Showcase Highlights How Databases Help Researchers Make Connections

By ChaseYavondaC

That was the message at the Showcase of Medical Discoveries: Databases for Research Use, held Nov. 8 in the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. The 20th in a series of such research collaboration events, it is sponsored by the College of Medicine and Division of Research with the aim of connecting faculty, staff and students with resources and providing networking opportunities – all in a social setting.

About 150 people attended the event, which featured 15 poster presentations from across campus and beyond.

Crowd shot from above

About 150 people attended the event.

The Translational Research Institute at UAMS launched the online participant registry and website in April 2016 to recruit diverse research participants. Since then more than 4,000 have signed up, representing every county in the state.

Jean McSweeney, Ph.D., R.N., associate dean for research in the College of Nursing, said recruiting research subjects can be difficult and time consuming.

“The Translational Research Institute established on behalf of UAMS to help researchers overcome the challenges involved in recruiting subjects,” McSweeney said. “We have organized the participants into a database that’s easy for our researchers to use so we can quickly facilitate those connections – matching researchers to the Arkansans willing to participate in their area of research.”

Researchers talking

Xiaoyan Egbe, M.P.H., (left) talks to Analiz Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D., about the Arkansas Central Cancer Registry.

Subjects are most commonly interested in weight management and mental health topics, with the third most popular category being healthy volunteers, followed by cardiovascular conditions and sleep problems.

“We think this is a great resource and would encourage more researchers to take advantage of it,” McSweeney said.

Austin Porter, trauma registry administrator with the Arkansas Department of Health, presented information on the many databases available through the department, which processes about 2 million records a year from various sources and on many different topics.

“We have information from birth to death and everything in between,” Porter said. “Our databases are very useful in the research context, specifically for public health research. They have the added advantage of being more cost-effective than buying your own datasets. Events like this are great because we are looking to partner with more UAMS researchers.”

Topics include inpatient hospital admissions, hospital discharge information, vital statistics, trauma, emergency medical services, emergency department discharge information, cancer registry and behavioral risk factors.

Researchers talking

Clare Brown, M.P.H., talks about her work, which used databases to look at the impact of guideline changes to mammography screening, with Horacio Gomez, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the College of Medicine.

Anthony Goudie, Ph.D., director of research and evaluation at the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI), spoke about the newly available All-Payer Claims Database, housed at ACHI on behalf of the Arkansas Insurance Department. Enabled by a legislative act in 2015, the database includes member enrollment data, medical claims, pharmacy claims, dental claims and provider data from private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.

Thanks to additional legislation, the database will also include information about medical marijuana claims, providing a powerful opportunity for research as Arkansas rolls out its medical marijuana program.

“There are only 17 states in the nation with databases like this, and we will be the only state with information about medical marijuana and what conditions those patients are being treated for,” Goudie said. “We provide a host of interesting medical research opportunities under one roof.”

For more information about, contact Sandra Hatley at For more information about the Department of Health databases, contact Austin Porter at For more information about the ACHI all-payer claims database, contact Trang Riley at

Abstracts (summaries) for all posters at the Nov. 8 Showcase can be found here:

The Showcase of Medical Discoveries is organized by the office of Vice Chancellor for Research Lawrence Cornett, Ph.D., and supported by UAMS College of Medicine Dean Pope L. Moseley, M.D.