Cancer Center

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Observational Methods 


The Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center Observational Methods shared resource provides access to specialized services and expertise in the use of large databases.  These datasets and the team’s knowledge support cancer research, grant applications, and publication in high-impact journals. 

By providing access to specialized services and expertise, the Observational Methods Shared Resource is crucial not only to ensure the success of studies, but also to enhance the scientific interaction and productivity of researchers who perform observational database research.  You can learn more about the resource in the Cancer Center newsletter.

Rates, Location & Hours


  • Services free of charge to MCW Cancer Center members.
  • Services by appointment only. 
  • Contact resource director Dr. Tina Yen at  tyen@mcw.edu, or call Tammy Hosch at 414.955.8847 to schedule a meeting to discuss your project. 

 Services & Resources


  • Project feasibility

  • Dataset availability

  • Preliminary data for grant applications

  • Basic data manipulation and analyses

  • Sampling frames

  • New dataset identification, purchase and storage

Examples of Available Datasets Click Here for a Full Database Catalog


  • Cancer-specific registries (National Cancer Database (NCDB), Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER), SEER-Medicare, state tumor registries)

  • Administrative databases (Chronic Condition Warehouse, Medicare)

  • Provider-related databases (American Medical Association’s Physician Professional database, American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey, Area Resource File)

  • Sociodemographic databases (Rural-Urban Commuting Area Codes (RUCA), U.S. Census Data, Area Resource File)

  • Also works closely with MCW’s Institute for Health and Society’s Epidemiology Data Resource Center and MCW’s Children’s Hospital’s Center for Clinical Effectiveness Research regarding additional available secondary datasets at this institution.

Resource Director & Key Staff


  • Director: Tina Yen, MD, MS
  • Staff: three PhD and Master’s level biostatisticians (Elizabeth Smith, MS, PhD, Rodney Sparapani, PhD, and Emily McGinley, MS)
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Page Updated 05/22/2014