Friday, September 30, 2011

Ben Goldacre: Battling Bad Science

Here is a very entertaining and well-presented 15 minute talk on fraud and abuse in medical research. The speaker, Ben Goldacre, does an excellent job. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Job opening for Research Assistant

Research Assistant
Health Promotion Research
The Department of Surgery of the University of Vermont is seeking a highly motivated
and energetic individual to support a research program in cancer epidemiology. This
program, directed by Dr. Brian Sprague, conducts research on trends in cancer incidence
and survival, risk factors for developing cancer, optimal screening practices to detect
cancer, and factors that influence survival after a cancer diagnosis. Areas of ongoing
research includes investigations of the impacts of environmental chemicals on breast
cancer risk, the influence of physical activity on survival after a cancer diagnosis, the role
of vitamin D in cancer prevention, quality of life in cancer survivors, and mathematical
modeling to evaluate the effectiveness of new breast cancer screening and diagnostic
practices. Approximately 20 hours per week with a salary range of $18,000 - 18,399.
College of Medicine
Burlington, Vermont
Alumni, Doctorate, GR
Necessary Skills:
Bachelor’s degree in the health sciences, biological sciences, or biostatistics.
Experience performing searches of scientific literature, using databases such as PubMed
or Medline.
Quantitative analysis skills, particularly with experience in the use of MS Excel and
statistical software such as SAS.
Strong written communication skills, with the ability to summarize findings in written
reports including tables, graphs, and charts.
Desirable Skills:
Previous research experience in health sciences, biological sciences, or statistics.
Experience in performing multivariable regression statistical techniques.
Ability to work independently on research projects.
Ms. Dawn M Pelkey
Business Manager
Department of Surgery
1 S. Prospect St, Rm 4425
MS 429AR4
Burlington, Vermont 05401-3444
United States
(802) 656-4187

TED comes to UVM with big DATA, BIG stories

big DATA, BIG stories
big DATA, BIG stories


Seating is limited and will be available to the first 120 registrants.
If you would like to attend this exciting event, please register now.
If you cannot attend, we will be live-streaming the event on the Complex System Center website and all talks will be archived there.

Event Schedule

Peter DoddsIntroductory Remarks
Hilary Mason
Joshua BongardThe Robot Revolution
Mike Schmidt
Gary JohnsonModelling Ecosystem Services under Uncertainty with ARIES
Hugh GaravanAddiction, the Frontal Lobes, and the Science of Willpower
Rob AxtellModeling the Economy with 150 Million Agents
Austin TroySeeing the Pattern for the Pixels: Extracting Meaning from Massive Spatial Data Sets
Marta González
Isabel KloumannMeasuring Happiness the Big Data Way: In Language and Online
Neil JohnsonBeyond Black Swans: From Irregular Warfare to Subsecond Financial Crises

October 28, 2011, from 2:00 to 5:00 pm at the Davis Auditorium in the Given Building

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Clinical Research Oriented Workshop (CROW) Meeting: Sept 22, 2011

Present: Kairn Kelley, Amanda Kennedy, Connie van Eeghen

1. Check in: We surveyed ourselves about where we would like these CROW notes to appear on the web. Our plan is to continue to post them on the CTS Blogspot and ask Jen to put a link to the Blogspot under the CTS website, under the Current Students tab. Amanda is a resource for website changes and questions.

2. Kairn: Update on Academic Work

a. Kairn’s progress from 2008-2010 has met the program requirements; 2010-11 is noted as a “lost year.” To date, Kairn has 40 academic credits (3 in process, 32 left to go), has reframed but maintained the study question, cleaned data, completed an unstructured literature review, and built many helpful relationships. Still to be determined is whether the teaching requirement was met, TBD by Alan. This semester includes one course (NH302 “Quality in Health Care”) and the comprehensive exam in December (or January).

b. At last update with Ben, ready to produce an outline for the dissertation study. Still to do:

i. Set up Dissertation Committee: Ben; Liz Chen; Donna Rizzo (complex systems), acting as outside chair; Betsy Hoza (psychology)

1. Donna Rizzo can support looking at complex systems tools; Betsy Hoza can support looking at dichotic words testing in kids with ADHD

2. Critical success factor: do not let the committee distract you. Bring an outline of exactly what you want from the committee: plan, discussion, and outcomes.

ii. Develop a research plan that builds on a promising relationship and strengthens appropriate skills. However, each relationship must support the end goal of completing the dissertation.

