Health Services Research

Health Science Research

The mission of health services research within the Department of Urology is two-fold:

  • To improve upon the accessibility, quality, value and consistency of healthcare for urologic diseases through carefully executed research.
  • To train students, residents and fellows in the fundamentals of health services research and prepare them for independent research careers.  

Our faculty integrates fellows and residents into our research projects, allowing them to lead their own studies while they learn from our experts. At the same time, we partner with colleagues in the Department of Biostatistics, the Institute for Medicine and Public Health, and across the Vanderbilt University Medical Center to ensure we achieve the best possible outcomes.

Our health services research attempts to improve the overall quality of urologic care in the broader population by studying how care is provided and improvement methods, health disparities and barriers to health and healthy policy.

Clinical Epidemiology Research

Clinical epidemiology research projects identify trends in the distribution of diseases and treatments in the population.

Selected Clinical Epidemiology Publications

Learn more about our clinical epidemiology projects and studies:

Quality of Care Research

We study the quality of care patients receive by measuring and identifying variations in care and opportunities to improve healthcare quality.

Selected Quality of Care Publications

Learn more about our quality of care projects and studies:

Healthcare Disparities Research

When we study healthcare disparities, we identify variations in care based on demographic characteristics – such as gender and race – to highlight opportunities for improvement in health care delivery.

Health Literacy

One area of focus for our healthcare disparities research is studying the impact of health literacy on surgical outcomes.

Investigator Kelvin Moses, MD, PhD, collaborates with Kamran Idrees and Sunil Kripalani and the Center for Effective Health Communication.

Selected Health Literacy Publications

Learn more about our health literacy studies and research:

Selected Health Disparities Publications

Learn more about our healthcare disparities studies and research:

Quality Improvement Research

Quality improvement means measuring the impact and sustainability of efforts to improve clinical care.

Jennifer Robles, MD is a graduate of the VA Quality Scholars program, making her an excellent mentor for quality improvement projects.

Topic areas for study include: 

  • Reducing peri-procedural infection 
  • Antibiotic stewardship 
  • Narcotic stewardship 
  • Reducing radiation exposure

Selected Quality Improvement Publications

Learn more about our studies and projects about quality improvement:

Patient Centered Outcomes

Our faculty studies patient-reported outcomes of treatment and survivorship, such as health-related quality of life.

Selected Patient Centered Outcomes Publications

Learn more about our studies related to patient centered outcomes:

Comparative Effectiveness Research

Comparative effectiveness research compares treatment interventions with respect to their harms and benefits.
The Comparative Effectiveness Analysis of Surgery And Radiation (CEASAR) study compares surgery, radiation and active surveillance for management of localized prostate cancer.  
The CEASAR study is a population-based, longitudinal, prospective cohort study that began in 2011. It has received funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the National Cancer Institute.

Selected Comparative Effectiveness Research Publications

Learn more about our work related to comparative effectiveness:

Health Decision Science

Our work in health decision science centers on shared decision making in prostate cancer.  We are currently funded by PCOR to study the utility of a decision tool for men with localized prostate cancer. 
The tool utilizes data from the CEASAR study to predict urinary, sexual and bowel function after treatment for men considering their treatment options. 
You can learn more about this project here.

Selected Health Decision Science Research Publications

Learn more about our work in health decision science:

Health Policy

Our faculty studies and identifies ways in which health policy influences healthcare delivery. Faculty work includes: 

Cary W. (C.J.) Stimson, Jr., MD, JD: Dr. C.J. Stimson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urology. Dr. Stimson:

  • Serves as the Medical Director of the Office of Episodes of Care in the Office of Population Health and as Senior Advisor to the Chief Health System Officer, Vanderbilt Health System.  In these roles Dr. Stimson works across Vanderbilt Health to facilitate the organization’s transition to value-based and accountable care.    
  • Has federal health policy experience in the legislative and executive branches.  
  • Served in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Health Policy Legislative Fellow to Republican and Democratic members, including Dr. Phil Roe (TN-1) and Jim Cooper (TN-5), as well as the GOP Doctors Caucus.   
  • Served in the executive branch, as the first surgeon at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), taking a leadership position as the co-chair of multiple episode-based payment policy workgroups responsible for developing federal regulations for CMMI episode payment policies.  
  • Plays a substantive role in federal health policy development as a Senior Advisor to the Front Office for the CMMI. He provides clinical, policy, and regulatory expertise related to the development of alternative payment models, including episode-based payment programs.

Selected Health Policy Research Publications

Learn more about our health policy work:

Student, Resident and Fellow Involvement

A principal mission of our health services research group is to educate tomorrow’s researchers. We provide residents and fellows with fundamental building blocks of research and mentorship, and they do the rest.

Our goal is to help trainees identify their interest areas and key questions that can alter practice or delivery of care. We help them develop the skills to become independent investigators. We often learn as much from our residents and fellows as they do from us.

Many who have worked with us go on to successful academic careers. A partial list is below:

  • Daniel Barocas, MD, MPH
    • Associate Professor of Urology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center  
  • Todd Morgan, MD 
    • Associate Professor of Urology at University of Michigan;  
  • Kirk A. (Pat) Keegan III, MD, MPH
    • Assistant Professor of Urology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Chief of Urology at Veterans Affairs Hospital, Tennessee Valley  
  • Matthew Resnick, MD, MPH, MMHC
    • Associate Professor of Urology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center 
  • Brock O’Neil, MD
    • Assistant Professor of Urology at University of Utah  
  • Kristen Scarpato, MD
    • Assistant Professor of Urology and Program Director at Vanderbilt University Medical Center  
  • Mark Tyson, MD
    • Assistant Professor of Urology at the Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, AZ.  
  • Dan Lee, MD, MS
    • Assistant Professor of Urology at the University of Pennsylvania.  
  • Christopher Anderson, MD
    • Assistant Professor of Urology at Columbia University.  
  • Aaron Laviana, MD
    • Third year Urologic Oncology fellow and MBA candidate 
    • Instructor in Clinical Urology 
  • Amy Luckenbaugh, MD
    • Second year Urologic Oncology fellow 
    • Instructor in Clinical Urology 
  • Chris Wallis, MD, PhD
    • First year Urologic Oncology fellow 
    • Instructor in Clinical Urology