from all surgical and medical subspecialties voiced interest in collaborating to design and conduct sound epidemiologic studies specific to the pediatric population we serve. Charged with advancing and improving outcomes for all children, SOCKs was established to 1) facilitate collaborative research endeavors informing clinical decision making and improving overall health, while establishing a sustainable mechanism to provide physician scientists with epidemiologic and clinical research expertise.


This model consists of collaborators stemming from physician scientists and PhD level investigators, to epidemiologists, residents and students.  We facilitate multi-disciplinary natural history, quality improvement, quality of life, and comparative effectiveness studies. Through weekly research roundtables, collaborators discuss outcomes of interest, study design, protocol and manuscript development.  Informal monthly meetings provide topical discussions on research methodology. Research extenders manage the day to day operations ensuring progression of the projects from hypothesis generation to manuscript publication. Additionally, our collaborators work together to facilitate participation in multi-institutional research networks. 


This model bridges the gap between clinical practice and population-based public health.  Since fall of 2014, research studies started have increased more than 40%, grants applied for have tripled, participation in research networks has increased 20%, and physician scientists conducting research have increased two- fold. Our model has proven successful in the short run and we fully expect continued success to continue.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the evolution from a single subspecialty research program into a comprehensive multidisciplinary research center.

Keyword(s): Outcomes Research, Public Health Infrastructure

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Program Director for the Surgical Outcomes Center for Kids (SOCKs)at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. I was involved in the establishment of the research center.
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.