Sufficient dimension reduction for populations with structured heterogeneity

Jared D. Huling, Menggang Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A key challenge in building effective regression models for large and diverse populations is accounting for patient heterogeneity. An example of such heterogeneity is in health system risk modeling efforts where different combinations of comorbidities fundamentally alter the relationship between covariates and health outcomes. Accounting for heterogeneity arising combinations of factors can yield more accurate and interpretable regression models. Yet, in the presence of high-dimensional covariates, accounting for this type of heterogeneity can exacerbate estimation difficulties even with large sample sizes. To handle these issues, we propose a flexible and interpretable risk modeling approach based on semiparametric sufficient dimension reduction. The approach accounts for patient heterogeneity, borrows strength in estimation across related subpopulations to improve both estimation efficiency and interpretability, and can serve as a useful exploratory tool or as a powerful predictive model. In simulated examples, we show that our approach often improves estimation performance in the presence of heterogeneity and is quite robust to deviations from its key underlying assumptions. We demonstrate our approach in an analysis of hospital admission risk for a large health system and demonstrate its predictive power when tested on further follow-up data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1626-1638
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Early online dateSep 14 2021
StatePublished - Sep 14 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The International Biometric Society.


  • central mean subspace
  • data heterogeneity
  • health services
  • risk prediction
  • semiparametric methods


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