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Research Fellows

Alex Fisher, MD, MS Portrait of Alexander Fisher, MD, MS
I am a general surgery resident currently dedicating two years toward research at the Wisconsin Surgical Outcomes Research Program (WiSOR) with a focus in the areas of surgical oncology and health services research. I graduated from medical school at the University of Cincinnati where I started to become involved with both basic science research and clinical research regarding surgical readmission. My current interests include surgical readmission, transitions of care, oncologic outcomes research, and cost-effectiveness studies. I was awarded a 2-year grant from the American College of Surgeons to work with my research mentor, Dr. Sharon Weber, to study the design and implementation of a post-operative transitional care protocol following complex abdominal surgery. This phone-based protocol involves a specialized nurse who follows the patient closely after discharge and is designed to prevent readmission and reduce health care utilization in the early post-operative period.

In addition, I am interested in studying oncologic outcomes using multi-institutional databases from the Central Pancreas Consortium and national databases such as the American College of Surgeon’s National Cancer Database. I work with large insurance claims databases in order to derive in order study the cost associated with cancer treatment and surveillance. My long-term goals are to pursue a fellowship in surgical oncology and to continue health services research during my career.

Joseph Imbus, MD Portrait of Joseph Imbus, MD
I attended The Ohio State University for my undergraduate studies, completing a degree in Biology and General Business minor. While at Ohio State, I worked as a research assistant in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, contributing to research focused on the development of an ischemic heart failure model. Thereafter, I attended medical school at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, where my interest in surgery developed, ultimately bringing me to the University of Wisconsin for surgical training in 2014.

With two clinical years of residency completed, I am now spending two years conducting outcomes research under the mentorship of Dr. David Schneider within the Wisconsin Surgical Outcomes Research Program. Our group investigates the optimization of endocrine surgical care, utilizing large national databases as well as informatics tools. Currently, we are creating a clinical decision support tool for indeterminate thyroid nodules using informatics tools like natural language processing and machine learning. Other current work includes a project using machine learning methods to aid management of parathyroid disease, a systematic review on clinical decision support tools, and a project utilizing the HCUP national databases. In addition, I am pursuing a master’s degree in Population Health through the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Rebecca Gunter, MD Gunter_Becca_web_profile
My two years as a WiSOR research fellow will be spent with the vascular surgery outcomes research group. I completed my undergraduate degree in Sociology at Miami University in Oxford, OH. I took a year off after college, 6 months of which was spent in Guatemala in a Spanish immersion program and volunteering in a local clinic. I then obtained my medical degree at Emory University in Atlanta. During my time there, I worked with Dr. Vinod Thourani, MD in his research on transcatheter aortic valve replacement.

I came to the University of Wisconsin in 2013 to begin my general surgery residency. I chose to join the vascular surgery outcomes research group, which has been focused on reducing hospital readmission in vascular and general surgery patients and in improving transitions of care in the immediate post-discharge period. We are currently in the early stages of a clinical trial using Smartphone technology for the early detection and treatment of wound complications.

Lauren Taylor, MD Taylor_189x200
I am currently taking time away from my training as a general surgery resident at the University of Wisconsin to spend two years in the WiSOR program doing health services research under the mentorship of Dr. Gretchen Schwarze. I completed my undergraduate degree in Economics at Northwestern University and went on to attend medical school at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine (2013). While at Northwestern I was involved in both basic science research studying circadian rhythms using a drosophila fly model, as well as clinical research in the field of pediatric regional anesthesia. Currently, I am interested in acute surgical decision making and examining long-term results for patients who have had high-risk operations. To this end, we are investigating the use of a novel communication tool for surgeons to improve peri-operative decision making, particularly for discussing high risk operations with elderly patients. In addition, I am pursuing a Certificate in Clinical Research through the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.


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