Home
About Us
Projects>
Cores>
Training>
Contact Us

Comparative Effectiveness Research on Cancer in Texas (CERCIT) is a statewide resource for outcomes and comparative effectiveness research funded by The Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), RP101207
Data Management Core  |  Training Core   |   Knowledge Translation Core  |   Administrative Core

Matrix Data Management Core (Director, Catherine Cooksley, DrPH)
  1. Construct a new software and hardware environment for the new CERCIT data resource through UTMB’s Center for Comparative Effectiveness and Cancer Outcomes.

  2. Consult with the Texas Cancer Registry and the owners of the three sources of Texas claims data on linkage arrangements. The de-identified linked files will include the years 2000-2011 (Data will be updated to include the years 2011 and 2012 with additional funding): TCR linked Medicare data (TCR-Medicare); TCR linked Medicaid data (TCR-Medicaid); TCR linked private insurance data (TCR-private insurance).

  3. Construct the CERCIT data resource: TCR linked Medicare data (TCR-Medicare), TCR linked Medicaid data (TCR-Medicaid), TCR linked private insurance data (TCR-private insurance), Texas Medicare 100%, Texas Medicaid 100%, Texas private insurance data source (sample of insured Texans). Supplemental databases will be linked in to each of the six major data files and will include the American Medical Association’s (AMA) physician Masterfile, the CMS Provider of Services (POS) data and a contextual file based on U.S. 2000 Census data.

  4. Design and maintain a comprehensive data security system to support secure data sharing and protect data integrity.

  5. Coordinate data extraction, file delivery and report generation.

  6. Using claims data, aid the Texas Cancer Registry (TCR) in enhancing its population-based cancer registry.
Catherine D. Cooksley, DrPH directs the Data Management core. She is a Senior Biostatistician for the Center for Comparative Effectiveness and Cancer Outcomes. She is trained in public health epidemiology, specifically disease surveillance and control. Dr. Cooksley spent the past 19 years at the UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center providing data management and statistical analytic support to faculty, students and staff who conducted clinical and population-based health services and outcomes research. Dr. Cooksley's expertise includes cancer registry procedures, claims data and database linkage strategies. Collaborating with researchers and clinicians from multidisciplinary backgrounds, she has authored or contributed to papers investigating health care delivery and supportive care needs of cancer patients and survivors utilizing databases such as the SEER linked Medicare data, Texas and national inpatient and survey databases including National Health Interview Survey and Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Dr. Cooksley is current editor of the Texas Public Health Journal.


Matrix Training Core (Director, Jean L. Freeman, PhD)
  1. Offer select early career clinician-scientists the opportunity to train with an experienced consortium of health services researchers using the Texas Cancer Registry and related databases.

  2. Provide workshops, seminars, and learning activities focused on comparative effectiveness research. Specific examples will be related to the four CERCIT research projects. The learning activities will be available to CERCIT trainees and interested researchers in the form of didactic workshops and seminars along with supplemental information available on the CERCIT website.

  3. Develop individual mentoring programs for CERCIT trainees at the consortium institutions. The trainees will complete learning experiences developed in goal two and work with a mentor and research team to conduct cancer comparative effectiveness research.

  4. Evaluate the training and career development activities to document that trainees become proficient in cancer comparative effectiveness research, and that the learning experiences developed in goal two are effective and widely used.
Jean Freeman, PhD directs the Training Core and serves as an investigator on Project 1. She has over 25 years of experience in health services and clinical effectiveness research and has published more than 75 articles in high impact journals in medicine and health care. She is currently Principal Investigator of an NCI R01 which examines late toxicities of radiation in women diagnosed with gynecologic cancer. In the past, she was PI of an NCI R01 to examine the effectiveness of breast cancer screening in older women and PI of a Department of Defense grant to identify factors that improve screening mammography rates in Mexican American women. From 2001-2008, she was the PI for an R24 grant (Health Services Research in Underserved Populations) from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Minority Research Infrastructure Support Program. This grant provided funding to build the Health Services Research Program and to attract minority investigators to the field. Dr. Freeman also has more than 15 years of experience in recruiting, evaluating and mentoring trainees in externally funded training programs. She is also Director of the Health Services Research Curriculum within the Clinical Science Graduate Program at UTMB.


Matrix Knowledge Translation Core (Director, Karl Eschbach, PhD)
  1. Create a Cancer Care Reporting Infrastructure for Texas through establishing a Web presence for CERCIT; canvassing leading stakeholders in Texas on needs and preferences for data on cancer care in Texas; issuing a draft template structure of cancer care report from the Medicare program; releasing a Texas Medicare Cancer Care report ; and completing a report on user evaluation of Texas Medicare Cancer Care report.

  2. Submit topical annual reports on cancer care in Texas based on a canvass of leading stakeholders in Texas of their needs and preferences for data on cancer care in Texas and following a 5-year plan for report content and release schedule, detailing planned report topics, goals and justification for planned reports, and assignments for report completion.

  3. Facilitate journal publication of peer reviewed scientific contributions by establishing a manuscript office, project and manuscript submission tracking system and submitting completed articles for a special issue of Texas Public Health Journal.
Karl Eschbach, PhD directs the Knowledge Translation Core and will also assist the Data Management Core. He is a demographer who recently returned to UTMB after serving for several years as Texas State Demographer. He is currently Director of Population Research in the Departments of Internal Medicine and in Preventive Medicine and Community Health. He has extensive experience working with large geo-referenced data sets, vital statistics data, and census summary and micro data files. As state Demographer, he was responsible for producing the official estimates and projections of cities and counties in Texas, and analyzing the impact of population change on service demand. His research involves geographic/contextual variation in cancer incidence and survival in the Mexican American population.


Matrix Administrative Core (Director, James S. Goodwin, MD)
  1. Provide overall leadership and direction for all the activities of CERCIT projects and cores, including coordinating and integrating their functions and promoting scientific coherence.

  2. Monitor all fiscal matters of projects and cores and assure compliance with policies of the participating institutions and government policy.

  3. Track and evaluate all projects and cores, reallocating resources as appropriate, to promote quality, productivity and efficiency in all CERCIT activities.

  4. Organize regular research and administrative meetings of the CERCIT investigators and trainees.

  5. Communicate with CPRIT (annual progress report, approval of Knowledge Translation Core activities).

  6. Organize the activities of the External Advisory Committee.

  7. Foster an ongoing dialogue (with the Knowledge Translation Core) with the diverse constituencies and stakeholders involved in Texas cancer care.

  8. Promote the growth of CERCIT by ongoing dialogue with cancer effectiveness researcher's at all academic centers in Texas.
James S. Goodwin, MD directs the CERCIT Administrative Core as well as Project 1. He has directed several large multidisciplinary research programs, including the NCI-funded Center for Population Health and Health Disparities and the NIA-funded Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center. In May 2010, he stepped down as PI of the Pepper Center to concentrate on developing the recently created Center for Comparative Effectiveness and Cancer Outcomes, for which he is co-director. Dr. Goodwin has been continuously funded by NIH for studies of the processes and outcomes of cancer care for 25 years. He was among the first to use Tumor Registry data and then Medicare billing data to examine how patterns in the diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of cancers vary with patient characteristics and geographic location. His 300+ articles have been cited more than 14,000 times.