Farwa Asim received her medical degree from Shifa College of Medicine, Pakistan in the year 2018. She has since worked as a clinical assistant at multiple private clinics in the US and is currently working towards obtaining a residency position in Internal Medicine. Her primary interest has always been related to Rheumatology and she wishes to specialize in this field, as her medical career advances.
In 2022, Farwa started working on a research project at Section for Biostatistics and Evidence-Based Research, the Parker Institute. The project is part of a global initiative within the organization ’Outcome Measures in Rheumatology’ (OMERACT), where she is a member of the ‘Contextual Factors Working Group’ (CFWG). Together with Dr. Sabrina M. Nielsen, MSc, PhD (Biostatistician) and other colleagues at Section for Biostatistics and Evidence-Based Research, she conducts her research investigating Effect Modifying Contextual Factors in rheumatological trials.
Evidence-based medicine is essential for developing clinical guidelines, and, hence, shapes clinical practice. However, an (average) overall treatment effect estimate from a clinical trial may not be valid for deciding what treatment is best for an individual and is therefore not necessarily cost-effective. Statistical analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) yield a causally valid estimate of the overall treatment effect, which is the contrast between the outcomes in two randomized treatment groups commonly accompanied by a confidence interval. In addition, the trial investigators may want to examine whether the observed treatment effect varies across patient subgroups (also called ‘heterogeneity of treatment effects’), i.e. whether the treatment effect is modified by the value of a variable assessed at baseline.
This leaves a potential for exploring what characterizes the patients who benefit from a treatment and those who do not, and subsequently match patient subgroups with the treatment that best suits them. In the OMERACT CFWG (https://omeract.org/working-groups/contextual-factors/), Farwa is, together with Midhat Kamal, the main investigator on a scoping review that contributes to identifying such characteristics (i.e. Effect Modifying Contextual Factors) to be considered in clinical trials, to facilitate research on stratified medicine.