Arizona Team

The mission of the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery is to use data-driven science to improve the quality, safety and value of health care and create better patient experiences — the science of best practice.

Areas of focus

At Mayo Clinic's campus in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, health care delivery researchers operationalize the center's mission by focusing on three main guiding principles:

  • Supporting strong science for immediate impact on clinical practice
  • Collaborating across Mayo Clinic and with other scientific partners, including Arizona State University
  • Providing education and competitively awarded funding opportunities within Mayo Clinic to advance the science of health care delivery. Opportunities include:
    • Acceleration grant. The Arizona team of the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery and Arizona State University (ASU) Office of Knowledge Enterprise together provide one year of funding to an established Mayo Clinic and ASU collaborative team that demonstrates a likelihood of transforming the Mayo Clinic practice and successfully obtaining extramural funding.
    • Incubator grants in health care delivery science. Seed grants encourage new health care delivery science partnerships between faculty at Mayo Clinic's campus in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, and external partners, including ASU.

The Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery's Arizona team includes a scientific review panel, made up of faculty members who are methodologically trained in various domains of health care delivery science. Their areas of expertise include:

  • Secondary database analysis
  • Comparative effectiveness research
  • Bioinformatics
  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Precision-medicine
  • Research in patient safety
  • Quality of care
  • Surgical outcomes
  • Health services research

Scientific review panel members reflect a cross section of Mayo Clinic's clinical practice and research enterprise in Arizona. Many members currently hold, or have held, extramural federal funding in health care delivery science. The scientific review panel provides peer review of all research project applications to ensure the highest quality of science and potential impact for clinical practice.


2017 project

Speech changes as predictors of migraine attack onset

The project team is developing a mobile application that samples people's speech, with the goal of determining the accuracy of speech variation to predict oncoming migraine attacks. Accurate prediction would allow for future studies that treat migraine attacks during a very early pre-symptomatic stage, a strategy that may provide superior outcomes compared with the current standard of care.

2016 projects

A comprehensive model of care for patients with low back pain

This study examined models of care to ensure patients in the Phoenix area with low back pain see the right Mayo Clinic provider at the right time.

The research team sought to identify areas of bottleneck, weakness and vulnerability. Opportunities for improving patient flow were modeled using industrial and manufacturing engineering principles. The team then compared proposed alternative models with usual care, with regard to clinical outcomes and economic outcomes.

iCORE — Improving tools to measure tumor response to treatment

The goal of this project was to demonstrate improved measurement of tumor response through the use of standardized imaging procedures and advanced imaging analytic tools offered by the Imaging Clinical Outcomes and Response Evaluation (iCORE) Laboratory of the Mayo Clinic Department of Radiology in Arizona.

The study was designed to accomplish the following goals:

  • Quantitatively assess the advantages of a standardized workflow for diagnostic tumor response analysis for clinical trials over a traditional radiologic-clinical assessment process
  • Explore the benefits of advanced imaging analytic tools in providing complementary information to the radiologist in disease diagnosis and treatment assessment
  • Examine the potential of advanced imaging analytic tools for facilitating future precision medicine

Results of the study demonstrate that the use of a standardized iCORE workflow model, with appropriate imaging assessment and reporting tools, can optimize clinical trial performance, minimize radiology report variation, improve precision and decrease radiology report errors. Moreover, advanced imaging analytics tools developed in the iCORE Laboratory could potentially improve disease diagnosis and treatment assessment for precision medicine.

Past project highlights

Read about previous projects conducted by the Arizona team of the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.


Neena S. Abraham, M.D.

  • Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science
  • Site Director, Arizona
  • Email:

Heather L. Schwartz