CHHS Assistant Professor Receives Tier-A Award for Project Addressing Chronic Conditions in Vulnerable Populations

School of Nursing Assistant Professor, Stephanie Smith has received a Tier-A Project Award for nearly $50,000. She received the award from The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute for her project, Building a Research Partnership with Federally Qualified Health Centers to Address Chronic Conditions in Vulnerable Populations.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. PCORI has awarded nearly $2.4 million for 50 new projects through its Pipeline to Proposal Awards program. This initiative is designed to develop a nationwide community of patients, researchers and other healthcare stakeholders with the knowledge and capacity to participate in patient-centered outcomes research.

Smith's project will address the need for measuring the effectiveness of interventions leading to self-management of chronic conditions in vulnerable populations (e.g., low-income underinsured, uninsured and transient) served by Federally Qualified Community Health Centers (FQCHCs).

The researchers will use the Seifer et. al.'s 2003 model for developing infrastructure for health research. They will be selecting and establishing partnerships, developing policies and procedures to conduct research, securing financial and human resources to support research, and ensuring availability of "hard" infrastructure (e.g., meeting space, computers, electronic health records, secure data storage) for research.

Smith will use the awarded funds to establish a Community Advisory Board (CAB) of FQCHC stakeholders, including patients, providers and staff; formalize the research partnership by establishing policies and procedures to conduct team research; and identify potential health issues of concern for future comparative effectiveness research (CER) studies. These aims will ensure that research questions and proposals are practical, patient-centered and relevant to health issues of concern to the FQCHCs and their patients. 

“Involving patients and other stakeholders in research is central to PCORI’s mission,” said Jean Slutsky, PCORI's chief engagement and dissemination officer. “These awards provide invaluable assistance to develop patient-centered research questions and support partnerships of individuals who might not otherwise find an opportunity to participate in CER."