Laura Graham, PhD
Health Services Research Economist
Stanford-Surgery Policy Improvement Research and Education Center
Laura is a health services researcher with a wide variety of experience in data management and analysis, including large multi-center health services and outcomes research studies, provider survey studies, and laboratory-oriented research. Her research interest includes surgical outcomes research, informatics, and implementation science to translate evidence into practice. The bulk of her research experience is centered around the use and analysis of large administrative datasets collected by the Veterans Health Administration. She has been involved in a multitude of Health Services Research & Development funded and unfunded studies using these administrative data to assess surgical outcomes.
Presented by: Clifford Sheckter, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Stanford University.
Bio: Dr. Cliff Sheckter is a California native, growing up in the Eastern Sierra. He graduated from UCLA with a BS in Anthropology and earned summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors. He attended USC (Keck) for medical school on an academic scholarship and graduated valedictorian with Alpha Omega Alpha honors. He fell in love with burn care while at LAC+USC and matriculated into the Stanford Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Residency in 2013. While in residency, he pursued a fellowship in Health Systems Design at Stanford’s Clinical Excellence Research Center, which ignited his interest in health services and policy research. During residency, Dr. Sheckter investigated health systems outcomes in burn care and reconstructive surgery. He pursued additional training in Surgical Critical Care at the University of Washington with a focus on trauma and burn.
Presented by: Stephanie Chao, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Pediatric Surgery, Stanford University.
Bio: Dr. Stephanie Chao, MD is a general surgery specialist in Stanford, CA. She is affiliated with medical facilities Good Samaritan Hospital and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.
Title: “Updating Your NIH Biosketch and Other Support Forms”
Bio: Kristen Davis-Lopez, MPH, CAPM is the Research Project Manager at the S-SPIRE Center. She has a background in biology as well as public health. She supports multiple principal investigators with their current funded projects as project manager. Kristen also assists with the grant submission process within the Department of Surgery acting as a liaison with the Research Management Group.
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General Surgery Former PD Resident:
Dr. Kirbi Yelorda
Dr. Jeff Choi
Dr. Wilson Alobuia
Presented by: Nathaniel Breg, BD-STEP postdoctoral fellow at the VA Palo Alto
Talk Title: “The Effects of Changing Capitated Payments on Health Care Staffing, Contracting, Utilization, and Quality: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in the Veterans Health Administration.”
Bio: Nathaniel Breg is a BD-STEP postdoctoral fellow at the VA Palo Alto, with a joint appointment with the Department of Health Policy at Stanford. His research focuses on health care provider decision-making. He completed his Ph.D. is in public policy and management with a concentration in applied economics at Carnegie Mellon University in 2022. He previously worked on projects for CMS as an analyst at RTI International.
Presented by: Marc Melcher, MD, Professor of Surgery, Abdominal Transplantation, Stanford University
Bio: I am committed to figuring out how more people can benefit from liver and kidney transplants. Patients are dying while waiting for these organs. Therefore, my clinical and research efforts are focused on increasing the number of patients whose lives can be saved with transplantation.
Presented by: Kenneth Nieser, PhD, Postdoctoral Scholar, General Surgery, Department of Surgery, Stanford University.
Talk Title: “TBD”
Bio: Ken Nieser is a postdoctoral research fellow through the Big Data-Scientist Training Enhancement Program (BD-STEP) at the Palo Alto VA and in the Department of Surgery, Stanford School of Medicine. Ken received a BA in Physics and Mathematics from Swarthmore College and a PhD in Epidemiology with a minor in Statistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During his PhD, Ken developed and applied statistical methods for improving algorithmic fairness of data analyses used to inform screening and treatment of mental illnesses. These projects included development of an approach for detecting sample subsets with differential psychological symptom patterns and a sample representation reweighting method for improving the precision of subgroup-specific treatment effect estimation.
Presented by: Dr. Morris & Dr. David Spain
Bio: Arden M. Morris, MD, MPH is Professor of Surgery and Vice-Chair for Research in the Stanford Department of Surgery. She is Director of the S-SPIRE Center, a health services research collaborative to study patient-centered care, clinical optimization, and health care economics. In her own work, Dr. Morris uses quantitative and qualitative research methods to focus on quality of and equity in cancer care. She serves as vice-chair of the Commission on Cancer’s National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer Quality Committee, American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons’ representative to the American Joint Commission on Cancer, and Chair of the ACS Cancer Surgery Standards Program Implementation and Integration Committee.
Bio: Dr. David A. Spain is the David L. Gregg, MD Professor and Chief of Acute Care Surgery. His clinical areas of specialty are emergency and elective general surgery, trauma and critical care. His research focus is assessment of clinical care, systems of care and assessment of stress response and PTSD after trauma. He is the current President of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma. He is a Councilor of the American Board of Surgery and Director of the Surgical Critical Care board. He is the editor of the textbook Scientific American’s Critical Care of the Surgical Patient. Dr. Spain is also the General Surgery Residency Program Director at Stanford.
Presented by: Alexa Pohl, Professional Development Resident, General Surgery, Stanford University.
Talk Title: “Colonoscopy-based cancer screening: transportation security and social support as social determinants of health”
Bio: Social context creates disparities in cancer care across broad domains: in screening, time to start of treatment, timely receipt of appropriate neoadjuvant, surgical, and adjuvant therapies, and in receipt of surveillance for survivors. Pragmatic, patient-centered research on the root causes of disparities – and rigorous evaluation of policies and programs to address these causes – is needed to reduce preventable cancer mortality. My longstanding interest in health-related disparities and patient-centered research arose while completing my PhD on sex-differential autism risk at the University of Cambridge. I grew uncomfortable with the fact that my research relied on the time and commitment of participants but would never improve their lives directly. As a result, I developed a community-based participatory research study on the experiences of autistic mothers, which received pilot funding from the UK’s National Institute of Healthcare Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Applied Health Research and Care East of England. For me, the natural next step was medical school, where I was surprised to find an intellectual home in surgery. The introspective and self-critiquing nature of the specialty resonated with my desire to ask pragmatic, outcome-focused questions as a researcher and my clinical desire to make a tangible improvement in patients’ lives. Ultimately, I aim to be a practicing surgeon with a productive research program on patient-centered outcomes and the effective and equitable delivery of high-quality oncologic surgical care.
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