Anand Shah

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (37)99.8 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We tested three hypotheses: (1) blacks with pancreatic cancer are recommended surgical resection less often than whites; (2) when recommended surgical resection, blacks refuse surgery more often than whites; and lastly, (3) racial differences in refusal of surgical resection have decreased over time. A retrospective cohort study was conducted on patients with potentially resectable, nonmetastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry from 1988 to 2009. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to assess whether differences in the proportion of whites versus blacks refusing surgery among patients recommended for resection changed over time. A total of 35,944 patients were included; most were white (87.6 %). After adjusting for covariates including tumor stage, pancreatic cancer resection was less often recommended to and performed in blacks compared with whites (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.88, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.82-0.95; aOR 0.83, 95 % CI 0.76-0.91, respectively). Blacks also underwent surgical resection less often when surgery was recommended (aOR 0.73, 95 % CI 0.64-0.85). Racial disparities in surgery recommendation and its performance did not decrease from 1988 to 2009. In multivariable adjusted analyses, blacks refused surgery more often when it was recommended (aOR in 1988 4.75, 95 % CI 2.51-9.01); this disparity decreased over time (aOR 0.93 per year, 95 % CI 0.89-0.97). Although racial disparities in pancreatic cancer surgery refusal have diminished over the past two decades, significant disparities in the recommendation and performance of surgery persist. It is likely that both provider- and patient-level factors have a substantial impact on surgery recommendation and its acceptance. The identification of such factors is critical to design a framework for eliminating disparities in cancer-directed surgery for pancreatic cancer.
    Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery 09/2013; · 2.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The traditional treatment for clearly operable (CO) patients with stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is lobectomy, with wedge resection (WR) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) serving as alternatives in marginally operable (MO) patients. Given an aging population with an increasing prevalence of screening, it is likely that progressively more people will be diagnosed with stage I NSCLC, and thus it is critical to compare the cost-effectiveness of these treatments. METHODS: A Markov model was created to compare the cost-effectiveness of SBRT with WR and lobectomy for MO and CO patients, respectively. Disease, treatment, and toxicity data were extracted from the literature and varied in sensitivity analyses. A payer (Medicare) perspective was used. RESULTS: In the base case, SBRT (MO cohort), SBRT (CO cohort), WR, and lobectomy were associated with mean cost and quality-adjusted life expectancies of $42,094/8.03, $40,107/8.21, $51,487/7.93, and $49,093/8.89, respectively. In MO patients, SBRT was the dominant and thus cost-effective strategy. This result was confirmed in most deterministic sensitivity analyses as well as probabilistic sensitivity analysis, in which SBRT was most likely cost-effective up to a willingness-to-pay of more than $500,000/quality-adjusted life year. For CO patients, lobectomy was the cost-effective treatment option in the base case (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $13,216/quality-adjusted life year) and in nearly every sensitivity analysis. CONCLUSIONS: SBRT was nearly always the most cost-effective treatment strategy for MO patients with stage I NSCLC. In contrast, for patients with CO disease, lobectomy was the most cost-effective option. Cancer 2013. © 2013 American Cancer Society.
    Cancer 05/2013; · 5.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: To analyze the location of metastatic lymph nodes in seminoma patients relative to vascular and bony anatomy and conventional radiation fields. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cross-sectional scans of 90 seminoma patients with infradiaphragmatic adenopathy were analyzed. The position of each node respective to vascular anatomy was transferred to a standardized template. Conventional radiation fields were overlaid on the template and locations of metastatic nodes were assessed. RESULTS: One hundred and forty-five nodes were radiographically positive. Eighty-four percent, 9%, and 7% of nodes were located in the para-aortic, common iliac, and pelvic regions, respectively. Ninety-nine percent of nodes were within a 2.5cm lateral and 2.1cm anterior expansion of the aorta inferior to T12/L1. No radiographically positive nodes were identified within the renal hilum or superior to L1 in left-sided seminomas. For right-sided seminomas, no radiographically positive nodes were superior to L2. Three percent of all radiographically positive nodes would have been located outside of conventional and modified fields. CONCLUSIONS: Infradiaphragmatic nodal metastases from a contemporary cohort of seminoma patients localized to a smaller area than is targeted by conventional radiation fields. Modified treatment fields based on vascular, rather than bony, anatomy are smaller and may allow for a significant decrease in normal tissue irradiation and toxicity.
