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Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

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Personal profile

Research Interests

Dr. Odell specializes in the treatment of Lung Cancer, Esophageal Cancer and other thoracic malignancies as well as benign disorders of the foregut including achalasia, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and hiatal hernia. He has a particular interest in minimally invasive approaches to surgical treatment of these conditions and completed an advanced fellowship in Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery. In addition, Dr. Odell is a member of the lung transplant program, caring for patients with end-stage lung disease.

Dr. Odell is a fellowship-trained general thoracic surgeon. His clinical practice is focused on thoracic oncology, dovetailing with his research interest in healthcare systems and quality improvement in cancer care. Dr. Odell has developed expertise in thoracic oncology with over 20 years of training and experience. He completed medical training at the University of Washington School of Medicine and then went on to an academic residency in general surgery at Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). Following general surgery training, He enrolled in the Clinical Investigator Training Program at Harvard Medical School, receiving a Master's degree. He then went on to Thoracic Surgery fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center where he also did advanced fellowships in Minimally Invasive Thoracic Oncology and Lung Transplantation. Dr. Odell began his career on the faculty at UPMC and was recruited to Northwestern in 2015.

As a health services researcher, my work focuses on research in cancer care delivery, healthcare quality, patient safety, and process improvement with a particular focus on the application of these principles to thoracic oncology. I have focused my research efforts on the study of cancer care delivery in lung cancer as this both addresses a significant disease entity and aligns well with my clinical practice, allowing me to leverage my clinical and academic expertise. As a member of SOQIC, I hold a faculty appointment in the Center for Healthcare Studies (CHS) and the Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM) at the Feinberg School of Medicine. As a principle investigator, I have secured over $1,000,000 in extramural funding to support my research in lung cancer care delivery, including grants from both major North American thoracic surgery societies and the American College of Surgeons. My current work centers on the development of novel strategies to improve the delivery of lung cancer care. I lead a national Delphi process, sponsored by the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), to define quality measures for lung cancer care. My lab is now employing these measures to assess of hospital-level performance in lung cancer care delivery both nationally and throughout Illinois. This effort has resulted in the formation of a lung cancer collaborative within the existing Illinois Surgical Quality Improvement Collaborative (ISQIC). I have been a co-investigator in ISQIC since my arrival at Northwestern and have participated in large scale quality improvement projects related to venous thromboembolism prevention and blood transfusion as well as contributing to the academic assessment of the collaborative. This exposure to the collaborative model of quality improvement has underscored its potential for use to similarly improve systems of care for cancer; and has motivated the development of my interest in bringing the principles of quality improvement and implementation science to improve the delivery of lung cancer care. Our lab now focuses on harnessing the potential for regional collaboration to drive healthcare quality improvement, benefitting both providers and patients. I have combined my clinical background as a thoracic oncologist and lung cancer outcomes researcher with interest in developing strategies to improve lung cancer care utilizing a collaborative quality improvement model. The resulting scientific goals include: • Utilizing the existing ISQIC infrastructure to collect high-quality data for cancer quality improvement • Understanding the barriers to the delivery of evidence-based treatment in lung cancer; specifically as they relate to the local context where care is delivered • Informed development and evaluation of strategies to improve the dissemination of evidence-based lung cancer care. My ultimate goal is to develop a center focused on clinical research in lung cancer care delivery with goals of (1) better understanding barriers to the delivery of high-quality cancer care and the development of tools to overcome these barriers and (2) developing a clear understanding of patient-centered goals of care and corresponding measures of quality. I also look forward to using these skills to become a mentor for the next generation of surgeon scientists in health services research.

Certifications and Licenses

Thoracic Surgery
General Surgery

Training Experience

2005Internship, Virginia Mason Hospital
2005Residency, Virginia Mason Hospital
2009Residency, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston
2011Postdoctoral Fellowship, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
2012Residency, University of Minnesota
2013Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh
2013Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh
2013Residency, University of Pittsburgh

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

MMSc, Clinical Investigation, Harvard Medical School

… → 2011

MD, Medicine, University of Washington Medical School

… → 2004

Research interests

  • Cancer Survivorship
  • Hernias / Hiatal Hernia
  • Lung Cancer / Chest Cancer
  • Lung Cancer Screening
  • Lung Nodules
  • Mediastinal Adenopathy
  • Medical Education
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery
  • Robotic Surgery
  • Tracheal Stenosis
  • Transplantation
  • Digestive Cancer (esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum)


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