Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Population Health Sciences. Washington University School of Medicine.



Schroeder has argued that much of our health and wellness is within our reach, and that behavior may account for 30 to 40% of our disease burden. He notes that we can improve our international ranking on many measures of health through simply implementing things we already knowLikewise we recently made the case for vastly reducing the cancer burden by acting on what we know (see article). For a quick summary see Scientific American or The Atlantic.

An expanding range of research activity by faculty members at Washington University School of Medicine addresses everyday problems in population health and the translation of research discoveries to the delivery of effective health services for the population living in St. Louis and across the State of Missouri.

Examples of effective services include the research and delivery of prevention by Dr. Jeffrey Peipert, Vice-Chair for clinical research in the department of obstetrics and gynecology. The CHOICE project, offers and a revolutionary example of increasing access to contraception to reduce unintended pregnancies in the region.

Dr. Platz, pediatrics, offers an innovative resources for adolescents to access medical care in the community, at no cost. Drop in and see the Spot

Within the Siteman Cancer Center and the Department of Surgery, the Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities (PECaD) engages a range of community partners in activities that promote wellness, increase access to cancer prevention services, and aim to reduce disparities in the burden of cancer in our community (see articles). For example, we recently partnered with People's Health Centers to increase access to mammography in North County. Within the medical center, as a resource for the region, the Institute for Clinical Translational Science offers resources for community members to engage in research projects. Our ongoing studies of obesity and cancer bring many different disciplines together to address this growing problem.

Faculty members are pursing a broad range of research and delivery projects that build on the resources of the medical center and WUSM to bring state of the art discoveries to everyday care and applications in the community. Many of these are summarized on our web site. Briefly, Dr. Kathleen Wolin leads a trial of weight loss after breast cancer to address ways we may improve outcomes for women with breast cancer. Dr. Kim Kaphingst studies communication of genetics testing for women with breast cancer and their family members. Dr. Mary Politi collaborates with clinicians to study how to better engage doctors and patients in shared decision making. Dr. Erika Waters studies how we can improve the way we present risk. Dr. Aimee James is studying the different ways we may work to improve access to colorectal cancer screening in our community, and Dr. Siobhan Sutcliffe is studying how exposure in adolescent and young adult years may increase risk of prostate cancer. Dr. Bettina Drake is engaged with community members to understand how African American men relate to research projects and how we can better meet the needs of men who, because of their race, are at increase risk prostate cancer. Dr. Sarah Gehlert has created a resource for women in North St Louis to increase access to information about breast cancer and wellness. Dr. Melody Goodman is working to understand how we might improve the reporting of disparities and how the measures we chose when reporting can influence how we move forward to reduce these inequalities. At the broader level of how our society is structured and influences our health, Dr. Christie Hoehner is evaluating how the design of our towns and cites is related to physical activity and obesity. Dr. Katie Stamatakis is studying how our public health departments respond to obesity and work to reduce obesity in our communities.

Colleagues in internal medicine are studying how overweigh and obesity at the time of diagnosis of lymphoma may change response to therapy for this malignancy, and how we can improve the quality of colon cancer screening. In anesthesiology, colleagues are working to improve the experience of surgery and outcomes after anesthesia (see article).

The range of research projects led by a faculty members in the School of Medicine is clearly broad and encompassing many approaches to improve health in our society. Key crosscutting issues include access to prevention services, behavior strategies that will reduce the incidence of cancer and many other chronic diseases, and policy approaches to reduce exposure to carcinogens in our homes, workplaces, and society.

In addition to these ongoing research projects, faculty at Washington University School of Medicine undertake research projects to bring services to the underserved, to improve the routine care of pregnant women, those undergoing an aesthetic procedures, and those using other preventive services.

This exciting range of research and delivery projects offers unique opportunities for participation in state-of-the-art research by trainees and by community members. 

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