The HRA Team and Our Mission

We are a group of social and behavioral scientists, computer science engineers, physicians, epidemiologists and biostatisticians dedicated to designing a state of the art health risk assessment (HRA). Continuing work undertaken by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the 1970’s and the Carter Center of Emory University in 1986 our mission is to make available to patients, health providers, health organizations, state and local governments, service groups, business and industry the best in the science and technology of health risk assessments. A significant component of our project involves the incorporation of feedback from healthcare providers, patients and other stakeholders regarding the use, satisfaction and effectiveness of our HRA.

Major funding for the development and dissemination of our HRA has been provided by a grant to Dr. Joseph J. Sudano, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Grant No. R01-HS020919).

Joseph J. Sudano, Ph.D.,
Principal Investigator

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Dr. Sudano has been trained as a medical sociologist and health services researcher and is now currently Director of the Social and Behavioral Science Unit, Center for Healthcare Research and Policy, Case Western Reserve University at The MetroHealth System. He is a nationally recognized expert in the design, construction and analysis of survey questionnaires, health status measurement issues, longitudinal data analysis, and qualitative data collection and analysis. He has recently completed two National Institute on Aging projects as PI that focused on racial, ethnic and language group differences in self-reported health status and the effects of various measures of segregation on morbidity and mortality for older adults. In addition to managing the HRA project, Dr. Sudano currently provides behavioral, methodological and statistical expertise to decisions on clinical standards, staff and organizational behavior measurement, and the incorporation of health risk assessment tools into the electronic medical records at The MetroHealth System, Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s Safety Net, Level One hospital system.

Dr. Sudano supervises and coordinates activities among all the faculty members and consultants, manages all financial aspects of the project and takes the lead on reports, publications, abstracts, presentations at conferences and manuscripts. He also leads the distribution and dissemination activities for the reengineered health risk assessment.

Adam T. Perzynski, Ph.D.,

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Dr. Perzynski is a medical sociologist with a specialization in research methods and statistical analysis. Since 2001 he has worked continuously as part of multidisciplinary research teams on NIH-funded research projects, directing research assistants and coordinating data collection efforts. Dr. Perzynski is an expert in both quantitative and qualitative data analysis and has extensive experience with mixed methods research designs, advanced statistical modeling techniques as well as the collection and analysis of ethnographic data. Dr. Perzynski provides substantive and methodological expertise on our project establishing and overseeing specific procedures for qualitative data collection, management, and analysis. Dr. Perzynski brings his interest in studying human-machine interactions in health services setting to our project as part of the development of new visualization techniques in the HRA reports. He collaborates with Dr. Ozsoyoglu in the design and optimization of the user interface and data visualization in the re-engineered HRA.

Gultekin Ozsoyoglu, Ph.D.,

Professor of Computer Science

Case Western Reserve University School of Engineering and Computer Science

Prof. Ozsoyoglu's research interests include data management and database-related issues in bioinformatics, web computing, and web data mining; more specifically, (i) in bioinformatics: biochemical pathways databases; gene and protein annotations; computational pathway prediction and pathway categorization, (ii) in literature digital libraries: scalable, effective and efficient searching and querying of literature digital libraries; query processing in web source databases. Prof. Ozsoyoglu has worked and published extensively on multimedia databases, multimedia presentation languages/delivery, and electronic books with multimedia data. He is among the pioneers in the fields of statistical database security, statistical estimators for database queries, and time-constrained querying of databases. Dr. Ozsoyoglu is responsible for selecting and supervising the software development team as well as reviewing and testing all aspects and platforms for our software.

Edwin B. Hutchins, Ph.D.,
Senior Research Associate and Consultant

President, The Healthier People Network, Inc.

Adjunct Professor, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University

Dr. Hutchins has been involved with the development and dissemination of HRAs for the past 30 years. This began with the supervision of doctoral student dissertations on HRAs at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education leading to involvement with the Society of Prospective Medicine, a professional society committed to the scientific development of the HRA. While Director of the Division of Research and Development at The Charlotte Institute for Health Promotion, Dr. Hutchins supervised a contract with the World Bank to reprogram the CDC HRA software, then written in Basic, so that it could be utilized on a main frame computer.

