My research applies health services methods to understand the experiences of patients with cancer and to answer questions about the effectiveness of cancer care. I am also interested in evaluating how intensive cancer therapy affects outcomes other than survival, such as quality of life and financial well-being. I primarily focus on the hematologic malignancies, studying the impact of these diseases and their treatment from diagnosis to the end of life. Specific interests have included the impact of direct-to-consumer advertising in cancer care, utility of surveillance imaging for patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, effects of delays in diagnosis for blood cancers, treatment disparities for patients with multiple myeloma, and quality of end of life care for blood cancers. I have received a longitudinal grant from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to study the effectiveness of stem cell transplantation for older patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Another project aims to characterize the financial burden experienced by blood cancer patients who undergo transplantation, and whether an increase in that burden is associated with compromised outcomes. I also have worked to expand and improve the tools available for outcomes research in hematologic oncology. For example, I developed a new disease-specific measure of quality of life for patients with MDS (the “QUALMS”), and have created an MDS prognostic scoring system for use with the SEER-Medicare dataset.
My most recent initiatives focus on understanding how to optimize care for older and potentially frail patients with blood cancers. In 2015, I was awarded a project grant from the American Cancer Society to compare the effectiveness of treatments for older patients with MDS. I also manage a specialized clinical and research program at Dana-Farber to assess the impact of frailty on patients with blood cancers, provide embedded geriatric management when appropriate, and supply samples to basic science colleagues engaged in studies of this population.