Print This Issue


Honors and Other Things

September 13, 2011, Volume 58, No. 03

NIH Research Career Development in Comparative Effectiveness Research (KM1) Awards

The Center for Health Care Improvement and Patient Safety at the Perelman School of Medicine announced the inaugural group of recipients of NIH Research Career Development in Comparative Effectiveness Research (KM1) Awards.  

The two-year fellowship is designed to support Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) scientists at different career stages, extending from fellows to junior and senior faculty. KM1 Scholars supported through this program will complete mentored research projects focusing on the generation, translation, and dissemination of evidence in the area of CER, including medical interventions that address prognostic, preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic or palliative goals.

The 2011 awardees are:

Dr. Alison Buttenheim, assistant professor of family & community health at the School of Nursing, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Program Scholar and Leonard Davis Institute Senior Fellow, will assess the effectiveness of vaccine messages, materials, and communication strategies developed by the CDC in its Provider Resources for Vaccine Conversations with Parents initiative and identify the parental sociodemographic and cognitive characteristics associated with effectiveness of these communication materials, methods and strategies.

Dr. David Casarett, associate professor of medicine, will create the national CHOICE network (Coalition of Hospices Organized to Investigate Comparative Effectiveness), which will use electronic health record (EHR) data to answer key CER questions. Initial analysis will identify whether caregiver- and patient-focused interventions are associated with a decreased risk of unplanned hospitalizations. Dr. Casarett will link EHR data and Family Evaluation of Hospice Care survey results in preparation for future CER grant proposals that will connect processes, outcomes, and satisfaction with care.

Dr. Sara Keller, fellow in infectious diseases, will be developing research protocols focusing on patient safety and infection control. She plans to examine and compare rates of healthcare acquired infections across the healthcare system and throughout the state. She will also explore issues of quality of care for HIV positive patients.

Dr. Eileen Lake, associate professor in the Schools of Nursing and Arts and Sciences, will assess the comparative effectiveness of hospital nursing resource configurations. Dr. Lake aims to identify the most common configurations of nursing resources, including staffing levels, education and experience, skill mix, and practice environment; to identify how hospital characteristics, market-area registered nurse supply, and financial constraints relate to particular configurations and which configurations achieve superior patient outcomes.

Dr. Benjamin Laskin, instructor of pediatrics in the division of nephrology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, will evaluate the efficacy of more frequent pediatric hemodialysis (HD) treatments. The aim of the research is to determine whether more frequent pediatric HD impacts cardiovascular abnormalities, bone disease, anemia, quality of life, school performance, and overall healthcare costs in children with end stage renal disease.

Dr. Zachary Meisel, assistant professor of emergency medicine, will evaluate the effectiveness of different print communication strategies to improve dissemination and uptake of evidence relating to recognition of symptoms and use of timely emergency care during stroke and (acute myocardial infraction) AMI within a community where there is a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease and in which significant barriers to care are present.

Dr. Sage Myers, assistant professor in pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine and an attending physician in the division of emergency medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, will compare mortality rates for injured children by the trauma level of the emergency department in which they receive care. In addition, Dr. Myers will evaluate the differences in mortality rate for those children cared for in free-standing children’s hospitals to mortality rates for those children treated in general emergency departments with comparable pediatric trauma credentials. Finally, Dr. Myers will also evaluate differences in cost of treatment across hospital types.

Dr. Kelly Wiltse Nicely, assistant professor of nurse anesthesia in the School of Nursing, will compare the effectiveness of conscious sedation (CS) and monitored anesthesia care (MAC), two common modalities used for patient sedation during colonoscopy to identify and remove polyps. Currently, there are no national guidelines in place for the sedation of patients during colonoscopy and the type of sedation used is both institution and provider specific.

Dr. Hanna Zafar, assistant professor of radiology, will compare the clinical and economic outcomes associated with use of Computed Tomography Colonography (CTC) vs. Optical Colonoscopy (OC) for colorectal cancer screening among Medicare patients. Dr. Zafar will study the risks, predictors, and costs of receiving follow-up testing and procedures among patients who receive CTC compared to patients who receive OC.

Comprehensive Neuroscience Center FY12 Collaborative Research Program Grant Recipients

The Penn Comprehensive Neuroscience Center (Penn CNC) at the Perelman School of Medicine and University of Pennsylvania Health System is pleased to announce that it has awarded collaborative pilot funding totaling $500,000 to 10 projects. The purpose of this program is to assist Penn neuroscience faculty in generating preliminary data that may serve as the basis for seeking longer-term funding from federal, foundation or corporate sources.

The Penn CNC was created in 2006 to integrate and strengthen Penn’s interdisciplinary, world-class neuroscience programs in patient care, research and education. The Center promotes collaborations among clinical specialists, basic science and clinical researchers, and the educators who train the future generations of neuroscience physicians and scientists.  The Penn CNC supports the practice of translational medicine in which ground-breaking research is moved from the laboratory into clinical trials and, ultimately, into clinical practice to benefit patients.

This is the second round of Pilot Research funding from the CNC, with the initial funding allocated in 2007. Progress reports from this initial round of funding indicated the following: The CNC awarded and monitored 12 research pilot projects, funded in the amount of $884,637. Collectively, these pilots generated $8.2 million in external funding and 37 publications in academic journals (as of  December 2009, the date of the final progress report submissions). As of December 2009, 75 percent of the pilot projects had received external funding.

Penn CNC FY12 Grant Recipients:

Development of a novel MRI biomarker to assess brain white matter integrity in traumatic brain injury; Dr. Jongho Lee, Radiology (Perelman SOM)

The ReCoUPS Pilot: Recovering Concussion Update on Progression of Symptoms; Dr. Douglas Wiebe, Biostatistics and Epidemiology (Perelman SOM)

The role of cortico-cortical connections of the mammalian sensory cortex in information processing; Dr. Maria Geffen, Otorhinolaryngology (Perelman SOM)

Novel FLIM based approach to study HSV-1 entry into neurons; Dr. Ronald Harty, Pathobiology (Vet)

Model Investigation of mTOR Pathway Modulation in Autism and Epilepsy; Dr. Peter Crino, Neurology (Perelman SOM)

Common and Divergent Mechanisms of Anhedonia Across Psychiatric Disorders; Dr. Daniel Wolf, Psychiatry (Perelman SOM)

Light-induced gene activation in C. elegans; Dr. Christopher Fang-Yen, Bioengineering (SEAS)

Elucidating the link between stress and tauopathies such as Alzheimer’s disease; Dr. Rita Valentino, Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine (CHOP)

Watching the single neuron in action: monitoring metabolic responses at a single cell level; Dr. Sergei Vinogradov, Biochemistry and Biophysics (Perelman SOM)

Investigation of Tau-Interacting Aminothienopyridazines; Dr. Carlo Ballatore, Pathology and Lab Medicine (Perelman SOM)

Penn Nursing: Excellence in Research and Education Award 

LeadingAge, the national association of not-for-profit homes for the aging, will recognize the unique relationship between the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and Foulkeways retirement community in Gwynedd, PA, with the Excellence in Research and Education Award in October. For more than two decades, Penn Nursing has partnered with Foulkeways on innovative research projects in aging, including the work of Penn Nursing faculty members Dr. Lois Evans and Dr. Neville Strumpf which diminished the use of physical restraints on elderly people in health care facilities. With support from the Frank Morgan Jones Fund, Penn Nursing and Foulkeways have conducted some 80 pilot projects addressing critical issues in elder care and advancing understanding of the supports necessary to maintain maximum independence in older adults.

Almanac - September 13, 2011, Volume 58, No. 03