Centers and Institutes

Center for Outcomes Research Education in Surgery (CORES)

The Center for Outcomes Research Education in Surgery at IU School of Medicine consists of a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and support staff focused on the prevention and alleviation of human suffering due to surgical disease. The path to achieving this vision is through utilizing patient-centered outcomes research.

Researchers within the center evaluate data to identify the best evidence to guide patient care in the real world. The Center for Outcomes Research Education in Surgery is interested in how various procedures impact a patient’s health in terms of the patient’s functional ability, quality of life and care preferences. Once best practices are identified, CORES researchers work to translate this information into practice by working with surgeons, payers and implementation scientists to make optimal outcomes a reality for all surgical patients.

Under the direction of Ben Zarzaur, MD, MPH, the Center for Outcomes Research Education in Surgery is a valuable resource for the IU School of Medicine Department of Surgery as faculty investigators work to integrate research efforts and collaborate with other surgical departments, schools and centers within IU School of Medicine. CORES offers expertise in research design, study methodology, primary and secondary data gathering and complex analysis.


Faculty development and support activities provided through the Center for Outcomes Research Education in Surgery include statistical support and training for faculty, residents and students engaged in outcomes research. The center helps faculty develop research aims and advises on study design; identifies and notifies faculty of relevant funding announcements; assists in manuscript development and grant writing as well as human subjects and financial compliance; and partners with faculty to migrate existing and to design new clinical registries for surgical patient populations.

The Center for Outcomes Research Education in Surgery provides expertise in budgeting for clinical research, manages clinical research coordinator efforts, and provides training to clinical research coordinators for best practices and data abstraction. CORES maintains a library of clinical databases that are freely available to faculty and residents at IU School of Medicine.

Education Programs

The Center for Outcomes Research Education in Surgery conducts ongoing methodological workshops and hosts monthly work-in-progress meetings. Center staff provide guidance to medical students and residents in outcomes research projects and has developed a new undergraduate internship program.

Research Support

Research support services provided through the Center for Outcomes Research Education in Surgery include biostatistics tutorials, data management, geospatial analyses, grant writing and development, manuscript development, sample size and power calculations, statistical analyses, statistical consultation, and statistical programming.

Tutorials for standard analysis techniques including importing data, t-tests, ANOVA, correlation, linear regression, and logistic regression using SPSS or SAS

Importing datasets from excel into SAS, accessing data in Red Cap, creating new variables and datasets, updating/maintaining existing datasets as new data is generated

Geovisualization, geostatistics, spatial regression, point pattern analysis, regional analysis

Assistance reviewing grant applications, determining the statistical methods required to address the primary and secondary aims, writing, reviewing and/or editing the statistical analysis and power and sample size sections for proposals

Writing statistical methods sections describing the analyses performed, creating tables, figures and graphs, reviewing the results sections to ensure statistical analyses are accurately conveyed

Determining the appropriate statistical test for study aim(s) of interest, obtaining estimates of potential effect sizes from investigators, using potential sample sizes provided by the investigator to determine power or necessary sample size

Linear regression, t-tests, mann-whitney tests, chi-square tests, logistic regression, mixed models, survival analysis, trajectory analysis, ANOVA, ANOCOVA

Discussion of the original problem in order to determine the statistical needs, periodic clarification during the work process to ensure accuracy, preparing and relaying the results in non-statistical language, reviewing results with the investigator to be sure they know what the results mean

SAS programming for data management, sample size and power calculations and statistical analyses

CORES Research Team

The Center for Outcomes Research Education in Surgery is led by Director Ben Zarzaur, MD, MPH.

John Brown, MD
Cardiothoracic Surgery

DuyKhanh Pham Ceppa, MD
Cardiothoracic Surgery

Mark Turrentine, MD
Cardiothoracic Surgery

Alyssa Fajardo, MD
General Surgery

Eugene Ceppa, MD
General Surgery

Alison Fecher, MD
General Surgery

Hadley Ritter, MD
General Surgery

Sunil Tholpady, MD, PhD
Plastic Surgery

Michael Dalsing, MD
Vascular Surgery

Raghu Motaganahalli, MD, FRCS
Vascular Surgery