    Radiotherapy and Oncology 01/2013; · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Subjects of Chinese heritage have been found to participate in clinical research at lower rates than other groups despite growing in numbers as a population. While much research has examined research participants' motivation, there has not been a comprehensive synthesis of this information with respect to participants of Chinese descent. We sought to identify the factors that promote and hinder participation in clinical research among participants of Chinese heritage. We conducted a systematic review of the literature in Pubmed, OpenJGATE, SCIRUS, and COCHRANE databases and performed a meta-synthesis of retrieved articles. We extracted qualitative data, such as quotes to identify emerging themes. We identified five studies that met our selection criteria. Of them, only one (1/5) was conducted in China while other studies involved Chinese emigrants in USA (3/5) and Singapore (1/5). Participants from China were similar to emigrants with regard to factors that either promoted or decreased research participation. Four studies reported data exclusively on Chinese subjects. Three of the five studies involved qualitative interviews while the others were conducted using a survey design. Six themes favoring research participation were identified: Personal Benefit to Participants, Financial Incentives, Participant Sense of Altruism, Family or Physician Recommendations, Advertisements, and Convenience to the Participant. Five factors were seen as a barrier to participation in clinical trials: Mistrust of Researchers, Language Barrier, Lack of Financial and Other Support, Cultural and Social Barriers, Lack of Knowledge about Clinical Trials. Chinese heritage clinical research participants value personal benefit, financial incentives, the ability to help others, recommendations of others, advertisements, and convenience when considering clinical research participation. In addition, the establishment of trust and addressing knowledge deficits are important factors to them. Investigators seeking to optimize enrolment in these populations should incorporate these findings into their study design and subject handouts.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(1):e51328. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Many patients considering prostate cancer (PCa) treatment options report seeking proton beam therapy (PBT) based in part on information readily available on the Internet. There is, however, potential for considerable variation in Internet health information (IHI). We thus evaluated the characteristics, quality, and accuracy of IHI on PBT for PCa. METHODS AND MATERIALS: We undertook a qualitative research study using snowball-purposive sampling in which we evaluated the top 50 Google search results for "proton prostate cancer." Quality was evaluated on a 5-point scale using the validated 15-question DISCERN instrument. Accuracy was evaluated by comparing IHI with the best available evidence. RESULTS: Thirty-seven IHI websites were included in the final sample. These websites most frequently were patient information/support resources (46%), were focused exclusively on PBT (51%), and had a commercial affiliation (38%). There was a significant difference in quality according to the type of IHI. Substantial inaccuracies were noted in the study sample compared with best available or contextual evidence. CONCLUSIONS: There are shortcomings in quality and accuracy in consumer-oriented IHI on PBT for PCa. Providers must be prepared to educate patients how to critically evaluate IHI related to PBT for PCa to best inform their treatment decisions.
