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September 25, 2013

Bloomberg School Faculty Receive Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Awards

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has been approved to receive five research awards from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study public health issues as they relate to patient-centered outcomes. The studies are part of a portfolio of projects that will advance the field of patient-centered comparative effectiveness research and provide patients with information that will help them make better-informed decisions about their care.

This year’s recipients include:

John F. P. Bridges, PhD, associate professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management with a joint appointment in International Health, and director of the Master of Health Science in Health Economics, will lead the research project, “Advancing Stated-Preference Methods for Measuring the Preferences of Patients with Type 2 Diabetes.” The project focuses on advancing and disseminating methods for patient and community engagement in patient-centered outcomes research. The project will demonstrate good practices for patient and community involvement; address several methodological questions pertaining to the use of stated-preference methods in measuring the preferences of patients and assess the relevance of stated-preference methods to patients and stakeholders. While methodological in nature, the project will focus on measuring the priorities and preferences of patients with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that affects 25.8 million people (8.3%) in the US. It requires meaningful patient involvement to improve outcomes and disproportionately affects African-American and Latino populations.

Kay Dickersin, MA, PhD, director of the Center for Clinical Trials and the US Cochrane Center as well as a professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Epidemiology, will lead the research project, “Integrating Multiple Data Sources for Meta-analysis to Improve Patient-Centered Outcomes Research.” Through her research, Dickersin will examine the reliability and validity of incorporating evidence from multiple data sources for two high-impact case studies. In addition, the project will produce open-access guidance for using multiple data sources, which can be augmented by others, for those producing systematic reviews of patient-centered outcomes research. Dickersin will also explore whether detailed trial datasets for clinical trials include patient-centered outcomes data, and, if so, discover a relatively untapped but important source of existing data for patient-centered outcomes research.
 

Daniel Scharfstein, ScD, professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Biostatics, will lead the research project, ”Sensitivity Analysis Tools for Clinical Trials with Missing Data.” Missing outcome data are a widespread problem in randomized clinical trials, including those with patient-centered outcomes. The analysis of trials with missing data requires untestable assumptions and it is widely recognized that evaluation of the robustness of trial results to a variety of plausible assumptions (i.e., sensitivity analysis) should be a mandatory reporting requirement. Scharfstein’s project will create, implement and disseminate unified and coherent methods for sensitivity analysis of trials with monotone and non-monotone missing data. Free, open-source and reproducible software will be developed and methods and software will be demonstrated using clinical trial data with patient-centered outcomes.

Ravi Varadhan, PhD, associate professor at the Center on Aging and Health, with joint appointments at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School’s Department of Biostatistics, will lead the research project, “Filling Two Major Gaps in the Analysis of Heterogeneity of Treatment Effects for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research.” The project explores the heterogeneity of treatment effect, or the study of how the same treatment can have different effects on different people. Through his research, Varadhan will examine the Bayesian approach to study heterogeneity of treatment. Despite being underutilized, this approach can reduce the chance of misleading findings by allowing the use of prior information and prior beliefs of different stakeholders related to the likelihood of treatment-effect variations across people. Project goals include: recommendations or guidance on how to do Bayesian analysis of heterogeneity of treatment in patient-centered outcomes, software to do the Bayesian methods, recommendations or guidance on choosing appropriate treatment effect scale for heterogeneity of treatment analysis in patient-centered outcomes, and demonstration of products using data from large comparative effectiveness trials.

Albert Wu, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research and professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management, will lead the project, “Reverse Innovation and Community Engagement to Improve Quality of Care and Patient Outcomes.” The project will adapt a World Health Organization community engagement approach to support the Johns Hopkins Community Health Partnership, an initiative targeting high-risk adults with chronic conditions who reside in East Baltimore. Through the program, Wu hopes to improve the health of East Baltimore residents by enhancing communication and “co-developing” a bi-directional intervention to improve information flow between Johns Hopkins hospitals and clinics, community-based organizations, and the community.

“These  projects were selected for PCORI funding not only for their scientific merit but also for their potential to fill an important gap in our health knowledge and ultimately help patients and those who care for them make more fully informed decisions about their care,” said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH. “The projects reflect PCORI’s commitment to support patient-centered comparative effectiveness research, a new approach to health research that emphasizes the inclusion of patients and caregivers at all stages of the study process. We look forward to following the progress of these researchers and working with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to share the results.”

The PCORI Board of Governors approved $114 million in funding for 71 projects. Proposals were evaluated on the basis of scientific merit engagement with patients and other stakeholders, methodological rigor, and alignment within PCORI’s national research priorities. All awards were approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.

For more information about PCORI funding, visit http://pcori.org/funding-opportunities.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
As a leading international authority on public health, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is dedicated to protecting health and saving lives. Every day, the Bloomberg School works to keep millions safe from illness and injury by pioneering new research, deploying its knowledge and expertise in the field, and educating tomorrow's scientists and practitioners in the global defense of human life. Founded in 1916 as part of the Johns Hopkins University, the Bloomberg School of Public Health is the world’s oldest and largest independent school of public health. More information: www.jhsph.edu.

PCORI
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed health care decisions. PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work. More information is available at www.pcori.org.

Media contact for Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Natalie Wood-Wright at 410-614-6029 or nwoodwri@jhsph.edu.