The Center for Implementation Research in Cancer in Later Life (CIRCL)

The Center for Implementation Research in Cancer in Later Life (CIRCL)

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Our Goal

The mission of the Center for Implementation Research in Cancer in Later Life (CIRCL) is to reduce the gap between behavioral intervention research and clinical care for older adults with cancer and their caregivers. This mission will be achieved by equipping the research workforce with the skills to integrate dissemination and implementation (D&I) science throughout all phases of the intervention development process. The long-term goal of CIRCL is to improve patient care and outcomes by increasing clinical access to evidence-based behavioral interventions using efficacious D&I techniques.

Funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, CIRCL will leverage perspectives from multiple stakeholders to develop and provide educational and research resources that support the infusion of D&I methods into the development and testing of behavioral interventions for older adults with cancer. CIRCL will have an emphasis on diverse populations and investigators and the use of emerging technologies. CIRCL will increase the D&I potential of behavioral interventions across system levels (e.g., individual, clinic, institution) and target outcomes (e.g., distress, tobacco use) to address wide-ranging unmet needs of older adults with cancer and their caregivers.

The CIRCL Executive Committee and Advisory Council are currently developing resources to support dissemination and implementation science on behavioral interventions for OACs. Resources such as a webinar series and mentorship program will be available in May 2025. In the meantime, if you are interested in completing our needs assessment, click here.  We will use these findings to inform CIRCL development.

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Our Projects

  • Webinar series: Presentations on topics in dissemination and implementation science by leaders in the field.
  • Works-in-progress seminar: Monthly seminar to provide researchers with feedback on their work.
  • Mentorship program: Provides new D&I researchers with established researchers to provide guidance on their research and career development.
  • Resource library: Publically available resources on D&I science.
  • Pilot award program: Provides pilot grants for research on the D&I of behavioral health interventions for OACs and caregivers.
  • Annual research conference: Annual conference to share research on the D&I of behavioral health interventions for OACs and caregivers.
Executive Committee

Kelly McConnell

Kelly McConnell, PhD is an Associate Attending Psychologist and co-Director of the Psycho-oncology of Aging and Cancer research laboratory in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Her research examines the nature and predictors of distress in older adults with cancer and their caregivers and care received at the end-of-life with a focus on the efficacy and implementation of interventions to improve distress and advance care planning in these populations. She has received National Institutes of Health and foundation funding for this research. Dr. McConnell served as chair of the Committee on Aging of the American Psychological Association (APA) and is currently chair elect of APA’s Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest. She is an Associate Editor for the journal Psycho-Oncology.

Sara Czaja

Sara J. Czaja, PhD is the Gladys and Roland Harriman Professor of Medicine, Professor of Gerontology, and the Director of the Center on Aging and Behavioral Research at Weill Cornell Medicine. She also directs the Center on Research and Education for Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE), which focuses on the interface between older adults and technology systems and co-directs the Enhancing Neurocognitive Health, Abilities, Networks, & Community Engagement (ENHANCE) Center, which examines how technology can support older adults living with cognitive impairment. Dr. Czaja’s research interests include aging and cognition, family caregiving, aging and technology, training, and functional assessment. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, and the Gerontological Society of America.  She is currently a member of the Advisory Committee of Governor Hochul’s Master Plan for Aging for New York.

M. Carrington (Cary) Reid

Dr. Cary Reid, MD, PhD is the Irving Sherwood Wright Professor of Geriatrics and the Director of the Office of Geriatric Research in the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM).  Dr. Reid also directs the Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life (TRIPLL) which supports translational research on pain and aging across institutions in New York City. Current projects include 1) developing and testing behavioral therapies as a means of mitigating pain in older adults, 2) identifying barriers to the use of self-management strategies for pain in later life, and 3) examining optimal strategies for managing pain across ethnically diverse populations of older adults. Additional areas of interest include palliative care and the role of technology in improving the management of burdensome symptoms in later life.

Advisory Council

William Dale

I am an internist/geriatrician who is board-certified in hospice and palliative medicine with a Ph.D. in health policy. I serve as a Professor and Vice Chair of Academic Affairs at City of Hope and the George Tsai Family Chair in Geriatric Oncology in Honor of Arti Hurria at City of Hope. A Beeson Scholar and past leader of a Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatrics, my career is devoted to cancer care for older adults with cancer, with a focus on medical decision-making, high-value care models, and quality of life in older adults with cancer. In 2006, I established the award-winning Specialized Oncology Care & Research in the Elders (SOCARE) clinic, a geriatric clinic embedded in oncology, offering interdisciplinary, individualized, and integrated treatment for older adults with cancer. I am a national leader in geriatric oncology, with over 200 publications, and supported by funding from NIH (NIA, NCI), American Cancer Society, and multiple foundations. I collaborate widely on interdisciplinary research that integrates the clinical and social sciences, particularly through my leadership of the Cancer & Aging Research Group (CARG; mycarg.org). I am the lead PI, along with Co-PIs Drs. Supriya Mohile and Heidi Klepin, on a R33 NIA grant, Geriatric Oncology Research Infrastructure to Improve Clinical Care; this grant originally included as a multi-PI our colleague Dr. Arti Hurria. I have also served for over 3 years as the Director of the Center for Cancer and Aging at City of Hope, succeeding founding director, Dr. Hurria.

