Debra P. Ritzwoller, PhD

Senior Investigator

Debra P. Ritzwoller, PhD, is an Economist and Senior Investigator at the Institute for Health Research. She leads a research agenda that focuses on optimizing cancer care delivery in community settings. She has more than two decades of experience conducting research on cancer related screening, diagnosis, treatment, utilization, outcomes, and costs within community-based healthcare systems. In addition, her research portfolio includes studies that examine the impact of insurance benefit design on patient cost-sharing, and cost estimation within implementation science initiatives.

As an economist and health services researcher, she has served as a Principal Investigator or Co-investigator on more than a dozen large, complex, multi-site studies. Currently, Dr. Ritzwoller is the Principal Investigator (PI), of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) funded Lung PROSPR Research Center (Lung-PRC) to improve lung cancer screening. The long-term goal of this multi-site center grant is to identify critical gaps in the lung cancer screening (LCS) process that will inform multilevel interventions to improve quality and reduce lung cancer mortality, particularly among underserved populations. She is also a co-Investigator on the NCI funded Colorado Implementation Science Center for Cancer Control (COISC3), serving as the co-lead of the Lung Cancer Screening Pilot Implementation Core, and co-chair of the Cost Estimation and Methods Core. Dr. Ritzwoller is also the Site-PI for the KPCO NCI Community Oncology Program (NCORP), Cancer Care Delivery Research (CCDR) grant and previously served as a member of the NCI-CCCT CCDR Steering Committee, and co-chaired the NRG CCDR Steering Committee. She also serves as a co-Investigator on several other cancer and LCS related projects that address cancer recurrence, management of lung nodules, LCS quality metrics, and comparative modeling approaches. Additionally, she is collaborating with national leaders in implementation science and with research teams studying implementation initiatives in a variety of topical areas, including lung cancer screening, asthma care management, and behavioral economics. In response to changes in healthcare delivery that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Ritzwoller recently published several studies related to healthcare systems' transition to telehealth venues of care, and how this shift has impacted healthcare, quality, utilization and costs.

Dr. Ritzwoller earned her PhD and master's degrees in economics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She also serves in an Adjunct Faculty Position in the Department of Health Systems, Management, and Policy at the University of Colorado School of Public Health.

Selected Research:

  • The Lung PROSPR Research Center (Lung-PRC)
    • Funder: National Cancer Institute
    • Award End Date: 03/31/2023

  • Optimizing Lung Cancer Screening Nodule Evaluation
    • Funder: National Cancer Institute
    • Award End Date: 07/31/2026

  • Kaiser Permanente NCI National Community Oncology Research Program, NCORP, CCDR
    • Funder: National Cancer Institute
    • Award End Date: 07/31/2025

  • Practical Implementation Science Approaches to Assess and Enhance Value of Cancer Prevention and Control in Rural Primary Care
    • Funder: National Cancer Institute
    • Award End Date: 08/31/2024

  • Pragmatic Trial of More versus Less Intensive Strategies for Active Surveillance of Patients with Small Pulmonary Nodules
    • Funder: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
    • Award End Date: 01/31/2024

  •  Improving Diagnostic Quality and Safety in Lung Cancer Screening
    • Funder: Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation
    • Award End Date: 06/30/2022