Joseph D. Rogers, MS
Lead for the Applications, Statistics, and Informatics Support Team, Cancer Surveillance Branch
Please give a short description of your branch or office and describe your work there.
The Cancer Surveillance Branch (CSB) in DCPC administers the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR). NPCR provides funding and technical support to states, territories, and numerous national partners to collect complete, timely, and high-quality data on new cancer cases. Together, CDC’s NPCR and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program collect data for the entire U.S. population.
My team’s work focuses on informatics, which applies information science, computer science and technology to cancer surveillance practices, research, and learning. We use emerging technology called artificial intelligence and natural language processing to incorporate automated processes and electronic data exchange in cancer registries. By capturing data once and using it in multiple ways, we can meet the information needs of the health care community. We increase efficiencies by evaluate existing data streams for cancer registries instead of incorporating new ones.
Briefly describe some of your recent work. Why is this focus or topic interesting to you?
I currently focus on using cancer informatics and automating processes to achieve more complete, timely, and accurate reporting of cancer incidence data.
In the last two decades, the role of cancer registries has expanded to include the use of the data for planning and evaluation of cancer control activities, as well as involvement in patient care and following cancer survivors. The completeness, accuracy, and timeliness of cancer data have become more important in the global fight against cancer.
Why did you choose to go into public health?
Public health interventions can have a much greater impact on a population than medical treatment in acute care settings. When applied to public health, informatics can enable effective monitoring and surveillance, support improved decision-making, and improve population health. Public health informatics assures that the right technologies are used to improve timely delivery of quality data and assists in data-driven decision making. It builds bridges by “translating” between these different public health areas and creates opportunities for information pathways that can speak to one another in a common computer language. Ultimately, public health informatics empowers disease interventions and prevention—leading to better health of individuals and the community in which they live.
What are some goals or hopes you have for your work in the future?
I would like to obtain a PhD degree in biomedical or health informatics at Georgia Tech or Emory University.
I will continue to focus on creating a platform for central cancer registries to receive and report cancer data in real-time. This platform will automatically process cancer data from many different sources using cloud-based computing systems that host services that can be used by different public health areas. These shared services will include natural language processing, cancer vocabulary/mapping, standardized edits, machine learning, consolation rules, and many other services that support cancer surveillance.