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Target Trials: Emulating RCTs using Observational Longitudinal Data
March 9 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Department of Epidemiology Seminar Series
Open to the public.
James Robins, MD
Mitchell L. and Robin LaFoley Dong Professor of Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Abstract: Target trials are RCTs one would like to conduct but cannot for ethical, financial, and/or logistical reasons. As a consequence, we must emulate such trials from observational data. A novel aspect of target trial methodology is that, for purposes of data analysis, each subject in the observational study is ‘enrolled’ in all target trials for which the subject is eligible, instead of a single trial. I will describe new theoretical results of target trial methodology that puts the methodology on a much more rigorous footing. Having done that, I will compare the strengths and weakness of the target trial approach with alternative methods for estimation of causal effects from longitudinal data with time varying confounders: structural nested models, dynamic marginal structural models, and history adjusted marginal structural models.