1. Clinically based research

2. Informatics

iii. Develop an education plan: bioinformatics practicum, neuro-course

c. What is the Critical Path? Somewhat based on financial support. A fellowship adds another year to the process (at least), but with the data collected in 2008 there is a reason for moving forward expeditiously.

i. Academic: confirm academic credits with the Graduate College via Jen

1. Completed 12/20 research credits

2. Completed all core courses

3. Other courses to consider as electives in the future: neuroanatomy; practicum with Liz (based on committee advice)

4. Need 8 research credits and another 24 credits (course or research); go heavy on the research

5. At a rate of 6 credits/semester: ~5 semesters – could be completed by 2013

6. Decision made: Graduation date will be in December 2013

ii. Comps Committee – plan for first meeting by end of Oct/early Nov. Need three members (not Ben or Amanda). Will request: Charlie, Peter, Rycki. Amanda to contact all three today. Plan to go to the first meeting with the comps question. (It must be distinct enough from your dissertation to be considered a different research topic. Use FINER criteria.)

iii. Dissertation Committee – approve dissertation question by 12/15/11. Schedule the first committee meeting by Oct 15 (for a date by Dec 15). Kairn will send out the email by Sept 23.

1. Development of study question still to come; to be discussed at upcoming CROW session on Oct 13. Be specific; is it fine tuned enough to be published in an academic journal? (The requirement is to be able to produce one or more publishable articles.)

2. Plan for review article in 2012.

d. “The only good dissertation is a done dissertation.” Post this on the wall where you work!

3. Next Workshop Meeting(s): Thursday, 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., at Given Courtyard Level 4

a. Sept 29: Rodger – ??? (Ben teaching “Cell to Society”) (Amanda late)

b. Oct 6: Connie – qualitative analysis (Ben out)

c. Oct 13: Kairn: study question (with one or more version already written out)

d. Oct 20: (no Amanda)

e. Future agenda to consider:

i. Ben: budgeting exercise for grant applications

ii. Rodger: Mixed methods article; article on Behavior’s Influence on Medical Conditions (unpublished)

iii. Future: Review of different types of journal articles (lit review, case study, original article, letter to editor…), when each is appropriate, tips on planning/writing (Abby)

Recorded by Connie van Eeghen; edited by Kairn Kelley

Friday, September 16, 2011

Research Commercialization Webinar Series

The UVM Office of Technology Commercialization
is pleased to present

The Research Commercialization and SBIR Center of the National Center for
Entrepreneurial Technology Transfer (NCET2)

Research Commercialization
Webinar Series

The Research Commercialization and SBIR Center of the National Center for
Entrepreneurial Technology Transfer (NCET2) is offering a free introductory Research
Commercialization Webinar Series starting September 20th at 1PM. You can learn
more about the agenda of the series here and register for the series at your own
computer here The Research Commercialization Course is recommended for all
science, engineering and medical researchers in public or private research institutions
(e.g., grad students, post-docs, and faculty). This is an indispensable course for
S&E grad students looking for jobs in the next 6-18 months in this competitive
employment environment. Please forward to your students.

As an alternative to sitting at your desk, join your colleagues and the UVM Office
of Technology Commercialization (OTC) in the HSRF 200 conference room for one
or all of the Research Commercialization Series sessions on the "big screen". After
each session a representative of the OTC and of the Vermont Center for Emerging
Technologies (VCET) will be there to answer questions and for more discussion.

Questions? Please contact Beth Hill at OTC at or at 802-656-8780.

Class Schedule:

Lecture 1: The Importance of Commercializing
Research. Tues, September 20, 2011, 1:00 pm to
2:30 pm

Lecture 2: Patents, Copyright, Trademarks and
Trade Secrets. Thurs, September 22, 2011, 1:00 pm
to 2:30 pm

Lecture 3: Employment and Consulting
Agreements. Tues, September 27, 2011, 1:00 pm to
2:30 pm

Lecture 4: Tech Transfer and Licensing
Agreements. Tues, October 4, 2011, 1:00 pm to
2:30 pm

Lecture 5: Small Business Innovation Research
(SBIR) Grants
Thurs, October 6, 2011, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm

Lecture 6: The Research-Intensive Company and
Early Stage Funding
Tues, October 11, 2011, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm

Lecture 7: Partnering with SBIR Companies/Large
Tues, October 18, 2011, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Clinical Research Oriented Workshop (CROW) Meeting: Sept 8, 2011

