Kerri L. Cavanaugh, M.D. M.H.S.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Health Services Research Including Epidemiology, Behavioral Intervention Research, Survey Design, and Patient-Reported Outcomes
My research examines health communication in complex chronic disease with a focus on diabetes mellitus and kidney disease. We identify barriers to effective communication between patients, providers, health systems and the public that impact disease awareness, knowledge, optimal self-care, and health outcomes. Specifically we have identified that health literacy and numeracy are associated with glycemic control in patients with diabetes, and this can be improved by employing literacy and numeracy-sensitive tools to enhance the interactions between patients and providers. Similarly, we have identified that in patients with chronic kidney disease, awareness and knowledge of their disease status is lower than desired, but can be improved by the physician use of a brief worksheet to supplement clinic visit dialogue. Our on-going projects further our previous research by detailing the communication between patients with diabetes and providers in primary care, identifying potential targets for educational interventions, and testing training programs for both providers and patients.