The Role of Coordinating Centers in Collaborative Cancer Epidemiology Studies

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Human Centered Design & Engineering PhD student Betsy Rolland and Professor Charlotte Lee have received an award in the amount of $185,866 from the National Institutes of Health for their proposal “The Role of Coordinating Centers in Collaborative Cancer-Epidemiology Studies.” Granted through the Epidemiology and Genetics Research Program of the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, this project will investigate how different types of coordinating centers support multi-institutional cancer-epidemiology research projects.

Rolland and Lee will focus their investigation on coordinating centers (CCs) at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) in Seattle, WA. FHCRC's Public Health Sciences division contains significant expertise in the area of building and managing CCs, yet that expertise has not been captured in one place. Through this pilot project, Rolland and Lee propose to study in detail at least six and possibly up to ten CCs, including the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer Centers (TREC), Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium (GECCO) and the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN), as well as drawing on Rolland's own experience running the Asia Cohort Consortium Coordinating Center. Further, they will send a survey to CCs running cancer-epidemiology studies at other centers, especially comprehensive cancer care centers around the US, and interview project staff of these non-FHCRC CCs.

Using these data, Rolland and Lee will craft models of the research projects themselves and models of the CCs that have evolved to meet each specific project's needs. They will compare how different CCs are run and then develop metrics that can be used both to evaluate a CC's performance as well as to predict a CC's chances of success. From these models and metrics, they will develop a toolkit that a new collaborative project can use to build an effective CC. Finally, Rolland and Lee will develop a modular course for CC project management teams that can give them the information they need to build a successful CC.

Article originally published 1 September 2011:

Betsy Rolland is a PhD student in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington and a member of the Computer Supported Collaboration (CSC) Lab, run by Professor Charlotte Lee. Betsy holds a BA in Russian Languages and Literature from Northwestern University and a Master of Library and Information Science from the Information School at the University of Washington. Her coursework at the UW focused on the development of information systems for biomedical research collaborations and included courses in HCI, usability testing and biomedical and health informatics. She is the Project Manager for the Asia Cohort Consortium Coordinating Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA.

Dr. Charlotte Lee, Assistant Professor in Human Centered Design & Engineering and Director of the Computer Supported Collaboration (CSC) Lab, has a BA in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, an MA in Sociology from San Jose State University, and a PhD in Information Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Lee's research is in the fields of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Social Informatics, Design Studies, and Science and Technology Studies. Her work focuses on empirically describing and theorizing the informational practices, artifacts, and collaborative structures of communities of practice working towards a shared goal: collaborative design.