Present: Kairn Kelley, Amanda Kennedy, Rodger Kessler

1. Kairn: Semester Plan

a. Kairn conducted an academic advising session, receiving helpful support and advice, such as "don't make things more complicated than they need to be" and "understand the requirements and check off the boxes." There was also some discussion about barriers to progress

2. Next Workshop Meeting(s): Thursday, 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., at Given Courtyard Level 4

a. Sept 15: Connie - TBD

b. Sept 22: (Rodger out)

c. Sept 29: Rodger – ???

d. Future agenda to consider:

i. Ben: budgeting exercise for grant applications

ii. Rodger: Mixed methods article; article on Behavior’s Influence on Medical Conditions (unpublished)

Recorder: K. Kelley

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Faculty Publication

Congratulations to former fellow Nancy Morris RN, PhD, Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts on this recent publication. Her co-authors include current CCTS faculty Charlie MacLean and Ben Littenberg as well as Steve Grant, MD and Allen Repp, MD from the Department of Medicine and the Fletcher Allen Hospitalist Service.

Morris NS, Grant S, Repp A,  MacLean C, Littenberg B. Prevalence of Limited Health Literacy and Compensatory Strategies Used by Hospitalized Patients. Nursing Research 2011; 60:361-6

Background: Limited health literacy is associated with higher rates of hospitalization. However, the prevalence and etiology of limited health literacy among hospitalized adults and the compensatory strategies used are not known.
Objectives: The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence and demographic associations of limited health literacy in hospitalized patients and to identify the perceived etiology and use of any compensatory strategies.
Method: A cross-sectional study was implemented of a consecutive sample of hospitalized adults admitted to the Internal Medicine Hospitalist Service at a 440-bed academic medical center (n = 103) in Vermont. Health literacy was determined using the short form of the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults. Demographic data, perceived etiology of difficulties in reading or understanding health information, and use of compensatory strategies were self-reported.
Results: Sixty percent of medical inpatients have limited health literacy. Thirty-six percent of patients with limited health literacy attribute this to difficulties with vision. Sixty-two percent of all medical inpatients rely on help from a health professional, and 23% look to a family member when faced with challenges in reading or understanding health information.
Discussion: The prevalence of limited health literacy is high in hospitalized medical patients. Further study of the timing and methods of communicating information to hospitalized patients is warranted. Assuring that the patient and/or family understand the postdischarge plans will be an important step to improving quality and safety.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Clinical Research Oriented Workshop (CROW) Meeting: Sept 1, 2011

Present: Amanda Kennedy, Rodger Kessler, Ben Littenberg, Connie van Eeghen

1. Check in: All present survived the flood waters pretty well; a grateful and lucky group

2. Calendar for Fall Semester: the Workshop will change its meeting schedule this year to Thursday afternoons, from 12:30 – 2:00 in the fourth floor conference room in Given South. Connie will notify Jen, who will make sure that CTS students are aware and know that they are invited.

3. Connie: R03 Grant Preliminary Outline

a. Connie and Rodger described a grant outline in response to the “implementation and dissemination” announcement by NIH, which is, unusually, not housed in a single, specific institute. This application will be directed to NIMH, with deadlines in October or February. Connie reviewed the 16 elements of the grant proposal and received specific feedback on the following sections:

b. Project Summary: a critical piece of the application, this is like the abstract and requires attention. State here, and throughout application, that “by completing this pilot, the researchers intend to widen the application of the toolkit to implement and disseminate successful methods of integrating mental health, substance abuse, and health behavior services into medical practices through continued research in an R01 grant”

c. Project Narrative: a “low stress” section, read by the lay public when listed. Sections typically include:

i. Statement of the problem

ii. Solution

iii. Relevance

d. Personnel: Based on the size of the grant, must include Rodger and Connie (15% each) and may include a qualitative faculty expert (2.5%)k and a senior researcher (Ben at 2.5%). Connie will contact Nick Brightman at Sponsored Project Administration to arrange for a spreadsheet with the requested personnel.

e. Research Plan:

i. Specific aims – limit to two but Connie has three to start with:

1. Refine existing manual (short time frame; few resources needed)

2. Implement manual

a. Identify the two FAHC sites (identify with Rodger’s help: Milton, S. Burlington…)

b. Prepare sites/staff

c. Execute (list tasks; see dissertation procedural manual which will also be attached as an appendix)

3. Evaluate results: what was learned

ii. Research strategy – six page limit organized as follows:

1. Significance: half to ¾ page, not more than full page of lit review, references, problem (e.g. gap in literature), why important, conceptual model, use of qualitative (or mixed) method including basis (e.g. grounded theory). This is effectively a marketing plan; think about referencing Larry Green with “mental health, substance abuse, and health behavior serving as a lab for QI” (Rodger)

2. Innovation: 1 or 2 paragraphs indicating why this is novel; why this is a contribution. Explain why the field is changing; reference Larry Green’s call for collaborative care implementation as a means to informing the diffusion of newly proven techniques, accelerating and winnowing the most effective methods of uptake in practice.

