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Health Policy


In conjunction with our tenure as the USRDS Coordinating Center, we served as the Special Studies Center for Cardiovascular Disease. Our research continues to focus on patients with kidney disease and their outcomes following clinical and pharmacological cardiovascular interventions.

Our expertise in kidney disease is evidenced by our 14-year tenure as the Coordinating Center for the U.S. Renal Data System (USRDS). Through our observational studies, we have worked to improve awareness and treatment of chronic kidney disease and assure that renal replacement therapy is delivered in a safe and effective manner.

In addition to outcomes analyses on end-stage renal disease patients who receive a renal transplant, we currently administer the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR, www.srtr.org), evaluating the status of solid organ transplants in the United States.

Members of our group conduct and coordinate health services research. We provide expert assistance on epidemiological and clinical study design, evaluate quality of care, assess the use of pharmaceuticals, and analyze major diseases and the economic burden they create.

Our research in the area of oncology has provided valuable insights into the incidence and effects of cancer in patients with end-stage renal disease. We continue to evaluate rates of cancer and its effect on this vulnerable population.

The United States healthcare system is in a constant state of flux. We have the expertise to evaluate changes in the delivery of healthcare and the effects these changes have on patient well-being.

Who we are

Our mission is to improve patient care & the health of our community through research & education

Using our expertise in health care research, we conduct clinical and epidemiological studies into major high-risk and chronic diseases and examine long and short-term patient outcomes, important changes in clinical practice, and implications on health economics and policy.

Grounding this work is our experience managing large administrative, claims, pharmaceutical, and disease-specific datasets (representing 5–6 million lives each year), building flexible and expandable databases, developing innovative analytical approaches, and carrying out long-range observational studies.

What we do

CDRG is an interdisciplinary, clinician-guided biomedical research group committed to the investigation of chronic illnesses to improve public health. We seek to heighten awareness of issues and treatment concerns, affect decisions about patient care, and improve clinical outcomes worldwide. As a nonprofit organization, our strength rests on the integrity of our research practices and our commitment to patient health and well-being.

We evaluate healthcare and healthcare systems and identify trends. In cooperation with corporate, academic, and government partners, our team conducts research into clinical practices and treatment outcomes.


CDRG is the largest division of the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF)—a subsidiary of Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc., and the research arm of Hennepin County Medical Center.

MMRF is the third-largest nonprofit medical research organization in Minnesota, and ranks in the top seven percent of all institutions receiving research funding from the NIH.


Our research is guided by physicians, clinical specialists, and researchers with experience in nephrology, cardiology, transplantation,  clinical trials, and the complexities of working with large databases.


    Our investigators, experienced with observational studies using large administrative databases and with clinical trials, are also clinical specialists in pharmacy, end-stage renal disease, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, clinical cardiology, and diabetes, and have additional expertise in health policy and epidemiology.

  • Allan J Collins, MD, FACP  |  Nephrology

    Dr. Collins, the Director of CDRG and Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, has more than 30 years of experience in nephrology and ESRD treatment. His clinical experience and research have focused on acute and chronic care of ESRD patients and prospective and retrospective clinical studies on dialysis techniques and associated outcomes. He has also worked extensively with high-efficiency dialysis and therapy prescription, the technical elements of dialysis, billing systems (ICD-10 and CPT-4 claims elements), and computer systems and operations.

  • Charles A Herzog, MD  |  Cardiology

    Dr. Herzog is a cardiologist at Hennepin County Medical Center  and Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota. He has served as the cardiology consultant to the ESRD program at HCMC since 1985, and as the director of the cardiac ultrasound laboratory since 1997. His research includes cardiovascular outcomes in patients with CKD; survival of ESRD patients after acute myocardial infarction, coronary revascularization, valvular heart surgery, and bacterial endocarditis; and the epidemiology of sudden cardiac death in dialysis patients.

  • Bertram L Kasiske, MD  |  Transplantation

    Dr. Kasiske is Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota and Director of the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients. He also serves as Director of the Division of Nephrology at Hennepin County Medical Center.

  • James Wetmore, MD, MS  |  Nephrology

    Dr. Wetmore is currently investigating the association of cardiovascular outcomes in chronic dialysis patients using large administrative databases (e.g., Medicare and Medicaid). He is the PI on an NIDDK K23 examining the benefits and risks of warfarin anticoagulation for stroke prevention in dialysis patients with chronic atrial fibrillation, and was key personnel on a grant investigating the association between cardioprotective antihypertensive medication use and outcomes in dialysis patients. He has also authored numerous publications on geographic variations and racial disparities in dialysis outcomes in dialysis.

  • Ajay K Israni, MD, MS   |  Transplantation & nephrology

    Dr. Israni has extensive experience in conducting epidemiology studies in the area of solid organ transplantation, particularly with use of administrative datasets such as OPTN/SRTR data. He has conducted epidemiology research and published in the areas of kidney, kidney-pancreas, liver, and heart transplantation, and was awarded the Young Investigator Award for the American Transplant Congress in 2004. He currently serves as Deputy Project Director for the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR).


