Sarah Ben Maamar
Associate Director for Research Services
Weill Cornell Medicine
Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) have an immediate need for secure environments to analyze massive datasets containing sensitive information, such as patient health data from records or external data from entities like the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). To meet this demand, WCM’s Samuel J. Wood Library, in conjunction with the WCM infrastructure and cloud engineering teams, has established a secure computational data enclave known as “Data Core.” The Wood Library team administers the environment, ensuring all data governance agreements are current and approved by the institutional review board. The Wood Library team also serves as the data custodian, interacts with data providers, and ensures appropriate data governance for the data it stewards. Data Core provides computing power in a controlled environment, along with scientific software and scalable memory, catering to research projects with substantial computational requirements. Initially, it primarily served Population Health Science researchers dealing with extensive datasets for healthcare improvement. Today, Data Core supports nearly 100 projects from various departments, accommodating individual users, research teams, and entire classrooms. Researchers are billed for their usage, covering expenses related to staffing, software, and servers, ensuring sustainable support for the service. The Data Core has been certified by CMS to host its massive patient health datasets for both on-premise and cloud environments, providing cost-effective choices depending on researcher needs. This project briefing will discuss the administration and value of a secure platform for the analysis of large and sensitive datasets.