3. Approach: two paragraphs presenting:

a. Preliminary studies done at GHC, effectively piloting this methodology to produce what has been learned so far (explain this); also implemented at DVHC in a prior study at a primary care site for a medical QI project

b. Overview of study design: subjects, method, time line, etc. in support of stated aims. Reference Rodger’s circular on mixed methods approach. Anticipate and respond to problems, e.g. practices may drop from the study but there are backups, staff may not consent but the practice may still participate, the toolkit will undergo adjustment in the course of implementation and changes will be noted.

iii. Inclusion enrollment report is needed; Rodger will send Connie an example

iv. Human subjects section is needed; may be able to use an existing protocol or state that a new protocol is pending approval and that similar protocols currently active have been approved

v. Budget – annual (double these for 2 years)

1. Include key personnel and obtain Nick’s spreadsheet, which includes his routing worksheet and budget (5 tabs)

a. Rodger, 15%

b. Connie, 15%

c. Ben, 2.5%

d. Cynthia C-P, 2.5%

2. Supplies (printing - $500)

3. Practice incentive ($500)

4. Travel to sites ($500)

5. Conference ($1500)

f. Letters of support – write these letters for them and ask them to modify/sign:

i. Tom Peterson, MD, Family Medicine

ii. John King, MD, Family Medicine

iii. Medical directors of each site participating

iv. Claudia Berger, MD, Given – support of past work

v. Ben Littenberg, MD, CTS – support of past and future work

vi. Connie van Eeghen (Rodger is the applicant, remember) – how delighted she is, how well prepared Rodger is to conduct this study, and how important the implications of its results

vii. John Brumsted, MD, Interim CEO of FAHC – support

viii. Craig Jones, MD, Blueprint – support

g. Appendix: Procedural manual for Connie’s dissertation, which forms the ground work for the toolkit

h. Draft narrative sections above, without regard to page length, and return for more feedback. It would be helpful to accomplish this in time for a Friday seminar presentation, at which the participants will be asked to take the role of Study Section.

4. Next Workshop Meeting(s): Thursday, 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., at Given Courtyard Level 4

a. Sept 8: Kairn Kelley – specific project planning and communication plan for next 3 months (Ben late, Connie out)

b. Sept 15: (Rodger out)

c. Sept 22: (Rodger out

d. Sept 29: Rodger – ???

e. Future agenda to consider:

i. Ben: budgeting exercise for grant applications

ii. Rodger: Mixed methods article; article on Behavior’s Influence on Medical Conditions (unpublished)

iii. Future: Review of different types of journal articles (lit review, case study, original article, letter to editor…), when each is appropriate, tips on planning/writing (Abby)

Recorder: C. van Eeghen

Friday, September 2, 2011

Library Workshops for Clinical Researchers

The Dana Medical Library is offering a series of workshops aimed at graduate students, junior faculty, fellows, and clinical researchers. The workshop will run September 14 through October 27, 2011. Participants will learn about software, web sites, and databases that facilitate finding, managing, and publishing the results of scholarly research.

When: September 14-October 27, 2011
Where: Dana Medical Library’s computer classroom
When: Seven consecutive Wednesdays from 12 noon-1 pm, repeated each Thursday at the same time.

September 14 and 15: Pre-workshop Orientation.

September 21 and 22: Advanced literature searching skills.

September 28 and 29: Sources and databases beyond PubMed.

October 5 and 6: Managing references with Endnote.

October 12 and 13: Images: creating, finding, and using them.

October 19 and 20: Issues in scholarly publishing.

October 26 and 27: Identifying funding for your research.

Through a combination of lectures and hands-on exercises, participants will learn about software, web sites, and databases that facilitate finding, managing, and publishing the results of scholarly research. Topics include the literature review process, keeping up to date with the scholarly research, and changes in the world of scholarly publishing.
Space is limited. To register for on or more of these sessions, please contact Donna O’Malley,>, 656-4415