    International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 12/2012; · 4.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To describe the knowledge of, and attitudes toward, out-of-pocket expenses (OOPE) associated with prostate cancer treatment and the influence of OOPE on the treatment choices of patients with prostate cancer. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We undertook a qualitative research study for which we recruited patients with clinically localized prostate cancer. Patients answered a series of open-ended questions during a semistructured interview and completed a questionnaire about the physician's role in discussing OOPE, the burden of OOPE, the effect of OOPE on treatment decisions, and previous knowledge of OOPE. RESULTS: A total of 41 (26 white and 15 black) eligible patients were enrolled from the urology and radiation oncology practices of the University of Pennsylvania. Qualitative assessment revealed 5 major themes: (a) "my insurance takes care of it"; (b) "health is more important than cost"; (c) "I did not look into it"; (d) "I cannot afford it but would have chosen the same treatment"; and (e) "It is not my doctor's business." Most patients (38 of 41, 93%) reported that they would not have chosen a different treatment even if they had known the actual OOPE of their treatment. Patients who reported feeling burdened by OOPE were socioeconomically heterogeneous, and their treatment choices remained unaffected. Only 2 patients stated they knew "a lot" about the likely OOPE for different prostate cancer treatments before choosing their treatment. CONCLUSION: Among insured patients with prostate cancer treated at a large academic medical center, few had knowledge of OOPE before making treatment choices.
    Urology 10/2012; · 2.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES:: The objectives of this investigation were to (1) compare short-term outcomes for patients undergoing primary gastric bypass surgery with those who had gastric bypass procedures performed as a rescue procedure after failed gastric banding and (2) study trends in the frequency of reoperations between 2005 and 2008 for patients who had prior gastric banding. BACKGROUND:: The use of gastric banding to treat obesity has increased drastically in the United States. However, the frequency of reoperations related to gastric banding and associated short-term outcomes are unknown. METHODS:: The Nationwide Inpatient Sample from 2005 to 2008 was used for this population-based study. Descriptive statistics as well as unadjusted and risk-adjusted generalized linear models were performed to assess adverse short-term outcomes. RESULTS:: A total of 66,303 patients were included in the analysis, 63,171 (95.3%) underwent a primary gastric bypass procedure and 3132 patients (4.7%) underwent a gastric band-related reoperation. Patients undergoing a gastric bypass procedure concomitant with a band-related reoperation had more intraoperative complications [risk-adjusted odds ratio (OR): 2.3, P = 0.002] and postoperative complications (risk-adjusted OR: 8.0, P < 0.001), were at higher risk of reoperations/reinterventions (risk-adjusted OR: 6.0, P < 0.001), increased length of hospital stay (adjusted mean difference: 0.89 days, P < 0.001), and higher hospital charges (adjusted mean difference: $13,257, P < 0.001). The number of gastric band-related reoperations increased from 579 in 2005 to 1132 in 2008 (196%). CONCLUSIONS:: The number of reoperations after gastric banding is rapidly increasing in the United States. To our knowledge, this is the first population-based study providing strong evidence that patients undergoing gastric bypass procedure after failed gastric banding have more adverse outcomes than those undergoing gastric bypass alone. The broad indication for gastric banding should be reaffirmed for the US population.
    Annals of surgery 09/2012; · 7.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Among patients undergoing urgent surgery for left-sided diverticulitis, those admitted on weekends vs weekdays have higher rates of Hartmann procedure and adverse outcomes. Analysis of data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample between January 2002 and December 2008. Unadjusted and risk-adjusted generalized linear regression models were used. Academic research. Data on patients undergoing urgent surgery for acute diverticulitis. Rates of Hartmann procedure vs primary anastomosis, complications, length of hospital stay, and total hospital charges. In total, 31 832 patients were included; 7066 (22.2%) were admitted on weekends, and 24 766 (77.8%) were admitted on weekdays. The mean (SD) age of patients was 60.8 (15.3) years, and 16 830 (52.9%) were female. A Hartmann procedure was performed in 4580 patients (64.8%) admitted on weekends compared with 13 351 patients (53.9%) admitted on weekdays (risk-adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.57; P < .001). In risk-adjusted analyses, patients admitted on weekends had significantly higher risk for any postoperative complication (OR, 1.10; P = .005) and nonroutine hospital discharge (OR, 1.33; P < .001) compared with patients admitted on weekdays, as well as a median length of hospital stay that was 0.5 days longer and median total hospital charges that were $3734 higher (P < .001 for both). Patients undergoing urgent surgery for left-sided diverticulitis who are admitted on a weekend have a higher risk for undergoing a Hartmann procedure and worse short-term outcomes compared with patients who are admitted on a weekday. Further research is warranted to investigate possible underlying mechanisms and to develop strategies for reducing this substantial weekend effect.
    Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill.: 1960) 07/2012; 147(7):649-55. · 4.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The "weekend effect" is defined as increased morbidity and mortality for patients admitted on weekends compared with weekdays. It has been observed for several diseases, including myocardial infarction and renal insufficiency; however, it has not yet been investigated for laparoscopic appendectomy in acute appendicitis-one of the most prevalent surgical diagnoses. The present study is based on the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) from 1999 to 2008. The following outcomes were compared between patients undergoing laparoscopic appendectomy for acute appendicitis admitted on weekdays versus weekends: severity of appendicitis, intraoperative and postoperative complications, conversion rate, in-hospital mortality, and length of hospital stay. Unadjusted and risk-adjusted generalized linear regression analyses were performed. Overall, 151,774 patients were included, mean age was 39.6 years, 52.6% (n = 79,801) were male, and 25.3% (n = 38,317) were admitted on weekends. After risk adjustment, the conversion rate was lower [odds ratio (OR): 0.94, p = 0.004, number needed to harm (NNH): 244], whereas pulmonary complications (OR: 1.12, p = 0.028, NNH: 649) and reoperations (OR: 1.21, p = 0.013, NNH: 1,028) were slightly higher on weekends than on weekdays. Overall postoperative complications (OR: 1.03, p = 0.24), mortality (OR: 1.37, p = 0.075) and length of hospital stay (mean on weekday: 2.00 days, weekends: 2.01 days, p = 0.29) were not statistically different. The present investigation provides evidence that no clinically significant "weekend effect" for patients undergoing laparoscopic appendectomy exists. Therefore, hospital or staffing policy changes are not justified based on the findings from this large national study.
    World Journal of Surgery 03/2012; 36(7):1527-33. · 2.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate patients' willingness to participate (WTP) in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) with proton beam therapy (PBT) for prostate cancer (PCa). We undertook a qualitative research study in which we prospectively enrolled patients with clinically localized PCa. We used purposive sampling to ensure a diverse sample based on age, race, travel distance, and physician. Patients participated in a semi-structured interview in which they reviewed a description of a hypothetical RCT, were asked open-ended and focused follow-up questions regarding their motivations for and concerns about enrollment, and completed a questionnaire assessing characteristics such as demographics and prior knowledge of IMRT or PBT. Patients' stated WTP was assessed using a 6-point Likert scale. Forty-six eligible patients (33 white, 13 black) were enrolled from the practices of eight physicians. We identified 21 factors that impacted patients' WTP, which largely centered on five major themes: altruism/desire to compare treatments, randomization, deference to physician opinion, financial incentives, and time demands/scheduling. Most patients (27 of 46, 59%) stated they would either "definitely" or "probably" participate. Seventeen percent (8 of 46) stated they would "definitely not" or "probably not" enroll, most of whom (6 of 8) preferred PBT before their physician visit. A substantial proportion of patients indicated high WTP in a RCT comparing IMRT and PBT for PCa.
    International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 02/2012; 83(1):e13-9. · 4.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the importance of delivering evidence-based health care, orthopedic surgeons have directed fewer efforts towards the generation of such evidence. Even when present, published evidence lacks methodological rigor and is known to be inaccurate. One of the main reasons for the lack of generation of quality evidence, and the low involvement in research among orthopedic surgeons, is the lack of structured research coaching environments where they can learn concepts and hone their research skills. There is a palpable need for a pragmatic and outcome-oriented approach that can equip orthopedic surgeons with effective ways of communicating their research in writing. We describe a pragmatic research coaching program, designed and developed by the Research on Research group, which aims to build a global network of orthopedic researchers trained in streamlined and standardized research methods. We also provide a brief overview of the course principles and tools, and the platforms used in this program.
