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UrogynCREST Program

The NICHD R25-HD094667 AUGS/Duke UrogynCREST (Urogynecology Clinical Research Educational Scientist Training) program provides three cohorts of junior faculty, who have a passion for research, the chance to increase their knowledge of data science and analytics as well as develop a project that can be the basis for future research. This program aims to provide in-depth hands-on instruction for promising young physician-researchers in the field of pelvic floor disorders through a combination of online course work in data sciences and one-on-one instruction to design and complete an innovative research project. UrogynCREST is open to researchers within approximately 7 years of fellowship. The 3rd cohort will begin April 2022.

The UrogynCREST program has four components:

Coursework: Participants use the online learning platform Sakai to access and complete their coursework. Courses are taught by experts in study design (Module 1, with 6 sessions); economic, psychometric, and decision-analytic studies (Module 2, with 3 sessions), and statistical techniques applicable in health services research with a focus on working with R (Module 3, which covers descriptive statistics, bivariate analysis, multivariable inferential statistics, propensity score matching, and instrumental variables). Course content consists of reading material, didactic videos by the faculty, group discussions, and assignments with feedback from faculty. Each session lasts 2 weeks, with 1 week to prepare assignments. There is a 2-week break between modules. In addition, participants take a self-paced Stanford Statistical Learning course and receive a certificate at successful completion.

Here’s what our inaugural class has said about their coursework:

“I enjoyed this topic [implementation science].I am so happy that it was included as this type of research was new to me and I find it fascinating.”

“This was very helpful for someone who hasn't utilized publicly available health care databases before.”

“I loved the lectures for this session [on systematic reviews], they were clear and very relevant.I thought the Q&A was a great way to test comprehension.”

“Nice assessment format. Not burdensome but really helped solidify some of the concepts.”

“I really appreciated learning how to use plot and line functions to visualize data. This lesson deepened my understanding of how to perform multivariable linear regression as well as linear regression more appropriately/accurately/effectively.”

“I recognize that [difficulties with assignments using R] may come from the varying background students have with exposure to statistical programs/calculations. As someone with very little of this background, the experience has been challenging.”

“This was a rather sophisticated topic. I'm not sure I necessarily mastered the concept but the exercises provided good opportunity to explore instrumental variables.”

Support from Mentors and Biostatisticians: Participants are matched with clinical mentors with expertise in database research, who work one-on-one with them to design and execute a research proposal in pelvic floor disorders. Ongoing interaction with the mentors ensures that projects adhere to the highest standards of scientific validity and remain on track. Participants work directly with a dedicated statistician/statistical programmer in the development of a Statistical Analysis Plan. Statisticians provide expert consultation and analytics support to help participants achieve their research objectives.  

2019-2021 participants’ projects:

  • Prevalence and Predictive Features of Urosepsis in Elderly Women Undergoing Evaluation for Urinary Tract Infection
  • Health Disparities in Hospital Revisits Following Urogyencologic Surgery
  • Reoperation and Readmission Following Stress Incontinence Surgery
  • Is Urinary Incontinence Treatment Impacted by Aging?
  • Prediction of Postoperative Surgical Site Infection in Urogynecologic Surgery Incidence of Pelvic Organ Prolapse after Cystectomy
  • Vaginal Complications after Cystectomy: Results from a Medicare Sample

Access to Data: Participants access the most common and extensive national healthcare database of standard analytic claims files. The dataset can support a broad range of pelvic floor disorder research questions. It does not contain direct identifiers or prescription information. Data are accessed in Duke’s highly secure data analytics environment (PACE). Access to other publicly available datasets or working with datasets already obtained by participants is also possible in PACE. For more information about allowable datasets, please contact Cindy Amundsen (Program Director) or Rebecca Kameny (Program Coordinator).

Dissemination and Networking: Participants will present their research in front of peers, the biannual Advisory Committee meetings, as well as at scientific conferences such as AUGS. By the end of the program, they are expected to have at least one accepted or submitted manuscript of UrogynCREST-related research. Annual reports will be submitted to the NIH detailing participants’ progress. Networking among participants will also be encouraged throughout the program so that at the conclusion, participants have built the connections that will facilitate multi-center studies and collaboration on grant applications.

Timeline for 2020-2022 Participants

  Jan-Mar 2021 Apr-Jun 2021 Jul-Sep 2021 Oct-Dec 2021 Jan-Mar 2022 Apr-Jun 2022 Jul-Sep 2022 Oct-Dec 2022
Coursework for Skills Development
Concept Proposal for Protocol Design

Data Preparation


Data Analysis

Manuscript/Study Prep and Submission


2020-2022 Participants

The UrogynCREST Advisory Committee has selected six enthusiastic and capable individuals from various institutions for the 2020 program year. The Committee had a very challenging task reviewing a very strong group of Junior Faculty applicants interested in pursuing additional education and training to conduct Health Services Research.

Lenore Ackerman, MD, PhD

University of California, Los Angeles

Alex Berger, MD, MPH

University of California, San Francisco

Ekene Enemchukwu, MD, MPH

Stanford University

Rachel High, DO

University of Texas at Austin

Melanie Meister, MD, MCSI

University of Kansas

Shannon Wallace, MD

Cleveland Clinic Hospital


2019-2021 Participants

Lauren Cadish, MD

Providence St. John’s Health Center

Lee Richter, MD

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

David Sheyn, MD

MetroHealth Medical Center

Megan Bradley, MD

Magee Women’s Hospital –
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Emi Bretschneider, MD

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Candace Parker-Autry, MD

Wake Forest Baptist Health


Advisory Board

Raymond Foster, MD

University of Missouri

David Rahn, MD

University of Texas Southwestern

Leslie Rickey, MD, MPH 
Yale University
Leslee Subak, MD

Stanford University

W. Stuart Reynolds, MD, MPH

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Anne Suskind, MD, MS

University of California San Francisco




Jennifer Anger, MD, MPH

Cedars Sinai Hospital

W. Thomas Gregory, MD

Oregon Health and Science University

Victoria Handa, MD, MPH

Johns Hopkins University

Scales Jr.
Charles Scales, MD, MSHS

Duke University

Jennifer Wu, MD, MPH
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
John E. Jelovsek, MD, MMEd, MSPA

Duke University

Jerry Lowder, MD, MSc

Washington University St. Louis

Jonathan Routh, MD, MPH
Duke University
Vivian Sung, MD, MPH

Women & Infants Hospital in Rhode Island



Program Administration

Program Director
Cindy Amundsen, MD

Duke University

Program Coordinator
Rebecca Kameny, PhD
Duke University