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Dr. Campbell receives international award | Newsroom


Scott Campbell, PhD, associate professor in the UNMC Department of Pathology and Microbiology, has been awarded the 2023 SNOMED International Award for Excellence.

Dr. Campbell received the award on Oct. 24 at the SNOMED International 2023 Awards Gala in Atlanta.

SNOMED (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine) is an international standard development organization and the comprehensive medical terminology in the world. The standard is used in 47 nations, covering most of the Americas, Europe and Australasia. 

The award marks the culmination of a nearly decade-long effort that began when Dr. Campbell and colleague James Campbell, MD (no relation), essentially crashed a high-level SNOMED meeting in 2014.

Their pitch?

To develop all the necessary SNOMED concepts to render cancer pathology reports computable. Cancer pathology data sets are called cancer synoptic reports in the United States, published by the College of American Pathologists, and are required to be used for all cancer resections. Internationally, similar data sets are published by the Royal Colleges and the International Collaboration on Cancer Reporting and are very similar.

Information in the cancer synoptic report includes: histology type and grade, location, size, areas invaded by the tumor, presence of tumor at the surgical margins and other facets of the tumor that affect prognosis.

“Ultimately, all that information is used to stage the tumor and provide diagnostic but, more importantly, prognostic information about the patient.”

The goal was to evolve the reporting, adding a data layer that would provide diagnostic and prognostic insights into a patient’s condition by using the revised SNOMED CT datasets. This approach supports clinical decision support in the EHR, automated reporting to cancer registries and provides the data layer to support translational science.

“We captured all Nebraska Medicine data in colorectal cancers, melanoma and breast cancer this way for almost 10 years,” Dr. Campbell said. “And in 2023, just within the last few months, we have finished all terminology for all solid tumors, adult and pediatric, as represented by the College of American Pathologists. That represents almost 24,000 rows of data elements, which are extensible to the Royal Colleges and the International Collaboration on Cancer Reporting.”

Currently, Dr. Campbell and his colleagues are working on finetuning the programing and the datasets, but also exploring next steps.

“We have addressed immunohistochemistry, but we haven’t addressed (other) aspects of genomics yet, and we still have things to do to make it easier to implement,” he said. “But it’s time to pivot to education, training our colleagues how to use this effectively and get the most from it. We want to give our user community the knowledge and the understanding of the tools that have been developed, so they can maintain them and advance them further in the future.”

Joseph Khoury, MD, chair of the UNMC Department of Pathology and Microbiology, described Dr. Campbell as a rock star.

“Dr. Campbell’s hard work and passion to promote harmonization of cancer data is unparalleled,” he said. “His work is recognized globally in virtually all circles where cancer data and medical terminology harmonization is essential. These circles include — in addition to SNOMED — the College of American Pathologists, U.S. National Cancer Institute, World Health Organization International Classification of Diseases for Oncology and others.

“I am proud of Scott and his accomplishments, and I cannot think of anyone more deserving of the 2023 SNOMED International Award for Excellence given his tremendous contributions to the field.”



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