Rod Walker, MS, has developed a diverse research portfolio in his 10+ years working as a biostatistician at KPWHRI. His varied interests have led to collaborations in women's health, cancer, aging and geriatrics, pharmacoepidemiology, opioids research, and mental health. During his tenure he has served as an analyst for the Statistical Coordinating Center for the National Cancer Institute's Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium, evaluated the impact of health system initiatives to reduce risk associated with chronic opioid therapy prescribing, and investigated potential associations between different medications classes and a wide range of outcomes such as pneumonia, fall-related injury, and dementia.
One of Mr. Walker’s longest-running collaborations is with the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study, an ongoing longitudinal cohort study seeking to bolster knowledge of risk factors related to dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and healthy aging. As this project and related studies have grown, he has contributed to analyses of associations between medication use and laboratory values and cognitive outcomes within this cohort of older adults, extended this research to associations with neuropathology measures among autopsied individuals, and helped process and analyze activity monitoring data generated from devices worn by ACT participants. Continued collaboration with ACT-related investigators is a highlight of his research at KPWHRI, as the ACT study provides many avenues for increasing public health knowledge of issues relevant for older adults.
A relatively new area of collaboration for Mr. Walker is with researchers from the Mental Health Research Network seeking to use information captured in electronic health records to predict risk of suicide attempt and suicide death. He has appreciated learning from other investigators and biostatisticians on this project, expanding his knowledge in machine learning and risk prediction, as well as in potential issues surrounding health informatics and implementation of tools into clinical workflows. He looks forward to continued opportunities within this research area to address important public health issues in mental and behavioral health.
Survival and longitudinal data analysis; epidemiology; machine learning; two-phase sampling
Biostatistics; cognitive health and dementia; neuropathologic correlates of dementia; factors associated with healthy aging
Biostatistics; suicide risk prediction; interventions for risk reduction; machine learning and health informatics
Biostatistics; pharmacoepidemiology; medication safety in older adults; opioids and chronic pain
Kerlikowske K, Walker R, Miglioretti DL, Desai A, Ballard-Barbash R, Buist DS. Obesity, mammography use and accuracy, and advanced breast cancer risk. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2008;100(23):1724-33. Epub 2008 Nov 25. PubMed
Kerlikowske K, Miglioretti DL, Buist DS, Walker R, Carney PA. Declines in invasive breast cancer and use of postmenopausal hormone therapy in a screening mammography population. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2007;99(17):1335-9. Epub 2007 Aug 14. Erratum in: J Natl Cancer Inst. 2007 Oct 3;99(19):1493. PubMed
Study suggests pathology of brain cell loss after traumatic head injury is distinct from Alzheimer’s disease.
Models that are easier to explain, use could have better uptake in health care settings.
New work by Susan Shortreed, PhD, finds infection risks drive worse outcomes for some racial and ethnic groups.