PUTTING RESEARCH RESULTS TO WORK
How do research results get from the laboratory into the hands of healthcare workers? Do they, in fact, ever get there at all? If they do, are they implemented? If not, why not?
These are some of the questions a new five-year study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is looking to answer. And UMDNJ is one of six institutions nationwide that will help do just that.
The CDC calls this new initiative "Translational Research." Simply put, translational research looks at how to put laboratory findings into public health practice. The University was designated a Translational Research Center for Diabetes Control Within Managed Care Settings and received $312,729 for the first year of study. Additional funding is expected to be about $500,000 for each of the remaining four years.
The goal of the research is threefold, according to Monika Safford, MD, assistant professor of medicine at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, and a co-principal investigator of the study.
The first is to measure the level and quality of care people with diabetes receive in various ethnic groups, in different areas of the country and in different types of managed care systems; next, to identify barriers that stand in the way of improving that care; and last, to develop and test strategies to remove those barriers.
"The cross-section of other institutions involved gives us a wonderful opportunity to study diabetes care under a lot of different circumstances," Safford says. "We'll look at the services diabetics are using or are denied, for example. We'll use a number of programs to determine what works to improve care and what doesn't. And we want to find out why new guidelines for treating the disease often aren't implemented by physicians and patients. At the end of five years, we want to see some evidence that diabetes care has improved at all six locations."
Along with professional reasons for participating in the study, Safford has a personal interest as well. Her mother is one of the 15.7 million people in America with diabetes. "It's a terrible disease," she says. "It's serious, costly and becoming more and more common as the population ages. It affects nearly every organ of the body and is often fatal."
David S. Kountz, MD, chief of the Division of Primary Care at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is co-principal investigator. Dorothy Caputo, MA, RNC, a diabetes program development specialist is the project manager. The UMDNJ- Center for Continuing Education will oversee fund distribution.
The magazine of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey