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Program Leaders

Debra L. Friedman, M.D.
David Penson, M.D., M.P.H.
Pierre Massion, M.D.

Cancer Health Outcomes and Control

The Cancer Health Outcomes and Control Research Program (CO) is a new program in the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) with overall focus to decrease the burden of cancer across the entire care continuum, including:

  • The healthy and at-risk
  • Cancer patients undergoing therapy
  • Cancer survivors

We will achieve this by developing a well-integrated program of systematic, hypothesis-driven, interdisciplinary research, education and advocacy linked to public health and clinical care. In pursuing these objectives, CO is closely allied with other programs within the VICC, including our population science partner program, Cancer Epidemiology (CE) and the basic and clinical science programs to facilitate inter-programmatic collaboration. In addition, we have extensive collaborations with community partners, including Meharry Medical College (MMC), Tennessee State University (TSU), federally qualified community health centers and oncologists at our affiliate institutions, through the Vanderbilt Health Affiliate Network (VHAN) and with other academic centers to further impact in the community and foster multi-institution research.

Scientific Goals

The scientific goals of the CO Research Program center upon three somewhat overlapping themes along the cancer control continuum:

  • Prevention and Early Detection
  • Treatment-Related Outcomes
  • Survivorship and Palliative Care

These goals will be met by addressing the following specific aims:

  • To establish and further develop population and community-based resources for research into prevention, short and long-term outcomes of cancer
  • To identify environmental, sociobehavioral and genetic factors which may influence the short- and long-term outcomes of cancer
  • To identify the incidence, prevalence, spectrum, and severity of adverse long-term patient-centered outcomes following cancer diagnosis and treatment and develop interventions to prevent or ameliorate such outcomes
  • To assess the magnitude and determinants of disparities in cancer control and outcomes associated with age, race, gender, geography and other group characteristics and develop interventions to decrease such disparities
  • To translate our population-based research to the clinic and the community to improve the lives of patients and families living with through and after cancer

Program Leaders

Debra L. Friedman, M.D., M.S., is the E. Bronson Ingram Chair in Pediatric Oncology, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, the Director for the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and the Director of the REACH for Survivorship Program at VICC. Since her arrival at Vanderbilt in 2008, she has served as the co-leader of the VICC Cancer Epidemiology, Prevention and Control Research Program (CEPC), with Dr. Wei Zheng (See Section 1.3). Dr. Friedman was previously faculty at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where she served as the first Director of Survivorship and the Principal Investigator of the Livestrong Survivorship Center of Excellence. Dr. Friedman’s research interests lie in supportive oncology during cancer therapy, in the long-term outcomes for cancer survivors, as well as in the design of novel therapeutic protocols for childhood cancer, designed to decrease adverse long-term effects of therapy. She is an internationally recognized expert in cancer survivorship, participating in projects evaluating best practices and models of care. She is investigating a diverse group of physiologic and psychosocial short and long-term outcomes among cancer survivors. Dr. Friedman has leadership roles in survivorship, pediatric, adolescent and young adult oncology in the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). She is currently the Principal or co-investigator of six NCI, PCORI or foundation-funded grants examining outcomes for cancer survivors, as well as an NCI-funded T32 training grant in pediatric oncology. Dr. Friedman serves on the Internal Scientific Advisory Committee of the Meharry Medical College (MMC)/VICC Partnership (U54/NCI: Adunyah, /Moses/Whalen, PIs), bringing expertise in the area of cancer control and survivorship to that partnership and cancer health disparities back to VICC.

David F. Penson, M.D., M.P.H., is the Hamilton and Howard Chair in Urologic Oncology, Professor of Urologic Surgery and Medicine and Director of the Center of Surgical Quality and Outcomes Research. Dr. Penson’s research efforts focus on the assessment of long-term patient-centered outcomes in prostate cancer (PCa). He is specifically focused on the comparative effectiveness of therapies for localized PCa. He is the principal investigator of two of the largest population-based prospective cohorts of prostate cancer survivors in the world. The Prostate Cancer Outcomes Study (PCOS), funded by NCI, included roughly 3600 men diagnosed with PCa in 1994-1995 followed prospectively for 15 years. The Comparative Effectiveness Analysis of Surgery and Radiation (CEASAR) study enrolled 3700 men, of whom approximately 25% are racial and ethnic minorities, diagnosed in 2011-12 and was funded by three grants from the US Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ) and the Patients-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Both grants include extensive patient-reported outcomes, such as health-related quality of life, as endpoints. In addition, Dr. Penson is a co-PI or co-investigator on two additional NCI and CDC-funded studies focused on cancer control and outcomes in PCa. Dr. Penson serves in a number of national leadership roles related to research and health care policy, including the Health Services Outcomes and Delivery (HSOD) study section of NIH CSR and the National Advisory Council for AHRQ. He is the current Chair for Health Policy for the American Urological Association and a past member of the American College of Surgeon’s Commission on Cancer.