    Acta Ortopédica Brasileira 01/2012; 20(2):110-7. · 0.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gallstone formation is common in obese patients, particularly during rapid weight loss. Whether a concomitant cholecystectomy should be performed during laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is still contentious. We aimed to analyze trends in concomitant cholecystectomy and laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery (2001-2008), to identify factors associated with concomitant cholecystectomy, and to compare short-term outcomes after laparoscopic gastric bypass with and without concomitant cholecystectomy. We used data from adults undergoing laparoscopic gastric bypass for obesity from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample. The Cochran-Armitage trend test was used to assess changes over time. Unadjusted and risk-adjusted generalized linear models were performed to assess predictors of concomitant cholecystectomy and to assess postoperative short-term outcomes. A total of 70,287 patients were included: mean age was 43.1 years and 81.6% were female. Concomitant cholecystectomy was performed in 6,402 (9.1%) patients. The proportion of patients undergoing concomitant cholecystectomy decreased significantly from 26.3% in 2001 to 3.7% in 2008 (p for trend < 0.001). Patients who underwent concomitant cholecystectomy had higher rates of mortality (unadjusted odds ratios [OR], 2.16; p = 0.012), overall postoperative complications (risk-adjusted OR, 1.59; p = 0.001), and reinterventions (risk-adjusted OR, 3.83; p < 0.001), less frequent routine discharge (risk-adjusted OR, 0.70; p = 0.05), and longer adjusted hospital stay (median difference, 0.4 days; p < 0.001). Concomitant cholecystectomy and laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery have decreased significantly over the last decade. Given the higher rates of postoperative complications, reinterventions, mortality, as well as longer hospital stay, concomitant cholecystectomy should only be considered in patients with symptomatic gallbladder disease.
    Obesity Surgery 12/2011; 22(2):220-9. · 3.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Management and outcomes of patients with invasive intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) of the pancreas are not well established. We investigated whether adjuvant radiotherapy (RT) improved cancer-specific survival (CSS) and overall survival (OS) among patients undergoing surgical resection for invasive IPMN. The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registry was used in this retrospective cohort study. All adult patients with resection of invasive IPMN from 1988 to 2007 were included. CSS and OS were analyzed using Kaplan-Meier curves. Unadjusted and propensity-score-adjusted Cox proportional-hazards modeling were used for subgroup analyses. 972 patients were included. Adjuvant RT was administered to 31.8% (n=309) of patients. There was no difference in overall median CSS or OS in patients who received adjuvant RT (5-year CSS: 26.5 months; 5-year OS: 23.5 months) versus those who did not (CSS: 28.5 months, P=0.17; OS: 23.5 months, P=0.23). Univariate predictors of survival were lymph node (LN) involvement, T4-classified tumors, and poorly differentiated tumor grade (all P<0.05). In the propensity-score-adjusted analysis, adjuvant RT was associated with improved 5-year CSS [hazard ratio (HR): 0.67, P=0.004] and 5-year OS (HR: 0.73, P=0.014) among all patients with LN involvement, though further analysis by T-classification demonstrated no survival differences among patients with T1/T2 disease; patients with T3/T4-classified tumors had improved CSS (HR: 0.71, P=0.022) but no difference in OS (HR: 0.76, P=0.06). On propensity-score-adjusted analysis, adjuvant RT was associated with improved survival in selected subsets of patients with invasive IPMN, particularly those with T3/T4 tumors and LN involvement.
