Russell Rothman, MD, MPP, professor of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Health Policy, Ingram Professor of Integrative and Population Health, and Vice President for Population Health Research, has been named as the new director of the Institute for Medicine and Public Health (IMPH), and Senior Vice President for Population and Public Health. His appointment is effective Feb. 1. In this new role Rothman will report to Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD, Executive Vice President for Research and Director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Rothman is also principal investigator of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCOR) funded STAR (Stakeholders, Technology and Research) Clinical Research Network which engages VUMC, VHAN, Meharry Medical College, Duke University, the University of North Carolina, Wake Forest University, Health Sciences of South Carolina, and Mayo Clinic with electronic health records on over 12 million patients. The Network supports real world evidence research and pragmatic clinical research.
Over the years there has been uncertainty over which drugs are best for patients with Type 2 diabetes and one of its common complications, kidney disease. An observational study using medical record information from nearly 50,000 U.S. military veterans sheds new light on this issue. Among the 30 million U.S. adults with Type 2 diabetes, 20% have impaired kidney function. In patients like this, metformin, the recommended first-line drug therapy for Type 2 diabetes, is associated in the new study with 20 percent decreased risk of major adverse cardiovascular events when compared to a class of common diabetes drugs called sulfonylureas.
The HEAlth Data Science (HEADS) Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center is undergoing a reorganization to further refine the center’s mission, and Christopher Lindsell, PhD, has been named a new co-director. “The HEADS Center is now poised to accelerate its work, and naming Dr. Lindsell to a co-directorship will assist us in doing just that,” said Kevin Johnson, MD, MS, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics. “The vision is for the center to be a powerful catalyst for innovation and translation at the intersection of data science and healthcare practice at VUMC as well as on a broader scale.”
A single pill containing low doses of three medications to treat high blood pressure and one to lower cholesterol reduced the estimated risk of cardiovascular disease by 25%, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). “Polypills” for prevention of cardiovascular disease have previously been studied in low- and middle-income countries where other health care barriers exist, according to senior author Thomas Wang, MD, chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. But the U.S. study of mostly low income, primarily black adults from a community health center in Mobile, Alabama, sets up a conversation about how to extend these findings to other settings.
A team of researchers from Vanderbilt Health and Vanderbilt University’s schools of Law, Medicine and Management has received a five-year $1.7 million research grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality of the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and test “safe-harbor” standards of care based on scientific evidence. A goal of the project is to reduce the number of unnecessary medical procedures performed primarily to reduce legal liability, a practice known as defensive medicine. Benefits could include lower costs and improved quality of care, resulting from medical patients’ reduced exposure to radiation.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) has established a new career development program for scientists in implementation research. The goal is to speed the uptake and translation of scientific discoveries into routine clinical practice. The program, called Vanderbilt Scholars in T4 Translational Research, or V-STTaR, is supported by a five-year, $3 million grant awarded this month by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). T4 refers to the translation of research findings into “real world” and community settings. V-STTaR will be led by Sunil Kripalani, M.D., MSc, principal investigator and associate professor of Medicine, and Christianne Roumie, M.D., MPH, program director and associate professor of Medicine and Pediatrics.
Sara Van Driest, M.D., Ph.D., who is developing methods for precision dosing of pediatric medications at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), has received a 2017 Clinical Scientist Development Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Sara Van Driest, M.D., Ph.D. Van Driest, assistant professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Vanderbilt, is one of 17 junior physician scientists chosen this year from among 196 applicants to receive the award, which provides $495,000 in research support over three years to support their transition to independent clinical research. Van Driest is the fourth current physician-scientist at VUMC to receive a Clinical Scientist Development Award from the New York-based foundation.
Nitin Jain, M.D., MSPH, associate professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Orthopaedics, has been awarded a $7.5 million contract to determine whether surgery or non-operative therapy works better for a common age-related injury that costs the health care systems billions of dollars — rotator cuff tears. “More likely than not, each one of us knows someone who has either had a rotator cuff tear, causing shoulder pain, or has actually had surgery,” Jain said. “That’s what led us to this work. This is a question patients were asking, that doctors were asking. ‘If a patient comes into my clinic with a rotator cuff tear, what should I do for that? Should I offer them surgery or should I offer them physical therapy?’ This is one of the most common reasons patients go to see their doctors — not just specialists, but any doctor. It’s an important public health issue.”