ICHP Faculty Featured in UF Health Cancer Center Newsletter

Betsy Shenkman, Ph.D., and François Modave, Ph.D., were among six UF faculty featured in “Calling Cancer into Question,” the cover story for the summer 2015 edition of Believe in a Cure. The article highlighted the researchers for their use of computing power, apps, big data, and large research infrastructure networks to help address some of the most pressing cancer research questions and find a cure. The UF Health Cancer Center’s seasonal newsletter documents the research and patient-centered care efforts made by UF faculty and staff.

In the article, Shenkman, professor and chair of the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, director of the Institute for Child Health Policy, and a member of the executive committee of the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium, said this statewide research infrastructure would play a vital role in cancer research in the coming years. The consortium, comprised of 22 hospitals, 914 medical practices, and more than 4,000 physicians providing care for more than 10 million people, includes a vast data trust containing millions of anonymous electronic medical records from patients across Florida.

“The OneFlorida Data Trust serves as a powerful research tool, enabling clinicians and researchers to design rigorous, high-quality clinical trials that involve diverse groups of people in real-world settings, including minorities that historically have been under-represented in clinical research,” Shenkman said.

In addition, the OneFlorida Cancer Control Alliance is a specialty network of researchers and infrastructure within the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium that focuses on cancer-related interventions. Both serve to facilitate research and to shorten the time it takes to translate research discoveries into successful treatments and health-related policies.

Modave, associate professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, discussed his work in developing a bilingual computer application that will help patients decide which colorectal cancer screening method is best for them. The app, designed for use in physicians’ offices, also will provide education about the disease to help patients better understand why they need to be screened.

“Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States after lung cancer,” said Modave. “My work aims to decrease these numbers by promoting appropriate screening guidelines, which can improve the patient’s chances of survival.”