My Cancer Genome

Using its expertise in health literacy and learning styles, the Center for Knowledge Management (CKM) collaborated with VUMC’s My Cancer Genome (MCG) team to explore strategies for optimizing the delivery of health information for patients and healthcare providers.  My Cancer Genome is a website that was developed at Vanderbilt that provides information about cancer tumor mutations and therapies.  The two research projects in which CKM collaborated with MCG are summarized below.

In an effort partially funded through a federal grant (IMLS LG-06-13-0180-13), CKM developed a reusable framework for generating consumer-level information for use in precision medicine.  The model incorporated both health literacy and learning style principles.  As part of the project, CKM developed brief videos, called knowledge pearls, to educate the public about genetic and cancer medicine terminology.  The knowledge pearls were designed for reuse in multiple applications. CKM also translated content from the MCG website regarding tumor mutations in melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer in addition to content about precision cancer medicine and targeted therapies into a patient-friendly format.  Links to the knowledge pearl videos were embedded in the consumer content.  Through two randomized controlled trials held with cancer patients and caregivers, CKM demonstrated the educational effectiveness of the consumer translations.1,2  CKM is currently working to translate information from MCG about five additional cancer types using the model developed as part of the research project.  CKM is also working to increase access to the knowledge pearls database and plans to make the resource available in Spanish. 

Over the past year, CKM collaborated with MCG to study the use of learning styles to improve provider understanding of information about strategies for overcoming resistance to endocrine therapy in ER+ breast cancer.  The project was funded by a Pfizer Independent Grant for Learning & Change.  As part of the project, educational information was developed for use on the MCG website in several different formats consistent with different learning styles.  A trial was then held to evaluate the learning style preferences of healthcare providers and whether providing tailored educational content based on learning style preferences is more effective at improving provider understanding of the information than when it is given in a standard format.


1Giuse NB, Kusnoor SV, Koonce TY, Naylor HM, Chen S, Blasingame M, Anderson IA, Micheel CM, Levy MA, Ye F, Lovly CM. Guiding Oncology Patients through the Maze of Precision Medicine. J Health Commun. Apr 4;21(Supplement 1):5-17.

2Kusnoor SV, Koonce TY, Levy MA, Lovly CM, Naylor HM, Anderson IA, Micheel CM, Chen SC, Ye F, Giuse NB. My Cancer Genome: Evaluating an Educational Model to Introduce Patients and Caregivers to Precision Medicine Information. AMIA Jt Summits Transl Sci Proc. 2016 Jul 20;2016:112-21.