Quantitative Sciences: Making a Real-world Impact With Real-world Data


Aracelis Torres, PhD, MPH

For much of my professional life, the forces that have driven me to innovate and improve the healthcare sector have been shaped by personal experience.  At a young age, my aunt passed away from cancer. Her name was Milagros. As you can imagine, moments like these have a tendency to influence what we hope to change for the better. I ended up on the path of epidemiology because of its focus on preventing or controlling diseases by understanding why they occur within populations. It is a field that recognizes that behind each data point is a person’s friend or loved one or someone else’s Milagros.

Fast-forward to today. I am proudly steeped in the field of quantitative sciences (QS).  This meaningful work has afforded me numerous opportunities to learn about large-scale data analysis and evaluation— from leading academic institutions to a pioneer in the field of real-world evidence (RWE), Flatiron Health. With more than a decade in academia and industry answering complicated research questions with real-world data (RWD), I have now stepped into a new and exciting venture, leading the QS team at Verana Health. Our team’s mandate is to:

  • Develop and implement rigorous methodology to generate sound scientific evidence from RWD
  • Foster cross-functional collaboration to move forward innovative solutions
  • Engage as thought leaders with our commercial partners and the broader scientific community
  • Impact patient care and physician decision-making

With the evolution of electronic health records (EHRs), everyday interactions in the healthcare system can provide hundreds of thousands of meaningful insights and opportunities to learn as well as have impact across many patients and physicians. The QS team at Verana Health is readily taking on the challenge of gathering, assessing, and evaluating those de-identified data.

“ Every dataset has a story … The reason for understanding where the data come from is twofold: first, understanding how the data are generated, their purpose, and generation processes will guide your investigation. Second, understanding the inherent biases in the data gives you a chance to correct them or adjust your results and recommendations.” Faghmous and Kumar*

Interdisciplinary Team Driven by Data Empathy

With the cornerstones of clinical applications, methods development, and machine learning, the newly-formed QS team at Verana Health is seeking to improve clinical research, physician decision-making, and patient care.

At the nexus of what we do is a strong focus on data empathy—understanding where and how the data we evaluate is generated and how those factors impact data quality and potential biases. Inherent in this approach is creativity and quantitative expertise from a variety of fields. By utilizing our diverse skill sets—including epidemiology, biostatistics, and data science—our expanding QS team seeks to approach the challenges of generating sound RWE with innovative and meticulous solutions.

As we pursue this vision, we are adding a strong QS foundation to Verana Health to strengthen the analytics impact we can make in the therapeutic areas we serve: ophthalmology, urology, and neurology.

The potential of using QS to tackle problems that no one has addressed yet and to bring RWE into sound regulatory standing drives our future growth. By focusing on developing innovative methodologies and engaging with the broader scientific and medical communities, we look to drive the potential of real-world data into real-world impact.

Interested in Joining Verana Health?

We’re experiencing rapid growth, which means we’re actively hiring! If you want to make a difference in healthcare through data, Verana Health may be the place for you.

View Our Job Openings

*A Big Data Guide to Understanding Climate Change: The Case for Theory-Guided Data Science

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