Pierre P. Massion, M.D., is an Ingram Professor of Cancer Research. He is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Professor of Cancer Biology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Massion has worked in the field of lung cancer biology, early detection and therapeutics for 16 years. He is a co-director of the Translational Research andInterventional Oncology Research Program at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. He has over 80 publications in the areas of lung cancer development, role of oncogenes in the progression of lung tumor cells and innovative strategies towards the development of molecular biomarkers for early detection of lung cancer and intermediate endpoint biomarkers of response to chemoprevention. He served as Chief of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine section at the Nashville VA Medical Center between 2007-2012. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Internal Medicine and in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. He is the principal investigator of the Vanderbilt SPORE in lung cancer and of the Vanderbilt Clinical Validation Center sponsored by the EDRN to validate candidate biomarkers of lung cancer. He is also co-PI of two DoD grants, one of which offers lung cancer screening across 12 VA and military hospitals to validate candidate biomarkers of risk and of diagnosis for lung cancer. Dr. Massion has mentored over 19 postdoctoral fellows, 11 graduate students and 20 undergraduate students. He is committed to pursuing innovative strategies to deepen the understanding of lung cancer development and progression. His laboratory applies novel genomic and proteomic technologies to biological specimens to address questions related to the identification and validation of molecular determinants of disease diagnosis, progression, prognosis, and intermediate endpoint biomarkers of response to chemopreventive strategies. He is the PI of 6 active clinical studies - He is the Chair of the Lung Cancer Cooperative group in the EDRN and the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the largest non-profit lung cancer foundation, LUNGevity. He is a contributing member to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network related Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Guidelines committee.

Program Members

  • Barkin, Shari, M.D.
    Professor of Pediatrics ; William K. Warren Foundation Professor of Medicine; Professor of Health Policy; Director of the Division of General Pediatrics; Director of Pediatric Obesity Research; General Pediatrics
  • Barocas, Daniel A., M.D., M.P.H.
    Associate Professor of Surgery; Associate Professor of Medicine; Urologic Surgeon/Oncologist
  • Blot, William J., Ph.D.
    Associate Director for Population-Based Research; Professor of Medicine (Epidemiology); Cancer Epidemiologist
  • Compas, Bruce E., Ph.D.
    Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Psychology and Human Development; Researcher
  • Dittus, Robert S., M.D., M.P.H.
    Albert & Bernard Werthan Professor of Medicine (General Internal Medicine and Public Health); Associate Vice-Chancellor for Public Health and Health Care; Senior Associate Dean for Population Health Sciences; Director, Institute for Medicine and Public Health; Researcher
  • Esbenshade, Adam J., M.D., M.S.C.I.
    Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Pediatric Hematology and Oncology)
  • Foster Akard, Terrah, Ph.D., R.N., CPNP
    Assistant Professor of Nursing
  • Friedman, Debra L., M.D.
    Co-Leader, Cancer Health Outcomes and Control Research Program; E. Bronson Ingram Professor of Pediatric Oncology; Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Pediatric Hematology and Oncology); Director, Pediatric Hematology and Oncology; Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist
  • Gilmer, Mary Jo, Ph.D., M.B.A., R.N.
    Professor of Nursing; Researcher
  • Graves, John A., Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Medicine (Preventive Medicine); Assistant Professor of Health Policy
  • Griffith, Derek M., Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of Medicine, Health and Society ; Associate Professor of General Internal Medicine and Public Health; Associate Professor of Health Policy; Associate Professor of Sociology; Researcher
  • Hargreaves, Margaret, Ph.D.
    Professor of Internal Medicine, Meharry Medical College ; Researcher
  • Hull, Pamela C., M.A., Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Medicine (Epidemiology)
  • Massion, Pierre, M.D.
    Co-Leader, Cancer Health Outcomes and Control Research Program ; Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Medicine; Ingram Professor of Cancer Research; Professor of Medicine (Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care) and Cancer Biology; Director, Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Initiative; Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Doctor
  • Moses, Kelvin A., M.D., Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Urologic Surgery; Urologic Surgeon/Oncologist
  • Pal, Tuya, M.D.
    Associate Director of Cancer Health Disparities; Ingram Associate Professor of Cancer Research; Associate Professor of Medicine; Cancer Geneticist
  • Penson, David F., M.D., M.P.H.
    Chair, Department of Urologic Surgery ; Paul V. Hamilton, MD and Virginia E. Howd Professor of Urologic Oncology; Co-Leader, Cancer Health Outcomes and Control Research Program ; Director, Center for Surgical Quality and Outcomes Research; Urologic Surgeon/Oncologist
  • Resnick, Matthew J., M.D.
    Assistant Professor of Urologic Surgery; Urologic Surgeon/Oncologist
  • Ridner, Sheila H., M.S.H.S.A. ,M.S.N., Ph.D., R.N.
    Martha Rivers Ingram Professor of Nursing; Researcher
  • Rothman, Russell L., M.D., MPP
    Professor of Medicine; Professor of Pediatrics; Professor of Health Policy; Director, Vanderbilt Center for Health Services Research
  • Schlundt, David, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of Psychology; Researcher
  • Tindle, Hilary A., M.D., M.P.H.
    Associate Professor of Medicine; Founding Director of ViTAL, the Vanderbilt Center for Tobacco, Addictions and Lifestyle; Cancer Epidemiologist
  • Weinger, Matthew B. , M.D., M.S.
    Professor of Anesthesiology, Biomedical Informatics, and Medical Education ; Vice Chair for Academic Affairs in the Department of Anesthesiology; Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Research and Innovation in Systems Safety; Director of Research for the Center for Experiential Learning and Assessment ; Researcher
  • West, James D., Ph.D.
    Professor of Medicine; Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Wilkins, Consuelo H., M.D., M.S.C.I
    Executive Director, Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance; Associate Professor of Medicine

Program Leaders

Debra L. Friedman, M.D.
David Penson, M.D., M.P.H.
Pierre Massion, M.D.