Much of the current work of the CHPR centers on the area of patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR). Among the goals of the CHPR is to provide education and training to junior researchers and fellows that will increase their proficiency in PCOR and its methods. To address this goal, the CHPR convenes a PCOR methods workshop every second and fourth Monday at noon.

The methods workshop is an informal, one-hour gathering that takes place in the downstairs conference room at the CHPR. Attendance is open to anyone with an interest in PCOR methods and comparative effectiveness research (CER).

Sessions are led by CHPR Director Joy Melnikow and Daniel J. Tancredi. Melnikow, professor of family and community medicine, is an experienced outcomes researcher and the lead instructor for the UC Davis Comparative Effectiveness Research course. Tancredi, associate professor with the department of pediatrics, is an expert in biostatistics.

The informal setting provides an opportunity for researchers to discuss their own research problems or questions and receive informed guidance and feedback. Occasional guest speakers are invited to discuss their own research or their perspectives on PCOR.

Regular session attendees express enthusiasm for the program and its usefulness. Tejveer Dhillon, a surgery resident and fellow in the CHPR Quality, Safety, and Comparative Effectiveness Research Training program (QSCERT), told us, "The methods workshops are an excellent resource because we get to work almost one-on-one with two great leaders in the field of medical research."

Dhillon is thankful for the opportunity to receive feedback from subject matter experts in the field of PCOR. He continues, "Dr. Melnikow has extensive experience in many aspects of the research field and offers an expert perspective on how to improve the designs of our individual research projects. Dr. Tancredi is a unique biostatistician whose major strength lies in his ability to truly understand and explain BOTH the medical and statistical aspects of research in a way that is actually easy to understand. I wish more of my colleagues knew about this valuable resource!"

Stephen Henry, assistant professor in the division of general medicine, geriatrics and bioethics, is grateful for the opportunity to improve his skills and meet other outcomes researchers. Says Henry, "The sessions are one of the few venues on campus that bring together outcomes researchers from different departments and schools across UC Davis. I have met new researchers from pediatrics, public health sciences, and surgery."

Dr. Henry goes on to express appreciation for the opportunity to avoid problems before they occur. "As a junior faculty member," Henry explains, "these sessions have allowed me to get substantive individualized feedback on my research plan. Discussing study design at the sessions has helped me to avoid a couple of 'rookie mistakes' for my early projects."

Daniel Nishijima, assistant professor of emergency medicine, appreciates the informal setting and the opportunities this affords for examining actual research questions and problems brought by the attendees. "These sessions are a great resource to researchers," he says. "Even if one does not have a specific question for the day, these sessions provide an excellent opportunity to learn about patient-centered outcomes research."

If you would like to join the PCOR methods workshops, please contact Kirstin Truitt at to be added to our PCOR special interest mailing list.

What is Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR)?

The web site of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) provides this definition of Patient-Centered Outcomes Research:

"Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) helps people and their caregivers communicate and make informed healthcare decisions, aling their voices to be heard in assessing the value of healthcare options. This research answers patient-centered questions such as:

  1. "Given my personal characteristics, conditions and preferences, what should I expect will happen to me?"
  2. "What are my options and what are the potential benefits and harms of those options?"
  3. "What can I do to improve the outcomes that are most important to me?"
  4. "How can clinicians and the care delivery systems they work in help me make the best decisions about my health and healthcare?"

To answer these questions, PCOR:

  • Assesses the benefits and harms of preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic, palliative, or health delivery system interventions to inform decision making, highlighting comparisons and outcomes that matter to people;
  • Is inclusive of an individual's preferences, autonomy and needs, focusing on outcomes that people notice and care about such as survival, function, symptoms, and health related quality of life;
  • Incorporates a wide variety of settings and diversity of participants to address individual differences and barriers to implementation and dissemination; and
  • Investigates (or may investigate) optimizing outcomes while addressing burden to individuals, availability of services, technology, and personnel, and other stakeholder perspectives."