Clinical Epidemiology Research Center (CERC)

The overarching goal of the Clinical Epidemiology Research Center (CERC), as part of the Cooperative Studies Program Coordinating Center (CSPCC) in West Haven, CT is to develop an intellectually vibrant academically productive unit—conducting cutting-edge multidisciplinary research, providing opportunities for comprehensive training, and obtaining leveraged funding to support Center activities. The Clinical Epidemiology Research Center joins the existing infrastructure focusing on cooperative clinical trials to create a comprehensive Cooperative Studies Program Coordinating Center with the capacity to conduct a broad range of patient-oriented clinical research.

CERC has three main objectives:

  1. To serve as a center-of-excellence for epidemiological research within the Veterans Health Administration, by a) conducting high quality studies that are relevant to the health and health care of veterans, and b) maintaining a rapid response capability to investigate future issues and problems as they arise.
  2. To conduct methodological research that improves the standards of research design and data analysis in epidemiological studies.
  3. To create an educational environment in support of collaborative epidemiological research, including training in methods of research design, biostatistics, and data processing; as well as to provide experience working with administrative databases and electronic medical records as sources of data for research.

First Objective

The first objective of producing pertinent epidemiological research is addressed by coordinating a talented staff of epidemiologists, statisticians, and other personnel to develop and conduct corresponding projects. The CERC is intended to be "far reaching" in terms of its benefits to investigators at West Haven and beyond, including various (VA and non-VA) institutions and cutting across categories of specialty training. The main focus of the corresponding projects, and the "theme" of the Center, will involve issues of diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy for common, chronic conditions affecting veterans, including both physical and mental health. In addition, the center will provide expertise in other (and currently unanticipated) fields of inquiry, including a rapid response capability that can respond to medical and mental health issues arising in the Veterans Health Administration, and a basis for comparing health care delivered in VA and non-VA settings.