Health Services Research

UCLA Urology's Health Services Research Group


In urology, as in all of healthcare, the quality and cost of services for common conditions – as well as access to these services among the populations that need them – represent paramount public health concerns. Urologists are uniquely positioned to provide policy-makers and colleagues alike with evidence on how best to deliver high-quality, cost-effective care for urologic conditions and ensure that patients who need the services receive them. UCLA Urology's Health Services Research Group has played a pioneering role in such efforts through landmark studies, as well as mentorship that is building a growing collective of young investigators in this burgeoning field. 

A Pioneering Team:

UCLA Urology's Health Services Research Group was started by Mark S. Litwin, M.D., M.P.H., who was among the first urologists in the country to focus on public health issues in the delivery of urologic care. In addition to his own groundbreaking research on improving quality of life and quality of care in urologic oncology, Dr. Litwin has trained many junior faculty who have either remained at UCLA or gone on to lead health services research efforts as faculty members at other major institutions. The UCLA Urology team, which also includes Dr. Christopher Saigal, collaborates with experts from a wide variety of disciplines as it tackles some of the most complex and important questions in healthcare delivery.

Research Projects:

Urologic Diseases in America (UDA)
The Health Services Research Group has been federally funded by the NIDDK for Urologic Diseases in America (UDA), a first-of-its-kind effort to document quality, cost, access, and technology trends in urology. The project, which has produced dozens of publications in leading journals along with three comprehensive compendiums on urologic care, serves as a vital resource for policy-makers as well as researchers throughout the country, some of whom have launched important projects of their own through UDA data and methods.

Improving Access, Counseling and Treatment (IMPACT)
Through the UCLA Men's Health Study, Dr. Litwin and colleagues conduct important research on access to cancer care and its effects on outcomes among men enrolled in IMPACT, a State of California-funded program administered by UCLA Urology in which a network of providers delivers free prostate cancer treatment to low-income, uninsured or underinsured men.

Ongoing Studies on Improving Care for Patients
Ongoing studies by Dr. Saigal and colleagues are highlighting the potential for shared decision-making to ensure evidence-based care, improve patient satisfaction, and lead to better health outcomes. Dr. Saigal also leads the group's participation in an ongoing registry-based collection of data on UCLA's prostate cancer outcomes. These data are used to create a tool that helps UCLA physicians accurately counsel patients about the risks of sexual dysfunction after surgical or radiation-based prostate cancer treatment.

Health Services Research Fellowship Program:

Urologic health services research was established at UCLA in 1993 with the recruitment of Mark S. Litwin, MD, MPH, now Chair of the UCLA Department of Urology. In collaboration with colleagues at the UCLA School of Public Health, the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and RAND Health in Santa Monica, Dr. Litwin has developed an internationally recognized research program that considers comparative effectiveness, medical outcomes, quality of care, health-related quality of life, costs of urologic diagnosis and treatment, and urologic resource utilization in the United States.

UCLA Urology's Health Services Research Fellowship Program has a focus on interdisciplinary patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) and comparative effectiveness research (CER) training for physician-scientists in the field of Urology. Our Program's goal is to provide a foundation that allows for the growth of successful, independent researchers, and for our physician-scientists to become the next generation of PCOR/CER leaders and innovators in academic medicine, as well as to foster an interdisciplinary team science approach to urological disorders so as to accelerate the volume and pace of discovery and translation to improved patient care and outcomes.

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