Ray Baser, MS

Research Biostatistician II

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Ray Baser, MS

Education

University of Michigan

Current Research Interests

In general, I have expertise in the measurement and analysis of Patient-Reported Outcome (PRO) data, and both my applied and methodological research at MSKCC tends to have a strong psychometric flavor.  I enjoy finding opportunities to apply modern psychometric techniques in my work, such as item response theory (IRT) models, structural equation models (SEM), and factor analysis.

I currently collaborate extensively with researchers in the MSKCC Integrative Medicine service on several clinical trials evaluating the effectiveness of various integrative medicine therapies (e.g., acupuncture, massage, music therapy) at improving primarily patient-reported outcomes such as pain, anxiety, and sleep disturbance. 

Previously, I worked with researchers from the Female Sexual Medicine and Women’s Health Program (FSMWHP) and from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (PBS).  With my FSMWHP collaborators, I helped develop and psychometrically validate methods to accurately measure female sexual function and cancer-related dysfunction.  With my PBS collaborators, I worked on validating psychometric questionnaires measuring beliefs and attitudes about cancer risk, including evaluating the measurement invariance of the instruments across important population subgroups.  I also analyzed data from population surveys with complex sampling designs, investigating cancer-related beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors in the general population. 

I was co-chair of the MSKCC Biostatistics Protocol Review Committee for 10+ years.  In my role as co-chair of the Biostatistics Protocol Review Committee, I developed guidelines to improve and standardize how the PRO components of research are detailed in MSKCC research protocols. 

Finally, I am interested in improving the scoring accuracy and consistency of PRO measures.  To this end, I have authored add-on packages in R, the free, open-source R programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics (http://www.r-project.org/).  Specifically, I have created 3 add-on packages for R: FACTscorer, PROscorer, and PROscorerTools.  FACTscorer (https://github.com/raybaser/FACTscorer) scores most of the questionnaires in the “FACT” (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy) and “FACIT” (Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy) quality of life measurement systems.  PROscorer (https://cran.r-project.org/package=PROscorer) is a more general repository of scoring algorithms for commonly used PRO measures.  It currently contains functions to score the EORTC QLQ-C30 and the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), with more to come.  PROscorerTools (https://cran.r-project.org/package=PROscorerTools) contains helper functions that form the backbone of the functions in PROscorer.   PROscorerTools also contains a function called “scoreScale” that can be used to quickly calculate scores for nearly any PRO measure or psychometric scale. 

Publications

Baser, R. (2015). FACTscorer: Scores the FACT and FACIT Family of Patient-Reported Outcome Measures. R Package Version 0.1.0.  http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=FACTscorer

Baser, R. E., Li, Y., & Carter, J. (2012). Psychometric Validation of the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) in Cancer Survivors. Cancer, 118(18), 4606–4618. http://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.26739