About Us

CLEAR Center Overview

The UW CLEAR Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders was initially funded in 2017 by a P30 grant from the National Institute of Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). The overall goal of the UW CLEAR Center is to help transition health care delivery organizations into learning healthcare systems by developing scientifically rigorous, state-of-the-art methods and resources for translating clinical data into research-ready data for musculoskeletal conditions.

The UW CLEAR Center has 3 cores. The Administrative Core provides overall guidance and direction for the Center as well as overseeing the Pilot & Feasibility Program. The Methodology Core leads the development of methods for clinical research, data management, and data analysis. It also oversees the educational efforts of the Center. The Resource Core manages existing data resources and promotes the use of these resources by the musculoskeletal research community.

CLEAR Center History

The University of Washington (UW) Clinical Learning, Evidence and Research (CLEAR) Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders evolved from longstanding partnerships among a multidisciplinary group of investigators at the UW and other partner institutions.

Our group is building on over 20 years of experience conducting musculoskeletal clinical research. Our research group was originally founded by Richard A. Deyo, MD MPH as part of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research Patient Outcomes Research Team, the Back pain Outcomes Assessment Team (BOAT). Dr. Deyo established the Cost and Outcomes Research Center (CCOR) which later transitioned to the Comparative Effectiveness, Cost and Outcomes Research Center (CECORC) under the leadership of Jeffrey G. Jarvik, MD MPH. CCOR was the home of the NIAMS-funded Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Center (MCRC) focused on back and upper extremity pain. Two major studies that resulted from the MCRC were a randomized clinical trial of surgery vs. conservative therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome and an observational cohort comparing surgical with non-surgical treatment for patients with discogenic low back pain. Over time the CECORC investigators developed further collaborations both within UW with the Center of Biomedical Statistics under the direction of Dr. Patrick Heagerty, as well as other institutions, expanding the network of collaborating investigators.

CECORC has since been the home center for several other large clinical studies including the AHRQ-funded Back pain Outcomes using Longitudinal Data (BOLD) study, the AHRQ-funded Lumbar Epidural Steroid injections for spinal Stenosis (LESS) trial, and the NIH-funded Lumbar Imaging with Reporting of Epidemiology (LIRE) trial.

In 2017, CECORC received a 5 year, $3.75 million grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases to establish a Core Center for Clinical Research to promote musculoskeletal clinical research. The CLEAR Center exists to catalyze high-quality, multi-institutional collaborations by improving methods for conducting clinical musculoskeletal studies and by providing analysis-ready data for scientific investigators.