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Center for Patient-Centered Outcomes

The Center for Patient-Centered Outcomes provides a bridge and an incubator for investigators and clinician-scientists across Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern whose studies and interests focus on integration of health outcomes that incorporate the centrality and perspective of the patient. Patient-centered outcomes are health outcomes ranging from standard clinical outcomes to those measuring health-related quality of life (symptoms, function and well-being) and integrating the voice and perspective of patients and their families to improve healthcare, access and decision-making.

David Cella, PhD, a pioneer in the field of outcome science and a passionate advocate for incorporating the voice of the patient, is director of the center and chair of the Department of Medical Social Sciences (MSS), the departmental base of the center. MSS has a rich and varied patient-centered outcomes research program spanning from measurement innovation in patient-reported outcomes to clinical application, including central emphasis on the use of health information technology. The Center for Patient-Centered Outcomes builds upon the MSS departmental outcome science base by expanding research and training infrastructure for patient-centered outcome research across all of Feinberg. Center members include faculty across a range of Feinberg departments and divisions, including MSS, Surgery, Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Neurology, Pediatrics, Preventive Medicine and Biomedical Informatics.

The Center for Patient-Centered Outcomes also administered the now-closed Northwestern University Patient-Centered Intervention and Engagement Training (NU-PATIENT) Faculty Scholars Training Program. For information about a K12 scholars program, visit A Chicago Center of Excellence in Learning Health Systems Research Training (ACCELERAT), which is administered by IPHAM's Center for Health Information Partnerships. 

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The goals of the Center for Patient-Centered Outcomes are to:

  • Serve as an interdisciplinary incubator for patient-centered outcomes research at the Feinberg School of Medicine and across the university.
  • Forge novel collaborations among diverse faculty to catalyze innovative outcome science research including:
    • Linking clinician scientists interested in integrating patient outcomes into research and clinical care with outcome science methodologists
    • Promoting innovative outcome science research, including linkage of patient-centered approaches to diverse areas of research such as decision science and mechanistic research
    • Building scientific capacity for patient-centered outcomes research at Northwestern, including strategic alignment with the research priorities of PCORI and facilitation of large-scale, integrated initiatives such as centers and program projects
    • Utilizing MSS's well-developed research infrastructure to support and enable investigators and clinician scientists throughout FSM engaged in patient-centered outcomes research
  • Promote scientific discourse and training in patient-centered outcomes research including:
    • Fostering scientific exchange via seminars and work-in-progress meetings that enable cross-fertilization and critical feedback; in this way, promote high-quality, cross-disciplinary research on patient-centered outcomes to improve health and healthcare
    • Creating opportunities for engagement with key stakeholders for patient-centered research
    • Providing mentorship and apprenticeship opportunities for postdocs, graduate students, medical students and residents interested in patient-centered outcomes research in partnership with the Center for Public Health Education, Feinberg and arts and sciences training programs


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