20141102_primarycare_week_02Our General Internal Medicine Research faculty work on projects that cover the broad range of non-biological science relevant to health and health care.

Research Programs

Magnesium supplementation and mood disorders

Using first a large scale secondary data set and then performing a randomized clinical trial, Emily Tarleton, RD and Benjamin Littenberg, MD are demonstrating the effects of magnesium intake on depression and anxiety. 

The effect of electronic information resources on patient outcome

Online textbooks and other information sources are expensive and widely used for education and to support clinical decision making, but have never been demonstrated to improve clinical outcomes. Marianne Burke, MLS and Benjamin Littenberg, MD are conducting a randomized clinical trial of the effects of VisualDx, a dermatology information resource, on the outcomes of skin problems in primary care.

Chronic pain in survivors of torture

Justine Dee, PT is testing a novel approach to helping patients who have chronic pain as a result of the abuses they suffered when physically, emotionally, and psychologically tortured.

Automated systems to enhance patient and provider engagement

Unit faculty have devised novel methods to use medical information to increase the quality of care, improve outcomes, and reduce costs. These methods are being applied to diabetes and chronic kidney disease in primary care practices across the country. Benjamin Littenberg, M.D., Charles MacLean, M.D.

GeoMed Science: The effect of the built environment on clinical outcomes, including obesity, cancer and heart disease

This work seeks to use large data sets to identify factors in the environment immediately around one’s home (such as roads, land cover, food sources and recreation opportunities) that influence physical activity and health. Collaborators include Lisa Aultman-Hall Ph.D, Brian Sprague Ph.D, Austin Troy Ph.D, Asim Zia Ph.D, Benjamin Littenberg MD, Derek Lubetkin, Ayodelle LeBruin MD, Levi Bonnell MPH.

Safe and effective use of medications in ambulatory settings

This group performs epidemiologic analyses of prescription claims data to identify problem areas in outpatient prescribing and tests systems-based approaches to mitigating those problems. It also developed a novel approach to provider education based on academic detailing.

Data mining for novel epidemiologic insights

By analyzing clinical, biomedical, and public health data, unit faculty are validating known as well as uncovering previously unrecognized associations among diseases. Rhonda Kost, Elizabeth Chen, Ph.D., Benjamin Littenberg M.D.

Evaluation of novel and existing diagnostic tests

Blood and urine chemistries, imaging and audiological evaluations are currently under study, including mammograms, tests for diabetes and chronic kidney disease, and dichotic listening tests for auditory processing disorders. Kairn Kelley, Benjamin Littenberg, M.D., Charles MacLean, M.D.

Integration of mental health, substance abuse and behavioral health services into primary care

The unit is actively involved in implementing novel services in this domain as well as leading national efforts to evaluate different models of integration. Connie van Eeghen, Dr.P.H., Rodger Kessler, Ph.D., Benjamin Littenberg, M.D.

Quality Improvement tools for primary care settings

Techniques that have revolutionized manufacturing, hospitality, transportation and even some aspects of health care, have not been widely successful in primary care. This work seeks to understand the barriers to wider deployment of LEAN and other quality improvement techniques and develop strategies to deploy them effectively. Connie van Eeghen, Dr.P.H.