September 6, 2016

Biostatistician Yates Coley returns to Seattle as new investigator



Dr. Yates Coley joins GHRI faculty to continue her work in precision medicine and statistical methods for electronic health records data.

In July, Yates Coley, PhD, packed her belongings and her pug dog Malcolm, and moved from Baltimore to Seattle. It wasn’t her first visit—her PhD is from the University of Washington School of Public Health—but this time she may be here to stay. Dr. Coley is the latest faculty member to join the Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) Biostatistics unit.

“I develop statistical methods for precision medicine,” Dr. Coley says. “Since I use clinical data sources, a lot of my work is solving problems like missing information and variation in what, when, and how data are collected.”

For her postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Dr. Coley developed a statistical framework for integrating multiple sources of data to inform clinical decision making. Funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), she developed a tool to help men with prostate cancer monitor their condition.

“We looked at how different types of data, including from biopsies and prostate-specific antigen blood tests, predict outcomes for men with prostate cancer,” Dr. Coley says. “Using what we learned, we created a decision tool to help men and their physicians determine ongoing, individual risks for cancer progression to help men choose between surveillance or surgery.” The tool continues to collect data and will soon be tested in clinical use at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Coley summarized her results in a video for Urology Times ata recent American Urological Association meeting.

At GHRI, Dr. Coley will be providing statistical expertise on other PCORI-funded work, including the newly funded Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium ADVANCE project led by Senior Investigator Diana Miglioretti, PhD, and a PCORnet study on the benefits and safety of bariatric surgery led by Senior Investigator and Group Health Physician David Arterburn, MD, MPH. “GHRI is a known leader in advancing patient-centered care, health care data analytics, and learning health systems,” Dr. Coley says, “and I’m so excited to contribute to that mission.”