Maricela Cruz, PhD

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“Developing flexible yet pragmatic and robust statistical methodology that can accommodate the intricacies of real-world circumstances is paramount in addressing public health concerns.”

Maricela Cruz, PhD

Assistant Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Biography

Maricela Cruz, PhD, strives to create useful and widely applicable methodology to tackle real-world problems in public health. Her research primarily focuses on developing novel statistical methods to assess and evaluate the impact of complex health care interventions. In her research, she uses statistical techniques for interrupted time series, time series, correlated data, change point detection, longitudinal data and interventions research.

Dr. Cruz received her PhD in statistics from the University of California Irvine. During her time there, she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship awardee and Eugene Cota-Robles fellow. She worked with care delivery experts and practitioners to design and conduct statistical analyses that assessed health care interventions across multiple hospitals and hospital units. She developed two novel interrupted time series models that allow for complex correlation structures that can change post intervention and are adequate for single- and multi-unit continuous data. To communicate and encourage access to her methods by non-statisticians in the broader public health community, Dr. Cruz produced an application in R Shiny that analyzes interrupted time series data. As a graduate student, she was a summer associate at the RAND Corporation. While at RAND, she led a collaborative study examining the relationship between group cohesion and climate with alcohol use outcomes in a group therapy intervention for individuals with a first-time offense for driving under the influence.

At KPWHRI, Dr. Cruz works alongside researchers in behavioral health, mental health, and insurance design. She explores the relationship between weight change and diabetes measures and the built environment, aids in the development of suicide risk prediction algorithms, and evaluates interventions that encourage high-value use of health care services.

Recent Publications

Cruz M, Osilla KC, Paddock SM. Group cohesion and climate in cognitive behavioral therapy for first-time DUI offenders. Alcohol Treat Q. 2019 https://doi.org/10.1080/07347324.2019.1613941.

Cruz M, Gillen DL, Bender M, Ombao H. Assessing health care interventions via an interrupted time series model: Study power and design considerations. Stat Med. 2019 May 10;38(10):1734-1752. doi: 10.1002/sim.8067. Epub 2019 Jan 7. PubMed

Bender M, Murphy EA, Cruz M, Ombao H. System and unit-level care quality outcomes after reorganizing frontline care delivery to integrate clinical nurse leaders: a quasi-experimental time series study. J Nurs Admin. 2019 49(6), p. 315-322.

Cruz M, Bender M, Ombao H. A robust interrupted time series model for analyzing complex health care intervention data. Stat Med. 2017 Dec 20;36(29):4660-4676. doi: 10.1002/sim.7443. Epub 2017 Aug 29. PubMed

 

healthy communities

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How should we study the health of neighborhoods?

UW/KPWHRI research team confers with King County organizations at its "Moving to Health" Summit, sparking new collaborations.

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How can your neighborhood nudge you toward healthier behavior?

Dr. Arterburn and UW/KPWHRI team go hyperlocal with $2.67-million Moving to Health award from NIDDK on ‘built environment’.