Familiarity with this programming task led to his involvement as a consultant with the CDC/Carter Center HRA update project in 1986. When that grant was completed the Health Risk Assessment program moved from the CDC to the Carter Center and he became the Program Director of the national, public domain HRA program at the Carter Center. The HRA program was updated again during this time and produced customized versions for the Armed Forces, state health departments and other public and private organizations.

In 1992 Dr. Hutchins established The Healthier People Network, Inc., to maintain the continuing scientific development of the HRA and to have it available in the public domain. Over the past 20 years as President of The Healthier People Network Dr. Hutchins has developed an HRA for Older Adults focusing on morbidity and functional status issues oriented to the maintenance of independent living and have it broadly disseminated. In addition, an HRA is under development for children and adolescents. In his role as Senior Research Associate and Consultant, Dr. Hutchin’s contribution to this project is motivated by the recognition that it is now time to undertake again a major updating of the scientific basis underlying the HRA and to specifically disseminate it to a community of health care practitioners largely neglected by commercial ventures---primary care practitioner.

Thomas E. Love, Ph.D.,

Professor of Medicine

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Thomas E. Love is Director of the Biostatistics and Evaluation Unit at the Center for Health Care Research and Policy at Case Western Reserve University at The MetroHealth System, where he leads a team of five statisticians and programmers. Dr. Love is Chair-Elect of the Health Policy Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association, Associate Editor of The American Statistician, and co-chaired the 2011 International Conference on Health Policy Statistics. He is the author of more than 50 published peer-reviewed articles in a wide array of statistical and medical journals, and has collaborated on numerous successful proposals and grants. He has also won multiple teaching awards, both for his educational contributions and scholarship at Case, and for his conference workshops and short courses. Dr. Love's role in the current project is collaborating with the team in revising risk algorithms and report visualization components of the HRA.

James Werner, Ph.D.,

Assistant Professor of Family Medicine

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Dr. Werner has built Practice Based Research Networks (PBRN) and has conducted PBRN research for 17 years. From 1994-2002, he was Research Director of the Ambulatory Sentinel Practice Network, the largest PBRN in the U.S. and is presently Director of the PBRN Core Facility at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and Co-director of the PBRN Shared Resource of the Cleveland Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC). He has extensive experience creating productive collaborations in PBRNs to facilitate research investigations. Dr. Werner serves as our liaison with over 100 primary care practices in northeast Ohio, facilitating interactions and recruitment efforts in order to conduct in-depth interviews. These in-depth interviews are designed to elicit feedback from primary care providers regarding the utility and satisfaction of the HRA and how best to incorporate it into the normal flow of work in primary care.

David C. Kaelber, M.D., Ph.D.,

Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Case Western Reserve University

Chief Medical Informatics Officer, The MetroHealth System

Dr. Kaelber received his biomedical engineering training at Duke and Case Western Reserve University culminating in a Ph.D. in 1999. Along the way he received his M.D. from Case Western Reserve University in 2000, and received an MPH in clinical effectiveness from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2008. In 2008 he began his role as Chief Medical Informatics Officer with The MetroHealth System in Cleveland, Ohio where he serves as the lead physician for all medical informatics issues throughout the hospital system. This includes all issues related to outpatient, inpatient and Emergency Department electronic health records system.

Dr. Kaelber is the liaison between our software team and the clinical medical informatics of the hospital system. He has been instrumental in guiding our development of the HRA so that it can be incorporated into the electronic medical record system. As one of our trusted healthcare providers he has also contributed to our understanding of how to make the HRA fit into daily clinical practice.

Important contributions have been made to this project by several research associates and graduate students:

Sandy Andrukat, Umang Banugaria, Eamon Johnson, Misty Harris, Steven Lewis, MS, MBA, Xiangcao Liu, Can Tuzla, Pinar Uskaner, Wei Wang, Tiancheng Wu, Ning Xia and Yuanxu Li.