    Annals of Surgical Oncology 10/2011; 19(4):1316-23. · 3.94 Impact Factor
  • Leukemia & lymphoma 07/2011; 52(7):1382-6. · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The essence of comparative effectiveness research (CER) is to understand what health interventions work, for which patients, and under what conditions. The objective of this article is to introduce the relative strengths and weaknesses of several forms of evidence to illustrate the potential for CER evidence generation within radiation oncology. We introduce the underlying concepts of effectiveness and efficacy. We describe the design of traditional explanatory randomized trials (RCTs). We introduce the rationale, strengths, and weaknesses of several alternative study designs for comparative effectiveness, including pragmatic clinical trials, adaptive trials, and observational (nonrandomized) studies. Explanatory RCTs are designed to assess the efficacy of an intervention while achieving a high degree of internal validity. Pragmatic clinical trials (PCTs) are prospective studies performed in typical, real-world clinical practice settings. The emphasis of PCTs is to maintain a degree of internal validity while also maximizing external validity. Adaptive trials can be modified at interim stages using existing or evolving evidence in the course of a trial, which may allow trials to maintain clinical relevance by studying current treatments. Observational data are becoming increasingly important, given substantial funding for clinical registries and greater availability of electronic medical records and claims databases, but need to address well-known limitations such as selection bias. With the rapid proliferation of new and evolving radiotherapy technologies, it is incumbent upon our field to invest in building the evidence base for radiotherapy CER and to actively participate in current initiatives for generating comparative evidence.
    Practical radiation oncology. 04/2011; 1(2):72-80.
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    ABSTRACT: Sharing of epidemiological and clinical data sets among researchers is poor at best, in detriment of science and community at large. The purpose of this paper is therefore to (1) describe a novel Web application designed to share information on study data sets focusing on epidemiological clinical research in a collaborative environment and (2) create a policy model placing this collaborative environment into the current scientific social context. The Database of Databases application was developed based on feedback from epidemiologists and clinical researchers requiring a Web-based platform that would allow for sharing of information about epidemiological and clinical study data sets in a collaborative environment. This platform should ensure that researchers can modify the information. A Model-based predictions of number of publications and funding resulting from combinations of different policy implementation strategies (for metadata and data sharing) were generated using System Dynamics modeling. The application allows researchers to easily upload information about clinical study data sets, which is searchable and modifiable by other users in a wiki environment. All modifications are filtered by the database principal investigator in order to maintain quality control. The application has been extensively tested and currently contains 130 clinical study data sets from the United States, Australia, China and Singapore. Model results indicated that any policy implementation would be better than the current strategy, that metadata sharing is better than data-sharing, and that combined policies achieve the best results in terms of publications. Based on our empirical observations and resulting model, the social network environment surrounding the application can assist epidemiologists and clinical researchers contribute and search for metadata in a collaborative environment, thus potentially facilitating collaboration efforts among research communities distributed around the globe.
    PLoS ONE 02/2010; 5(2):e9314. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine if there is any association in ophthalmology between the gender of the chairperson and residency program director and the gender of faculty and residents. An anonymous electronic survey was sent to 121 ophthalmology residency program directors. Demographic information pertaining to size, location, academic or community affiliation, and gender distribution of the faculty, residents, residency program directors and chairs was obtained. The response rate was 45.45% with 55 residency program directors responding to the survey. Academic programs comprised 53 (96%) of the programs studied. Male department chairs led all 53 (96%) programs. In terms of the residency program director gender, 37 (67%) were male, whereas 18 (34%) were female. Female faculty and residents comprised 313 (28%) and 270 (45%), respectively. Compared to departments with male chairs, departments with a female chair had a higher crude proportion of female faculty (35% vs. 28%; P = 0.300) and female residents (50% vs. 45%; P = 0.660), although there was no statistical difference. Departments with either a male or female residency program director had similar number of female faculty (28% vs. 28%; P = 0.991) and residents (44% vs. 46%; P = 0.689). We found no significant association between the gender of the residency program director and chairperson with the proportion of female faculty and residents. Given a higher ratio of female residents relative to female faculty, it is probable that graduating female residents are choosing not to pursue academic medicine, shrinking the potential pool of female candidates for positions of departmental leadership.