Rawad Elias

Rawad Elias, MD is a hematologist-oncologist and a geriatrician practicing at the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute where he serves as the medical director for the geriatric oncology program. He has expertise in the clinical implementation of geriatric oncology and co-chairs the clinical implementation core of the Cancer & Aging Research Group (CARG). He also serves as the vice-chair for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Geriatric Oncology Community of Practice. Dr. Elias is an Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and the Hartford Hospital site director for the University of Connecticut Hematology-Oncology fellowship program. 

Joseph Greer

Joseph Greer, PhD is the Co-Director of the Cancer Outcomes Research & Education Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and an Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Greer’s research focuses on the development and testing of supportive care interventions for patients with cancer. He is studying the application of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat anxiety in patients with advanced cancer; nurse-delivered behavioral interventions to improve breathlessness in patients with lung cancer; the use of mobile technology to promote symptom management and adherence to oral chemotherapy medications; and the benefits of early palliative care. Dr. Greer has published over 180 scholarly papers, reviews, chapters, and books related to this work. He has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, and Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Shawna Hudson

Shawna Hudson, PhD is a Professor, Vice Chair of Research, and Henry Rutgers Chair of Family Medicine and Community Health at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Vice Chancellor of Dissemination and Implementation Science at Rutgers Health. She also directs the Center for Advancing Research and Evaluation for Patient-Centered Care (CARE-PC) at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.  Dr. Hudson is a community-engaged, primary care researcher working with vulnerable populations at the intersections of community health, primary care and specialty care and has published extensively on the role of primary care in long-term follow-up care for cancer survivors. Dr. Hudson is a gubernatorial appointed member of the New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research and serves as Director of Community Engagement of the New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translational Science (NJ ACTS).

Bruce Leff

Bruce Leff, MD is Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University Schools of Medicine, Public Health, and Nursing where he directs the Center for Transformative Geriatric Research.  His research focuses on novel models of care delivery for older adults, issues related to multi-morbidity, risk prediction, performance measurement, and quality measurement and improvement with an emphasis on home and community-based models of care. He is Co-Lead of the National Home-Based Primary Care Learning Network, a collaborative of home-based primary care practices across the U.S. focused on quality improvement. He has served on multiple National Quality Forum and CMS Technical Expert Panels, and as an editorial board member of the Annals of Internal Medicine.  He is currently on the Board of Trustees of the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Leff cares for patients in the acute, ambulatory and home settings. 

Alexandra Zaleta

Alexandra Zaleta, PhD is Associate Vice President of Research and Insights at CancerCare and a behavioral health researcher and a clinical psychologist. She completed her doctorate in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, clinical internship at the VA Boston Healthcare System, and postdoctoral training in psychosocial oncology, palliative care, and women’s behavioral health at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Dr. Zaleta’s research is focused on improving whole-person cancer care and translating research outcomes to inform advocacy and healthcare policy. Her areas of interest include the psychosocial impact of cancer on patients, survivors, and caregivers; the impact of utilization management practices on access to cancer care and quality of life; aging and advanced cancers; distress screening and follow-up; and the development and validation of patient experience outcomes measures.

Consultants

Rachel Shelton

Rachel Shelton, ScD, MPH is an Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health with expertise in implementation science, sustainability, health equity, and community engagement.  Additionally, she serves as Deputy Chair for Faculty Development and Research Strategy and Co-Director of the Community Engagement Core Resource at the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (CTSA). She also directs an Implementation Science Initiative focused on building research capacity for implementation science across the university. Dr. Shelton has 15 years of experience leading mixed-methods, community-engaged research on advancing the implementation and sustainability of evidence-based interventions in community and clinical settings to address health inequities, particularly in the context of cancer prevention/control, with over 120 peer-reviewed publications. Her work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and numerous foundations.   

William Trochim

William Trochim, PhD is Professor Emeritus of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University. He directed the Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation for 15 years and the Evaluation Core of the Weill Cornell Clinical and Translational Science Center for 13 years. His research focuses on the development and field testing of evaluation and research methods and their use in managing and assessing programs and organizations. He developed methodologies that are widely used in the behavioral, social and biomedical sciences, including the regression-discontinuity design, concept mapping, and evolutionary evaluation approaches like the Systems Evaluation Protocol.  He is the developer of two widely used computer platforms: The Concept System for accomplishing conceptual mapping and The Netway for planning, implementing and utilizing evaluations of programs and interventions.