MD Anderson’s Institute for Data Science in Oncology establishes internal advisory council to maximize impact

Council will help identify needs and opportunities to drive IDSO efforts

The Institute for Data Science in Oncology (IDSO) at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center today announced the establishment of its internal advisory council to identify needs and opportunities for data science development and integration across MD Anderson, advancing work that will yield significant benefits for patients and families.

The advisory council, co-led by Florencia McAllister, M.D., associate professor of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Clinical Cancer Prevention, and by Robert Ghafar, vice president of Procedural and Therapeutic Operations, includes 16 MD Anderson faculty and staff members with expertise and perspectives from across the institution. The group will help align IDSO’s efforts with the broader MD Anderson clinical and research enterprises, ensuring data-driven collaborations that will positively impact cancer care, research, education, prevention and operations.

“The internal advisory council provides much-needed insights from all areas of MD Anderson so that we can successfully integrate data science where we are ready to take action and drive impact,” said Caroline Chung, M.D., director of data science development and implementation for IDSO and vice president and chief data officer at MD Anderson. “To be successful, we rely on the people and community at the center of our efforts, and we are confident this group will enhance our collaborative ecosystem and advance our shared mission to end cancer.”

With the world’s largest cancer clinical trials program, a thriving research environment and nearly 180,000 patients treated annually, MD Anderson generates vast amounts of unique data that can fuel new discoveries and optimize patient care. The institute, launched in November, was created to integrate MD Anderson’s leading scientific and clinical expertise with the most advanced computational and data science approaches to transform cancer care and research. 

“We’re just starting to scratch the surface on being able to gather and utilize data to improve our efforts in drug discovery, patient scheduling and access, enhancing safety and improving personalized care,” said David Jaffray, Ph.D., director of IDSO and senior vice president and chief technology and digital offer at MD Anderson. “This internal advisory council will be critical in helping to engage our community in data science development and to discern where we can make transformative impact.” 

The internal advisory council will work closely with IDSO Affiliates and focus area co-leads to advance the work of the institute toward the greatest potential impact. Members of the internal advisory council are:

  • Miriam Flores, vice president ad interim of Revenue Cycle
  • Robert Ghafar, vice president of Procedural & Therapeutic Operations
  • Mary Sizemore, Ph.D., director of Faculty Development