    Ophthalmic epidemiology 01/2010; 17(1):1-6. · 1.93 Impact Factor
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    Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research 10/2009; 468(7):1746-8. · 2.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Writing scientific articles is a daunting task for novice researchers. In this qualitative study carried out in 2007, the authors evaluated the experiences of a group of novice researchers engaged in the writing process, to elucidate the main difficulties and sources of encouragement they encountered. Sixteen novice researchers were interviewed. Most were women (10), and most were enrolled in programs of medicine (9), followed by nursing (4) and physical therapy (3). These were drawn via convenience sampling from a randomized control trial in which 48 of them were equally assigned to either an online or a face-to-face course of instruction. On completion, interviews were conducted in focus groups of four students each. The interviews were transcribed and read independently by two of the authors, who then encoded the material based on the principles of grounded theory. Initial categories were converted to major emerging themes, which were validated when participants were asked to review the findings. Triangulation of results was carried out by discussing the emerging themes in an online forum with five specialists in college writing education. Classifying the diverse responses of participants led to the emergence of four major themes: cognitive burden, group support and mentoring, difficulty in distinguishing between content and structure, and backward design of manuscripts. The themes produced by this study provide some insight into the challenges faced by novice researchers in their early attempts at scientific writing. Remedies that address these challenges are needed to substantially improve scientific writing instruction.
    Academic medicine: journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 05/2009; 84(4):511-6. · 2.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Writing plays a central role in the communication of scientific ideas and is therefore a key aspect in researcher education, ultimately determining the success and long-term sustainability of their careers. Despite the growing popularity of e-learning, we are not aware of any existing study comparing on-line vs. traditional classroom-based methods for teaching scientific writing. Forty eight participants from a medical, nursing and physiotherapy background from US and Brazil were randomly assigned to two groups (n = 24 per group): An on-line writing workshop group (on-line group), in which participants used virtual communication, google docs and standard writing templates, and a standard writing guidance training (standard group) where participants received standard instruction without the aid of virtual communication and writing templates. Two outcomes, manuscript quality was assessed using the scores obtained in Six subgroup analysis scale as the primary outcome measure, and satisfaction scores with Likert scale were evaluated. To control for observer variability, inter-observer reliability was assessed using Fleiss's kappa. A post-hoc analysis comparing rates of communication between mentors and participants was performed. Nonparametric tests were used to assess intervention efficacy. Excellent inter-observer reliability among three reviewers was found, with an Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) agreement = 0.931882 and ICC consistency = 0.932485. On-line group had better overall manuscript quality (p = 0.0017, SSQSavg score 75.3 +/- 14.21, ranging from 37 to 94) compared to the standard group (47.27 +/- 14.64, ranging from 20 to 72). Participant satisfaction was higher in the on-line group (4.3 +/- 0.73) compared to the standard group (3.09 +/- 1.11) (p = 0.001). The standard group also had fewer communication events compared to the on-line group (0.91 +/- 0.81 vs. 2.05 +/- 1.23; p = 0.0219). Our protocol for on-line scientific writing instruction is better than standard face-to-face instruction in terms of writing quality and student satisfaction. Future studies should evaluate the protocol efficacy in larger longitudinal cohorts involving participants from different languages.
    BMC Medical Education 02/2009; 9:27. · 1.41 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

234 Citations
99.80 Total Impact Points


  • 2013
    • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
      • Department of Radiation Oncology
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2010–2013
    • Duke University
      • Department of Surgery
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • 2006–2013
    • University of Pennsylvania
      • • Department of Radiation Oncology
      • • Scheie Eye Institute
      • • Department of Medicine
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2012
    • Harvard Medical School
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2009–2012
    • Duke University Medical Center
      • Department of Surgery
      Durham, NC, United States
    • Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore
      Tumasik, Singapore
  • 2006–2009
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      • Department of Medicine
      Chapel Hill, NC, United States