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What Is CER?
Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) seeks to determine which medical interventions and strategies work best, for whom, and under what circumstances. See more definitions of CER
Comparative effectiveness research is the conduct and synthesis of research comparing the benefits and harms of different interventions and strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat and monitor health conditions in "real world" settings. The purpose of this research is to improve health outcomes by developing and disseminating evidence-based information to patients, clinicians, and other decision-makers, responding to their expressed needs, about which interventions are most effective for which patients under specific circumstances. To provide this information, comparative effectiveness research must assess a comprehensive array of health-related outcomes for diverse patient populations and sub-groups. Defined interventions compared may include medications, procedures, medical and assistive devices and technologies, diagnostic testing, behavioral change, and delivery system strategies. This research necessitates the development, expansion, and use of a variety of data sources and methods to assess comparative effectiveness and actively disseminate the results. (from Report to the President and the Congress on Comparative Effectiveness Research, 2009)
Most definitions of CER involve not only comparing two or more active interventions, but also
- conducting these assessments in settings with real-world significance
- evaluating for heterogeneity of intervention effects across different subgroups of patients
- focusing on perspectives of different stakeholders, with a particular emphasis on patient-centered outcomes.
CTSI Consultation Services for CER
A variety of consultative services relevant to CER and PCORI applications are available through the UCSF CTSI's Consultation Service Program.
To get started, send a brief description of your proposal to CER Program Director Mike Steinman, MD — Mike will call to provide advice on which services would be most beneficial, as well as general guidance on applying for PCORI funding.
UCSF Educational Programs
Educational offerings at UCSF include online courses and webinars on CER and PCORI, courses in the UCSF Training in Clinical Research Program, and archived presentations of symposia and lectures given by UCSF faculty.
Online Courses and Webinars
How to Write a PCORI Grant is a free online mini-course on key elements of applying for PCORI funding — faculty, trainees, and staff at UCSF, the Kaiser Permanente Department of Research, Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute, or Children's Hospital Oakland are welcome to participate.
Getting Your PCORI Grant Funded: Advice from Insiders is a webinar that provided high-value advice on strategies for maximizing your chance of funding success.
Training in Clinical Research (TICR) Courses
The UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistcis provides a wide range of courses relevant to CER including clinical trials, epidemiology, systematic reviews, and biostatistics. Courses of particular relevance include:
- Advanced Approaches to the Analysis of Observational Data
- Clinical Performance and Health Outcomes Measurement
- Epidemiologic Methods II
- Health Disparities Research Methods
- Translating Evidence Into Practice: Theory and Design
- Translating Evidence Into Practice: Individual-Centered Implementation Strategies
- Translating Evidence Into Practice: System-Centered Implementation Strategies
Archived Symposia and Presentations
Access a wide variety of presentations and slide sets on topics in CER and PCORI. These include material from UCSF’s Annual Symposium on CER, with talks by PCORI leaders and UCSF and other Bay Area faculty who are experts in CER and PCORI.
Other UCSF Resources
PCORI Proposal Library
Learn by example — view examples of successful UCSF proposals generously provided by members of the UCSF community (UCSF access only).
- Guides and Manuals
- San Francisco Bay Collaborative Research Network: access to community-based stakeholders and study subjects
CER in Cancer Research
- Kathryn Phillips, PhD directs a program to help investigators interested in CER related to cancer.
Comparative Effectiveness Large DatasetsThe Comparative Effectiveness Large Dataset Analysis Core (CELDAC) has developed a database inventory of over 80 local and national health datasets. CELDAC leaders support investigators interested in assessing comparative effectiveness of clinical and other interventions.
- Access the inventory
- Find facts and figures for your proposal, manuscript, and presentation background
- Get expert consultation on working with large datasets
Physical Performance Measures
- The Exercise and Body Composition Laboratory provides resources and training for investigators interested in employing functional measures in their studies.
Infrastructure Support for Multicenter Studies and Clinical Trials
- The San Francisco Coordinating Center is a collaborative enterprise among researchers from the CPMC Research Institute and the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses
- The United States Cochrane Center is part of a collaboration that publishes systematic reviews to promote evidence-informed health decision-making.
Other UCSF Resources and Information
- Steering Committee charged with coordinating and supporting Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) at UCSF
- In 2011 Michael Steinman was appointed Director of Comparative Effectiveness Research for UCSF's CTSI
- Needs Assessment for Comparative Effectiveness Research at UCSF, conducted Spring 2011: Survey (pdf 130KB) and Final Report (pdf 220KB)
The Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has an excellent website with information on the types of research it funds, and methodology guides to support the development of high-quality research that is consistent with its mission.