Improving Cancer-Related Patient Decision Making

Background: High quality clinical decision making is necessary to realize the full benefits of emerging cancer prevention and treatment strategies. Currently, patients and providers are often without the resources or skills to implement high quality decision making processes. Integrating expertise from the fields of cognitive psychology, health economics, and health services research can improve cancer-related patient decision making research and practice. Through this award, I seek to build a strong multidisciplinary research program at UNC in cancer-related decision making that includes new research and mentorship of junior investigators. I propose to devote 20% effort to new clinical research on the use of stated preference techniques, including conjoint analysis and contingent valuation, to improve decision making in colorectal cancer screening. I will also work with experts in modeling at UNC and NC State to determine optimal strategies and policies to implement widespread colon cancer screening in North Carolina. I will devote 30% effort to mentoring junior investigators at UNC, with a focus on junior faculty making the transition from mentored K awards to independent funding. I will also continue to serve as faculty in the CTSA K programs and Cancer Control Fellowships and I will take on new trainees in the areas of cancer prevention, treatment, and survivorship. My goal is to work intensively with 4-6 primary trainees and a similar number of secondary trainees at a time. In addition to these activities, I will also create a speaker series for local and national inter-disciplinary collaboration and cross-fertilization on cancer decision making research; continue and expand our weekly working seminar for trainees and mentors interested in decision making research, and undertake a sabbatical at the University of Sydney, Australia to better understand the interface between health policy and the use of informed decision making as they implement a national colon cancer screening program.


Principal Investigator: Michael Pignone, MD

Primary Funding Source: National Cancer Institute

Total Project Period: 9/3/08 – 8/31/13 (ongoing)