    CDRG collaborates with additional physician investigators both within and outside of the Hennepin Health System for a comprehensive clinical perspective on our projects and programs.


    Our investigators, experienced with observational studies using large administrative databases and with clinical trials, are also clinical specialists in pharmacy, end-stage renal disease, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, clinical cardiology, diabetes, and with additional expertise in health policy and epidemiology.

  • David T Gilbertson, PhD  |  Biostatistics & epidemiology

    Dr. Gilbertson, PhD, is a biostatistician experienced in the use of large and merged data sets. His current professional interests include the application of multi-state models to observational epidemiologic analyses, the use of Marginal Structural Models to assess the impact of time-varying covariates in the presence of time-varying confounders, the development of methods to assess and account for bias in observational epidemiologic analyses, the use of propensity scores in observational epidemiologic studies, and the use of instrumental variables in observational epidemiologic studies.

  • Shuling Li, PhD  |  Cancer epidemiology

    Dr. Li has thorough knowledge and valuable experience in using Medical claims data, applying statistical methods in medical research, and designing/conducting epidemiologic studies. Her research interests center on cardiovascular epidemiology, cancer epidemiology, and the late effects of cancer therapy, in particular, cardiotoxicity and nephrotoxicity of chemotherapy in cancer survivors.

  • Suying Li, PhD  |  Health Policy & economics

    Dr. Li has broad experience in health economics and biostatistics methodology, including log-transformed regression models with smearing estimates, multilevel mixed-effects regression models, survival models, and instrumental variable techniques. As an NIH-funded health economist, she is also skilled in the use of cost data. She has more than 60 lead author and co-author publications in peer-reviewed journals, addressing clinical outcomes and Medicare expenditures in dialysis patients, CKD risk factors and outcomes in populations at high risk for CKD, and diabetes care and related outcomes.

  • Jiannong Liu, PhD  |  Biostatistics & methodology

    Dr. Liu’s research interest is in the development of statistical methodology for observational data analyses among kidney disease patients, with an emphasis on disease mapping, health care profiling, comorbidity burdens, bias correction, and clinical outcomes analyses. He has developed an ESRD comorbidity scoring system, Bayesian Standardized Mortality Ratio methods, and additional modified Bayesian approaches. Dr. Liu has published more than 40 peer-reviewed journal articles, and is an editorial board member for Kidney International and The Scientific World Journal, Nephrology.

  • Wendy L St. Peter, PharmD  |  Pharmacoepidemiology

    Dr. St. Peter is a Professor of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota, and has more than 23 years experience in nephrology pharmacy practice. Her research includes work on the clinical and cost impact of medications for bone and mineral disorders in chronic kidney disease patients, Medicare Part D enrollment and medication use patterns, and the effect of medications and medication therapy management on these patients. She served on the Technical Expert Panel for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the ESRD Outpatient Medications Project, and was a member of the Drug Utilization Review Board for the Minnesota Medicaid Program.

  • Jon J Snyder, PhD, MS  |  Transplantation

    Dr. Snyder oversees epidemiologic investigations of the renal transplant population. He has worked extensively with data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network and with administrative and claims databases. His recent research has focused on outcomes modeling in the renal transplant population. He served as co-investigator on the "Predicting Outcomes in Renal Transplantation" (PORT) study, which collated and analyzed data on more than 35,000 renal transplant patients from 14  programs in 9 countries, and directs analytic operations of the North Central Donor Exchange Cooperative.

  • Craig Solid, PhD  |  Health economics & nephrology

    Dr. Solid has extensive training in the fields of biostatistics and health economics, and experience with a variety of analyses. These include cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analyses, Heckman-correction techniques to account for selection bias, data transformation, survival models, and instrumental variable techniques. His experience includes studies in the clinical areas of anemia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and oncology.

  • Akeem Yusuf, PhD  |  Pharmacoepidemiology

    Dr. Yusuf began his career as a hospital pharmacist focused on medication use in ambulatory care settings. Since 2008, he has transitioned to research activities related to understanding the scientific and humanistic bases for understanding and influencing medication use, non-use, and misuse. He has employed survey research, content analysis, and secondary database analysis to address these issues at the individual patient level, specific disease level, and population level. He has an active interest in medication adherence and comparative effectiveness research.


Allan J Collins, MD, FACP  Director, CDRG     David T Gilbertson, PhD  Co-Director, CDRG

Adrine Chung, MBA  Director of Operations     Shu-Cheng Chen, MS, MPH  Director of Data Systems & IT


914 south 8th st.,  suite s4.100  |  minneapolis mn  |  55404

 612 873 6200  |  www.cdrg.org

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