Cristina M. Murray-Krezan, PhD, MS, BS

  • Associate Professor of Medicine
  • Co-Director, Center for Clinical Trials & Data Coordination
  • Associate Director for Clinical Trials, CRHC Data Center

Cristina Murray-Krezan, PhD, joined the Pitt faculty in September 2021 as a Biostatistician and Associate Professor of Medicine and Clinical and Translational Science. With expertise in clinical trials and complex study designs, she was appointed Co-Director of the Center for Clinical Trials and Data Coordination and Associate Director for Clinical Trials in the Center for Research on Health Care Data Center. Her research interests include integrating medical and behavioral treatments for substance use disorders and has a particular interest in work that aims to promote health equity and accessibility in underserved and marginalized populations.

Dr. Murray-Krezan is Co-Chair of the PCORI Clinical Trials Advisory Panel. She serves on two committees for the Society for Clinical Trials and is a longtime member of the American Statistical Association and the International Biometric Society. In 2016, she co-founded the University of New Mexico Statistics and Data Coordinating Center and served as its Director from 2016-2021. Prior to her academic career, she was a biostatistician at Emmes in Rockville, MD where she worked in early phase vaccine and treatment trials for malaria and other tropical diseases.

Dr. Murray-Krezan plays the flute and piano and still sometimes dreams of getting a MM in flute performance. After running two marathons and several half-marathons in the 2010s, she moved on to hiking and is now working her way through the belt ranks of taekwondo.

Education & Training

  • BS, Astrophysics, University of New Mexico, 2001
  • MS, Statistics, University of Virginia, 2006
  • PhD, Statistics, University of New Mexico, 2021

Representative Publications

Murray-Krezan C, Dopp A, Tarhuni L, Carmody MD, Becker K, Anderson J, Komaromy M, Meredith LS, Watkins KE, Wagner K, Page K; CLARO Study Group. Screening for opioid use disorder and co-occurring depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in primary care in New Mexico. Addict Sci Clin Pract. 2023 Jan 27;18(1):6.

We performed a feasibility and pilot study to assess the effectiveness of universal screening of primary care patients to identify those with probable opioid use disorder (OUD) and co-occurring depression and/or PTSD. We compared the prevalence of these disorders identified through universal screening to rates from EHR diagnoses and found a 38% higher prevalence of probable depression, over 5 times as many patients with probable PTSD, and nearly 3 times as many patients with probable OUD and co-occurring depression and/or PTSD. We conclude that universal screening for these disorders is feasible and there are likely gaps in identification of these disorders in primary care services. This study was performed as precursory work before starting recruitment for a randomized controlled trial testing a collaborative care intervention vs. usual care for patients in the primary care setting who have OUD and co-occurring mental health disorders (depression and/or PTSD), the “CLARO” study.

Erhardt E, Murray-Krezan C, Regino L, Perez D, Bearer EL, Page-Reeves J. Associations between depression and diabetes among Latinx patient from low-income households in New Mexico. Soc Sci Med. 2023 Mar;320:115713.

In a patient-centered, community engaged comparative effectiveness study of diabetes self-management outcomes in a Latinx population, we found that across all participants, those with higher A1c were more likely to have increased depressive symptoms. The participants that engaged in a culturally and contextually situated program (“CCM”) experienced a decrease in depressive symptoms and sustained it through 12 months compared to those in a standard of care program (“DSMS”). Additionally, the CCM participants with very high A1c at baseline (>14%) decreased their A1c to <10% by the end of the study while the DSMS participants had smaller decreases.

Litwin AH, Lum PJ, Tayler LE, Mehta SH, Tsui JI, Feinberg J, Kim AY, Norton BL, Heo M, Arnsten J, Meissner P, Karasz A, Mckee MD, Ward JW, Johnson N, Pericot-Valverde I, Agyemang L, Stein ES, Thomas A, Borsuk C, Blalock KL, Wilkinson S, Wagner K, Roche J, Murray-Krezan C, Anderson J, Jacobsohn V, Luetkemeyer AF, Falade-Nwulia O, Page, K; HERO Study Group. Patient-centred models of hepatitis C treatment for people who inject drugs: A multicentre, pragmatic randomised trial. Lancet Gastroenterol Heptaol. 2020 Dec;7(12):1112-1127.

We describe the primary findings from the HERO study, a pragmatic comparative effectiveness RCT for two treatment models, patient navigation (PN) vs. modified directly observed therapy (mDOT), for hepatitis C treatment in people who inject drugs (PWID). The primary outcome was sustained virologic response (SVR). Patients in both models achieved high SVR rates, although those in mDOT had better adherence to their medications. Overall, increases in adherence and treatment completion were associated with an increased likelihood of SVR. These results suggest that active PWID can reach high SVRs in diverse settings with either mDOT or PN support.

Ober AJ, Murray-Krezan C, Page K, Friedmann PD, Chan Osilla K, Ryzeqicz S, Huerta S, Mazer MW, Leamon I, Messineo G, Watkins KE, Nuckols T, Danovitch I. The Substance Use Treatment and Recovery Team (START) study: Protocol for a multi-site randomized controlled trial evaluating an intervention to improve initiation of medication and linkage to post-discharge care for hospitalized patients with opioid use disorder. Addict Sci Clin Pract. 2022 Jul 28;17(1):39.

We present the protocol for the START study, a two-arm pragmatic randomized controlled trial that is evaluating whether a consultative team, called the Substance Use Treatment and Recovery Team, increases initiation of any US Food and Drug Administration approved medication for opioid use disorder (buprenorphine, methadone, naltrexone) during the hospital stay and increases linkage to treatment after discharge compared to patients receiving usual care. Currently, this trial is ongoing.

Click here for a more complete bibliography of Dr. Murray-Krezan’s works.

Research Interests

  • Substance use disorders
  • Statistics and data coordinating centers
  • Clinical trials
  • Methods to adjust for informative dropout