RTI Health Solutions Analyst Receives Prestigious Doctoral Dissertation Award

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Theresa Coles, MS, RTI Health Solutions Senior Health Outcomes Analyst, has been awarded the 2016-17 Alvin R. Tarlov & John E. Ware Jr. Doctoral Dissertation Award in Patient-Reported Outcomes by the Health Assessment Laboratory (HAL) to support her research in patient-reported outcomes.  Coles’ dissertation research evaluates sleep disturbance in adults with stage I-III colorectal cancer.

Coles will be presenting Evaluating Power in Regression Mixture Models: A Simulation Study Using Patient-reported Outcome Data October 20 at the International Society for Quality Of Life Research (ISOQOL) 23rd Annual Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. This research was derived from Coles’ dissertation in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina (UNC).

Regression Mixture Models

Regression mixture models are powerful tools that can identify groups of patients who share similar characteristics. For example, they can be used to identify and describe the characteristics of patients who experience differing treatment outcomes in a clinical trial.

The results of these analyses can be useful in designing future studies that focus on specific patient groups. Sufficiently large sample sizes are needed to compute regression mixture models, but current software packages do not provide built-in options for these types of power calculations. Coles’ research demonstrates how to conduct power analyses in SAS by leveraging information from study data that were previously collected, and simulating various scenarios. Researchers can use this technique to determine if their current study sample is sufficiently large to detect patient groups if they are present.

Her three co-authors include her dissertation chair and advisor, Dr. Bryce Reeve, Professor of Health Policy and Management and member, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center; Dr. Xianming Tan, Research Associate Professor in the Department of Biostatistics and member, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Dr. Roxanne Jensen, Assistant Professor at Georgetown University and investigator for the MY-Health study.

The Alvin R. Tarlov & John E. Ware Jr. Doctoral Dissertation Award in Patient Reported Outcomes is designed to encourage doctoral dissertations and post-doctoral research using patient reported outcomes and will help fund Coles’ dissertation activities over the coming year.


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