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Palmer College

PCORI announces 50 research funding awards; Dr. Goertz plays integral role

Dr. Christine Goertz
Dr. Christine Goertz

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) was authorized by Congress to conduct research to provide information about the best available evidence to help patients and their health care providers make more informed decisions. PCORI’s research is intended to give patients a better understanding of the prevention, treatment and care options available, and the science that supports those options.

Palmer’s Vice Chancellor for Research and Health Policy Christine Goertz, D.C., Ph.D., was appointed to the 21- member PCORI Board of Governors by the Government Accountability Office in September 2010. The Board represents a broad spectrum of stakeholders within the health care community—patients, caregivers, doctors, nurses, researchers, public health officials, payers and industry. By law, PCORI’s Board is required to include at least one state-licensed integrative health care practitioner. This is the “slot” filled by Dr. Goertz, who is the only chiropractor currently serving on the Board.

In June 2012, PCORI announced the approval of 50 research funding awards, totaling $30 million over two years, through its Pilot Projects Program, which will address a broad range of questions about methods for engaging patients in the health research and dissemination process. Dr. Goertz played an integral role in the development of the Pilot Projects Program.

“There are still many gaps in our understanding of areas where patient-centered outcomes research is most needed, and how to engage patients in the process of identifying those needs, conducting the research and disseminating the results,” says Dr. Goertz. “The PCORI Pilot Projects Program will support the collection of preliminary data that can be used to advance the field of patient-centered outcomes research, providing input into PCORI’s evolving research agenda.”

Along with staff and fellow Board member Gail Hunt, Dr. Goertz led the effort to create the Pilot Projects Program— including developing the first funding announcement, conducting informational webinars for potential applicants, working with the National Institutes of Health to establish the PCORI Pilot Projects peer-review process. She also advised the selection committee (chaired by fellow Board Member Grayson Norquist, M.D., M.S.P.H.) on how best to present a slate of recommended projects to the Board for approval.

“The Pilot Projects Program is aimed at advancing patient-centered outcomes research as well as identifying gaps where methodological research needs further development,” adds Dr. Goertz. “For example, one of the pilot projects we selected will study how creating a ‘zone of openness’ might increase patient-centered care. This project has the potential to provide practicing clinicians with the tools needed to help improve patient-centered communication and empower patients to ask and encourage health care providers to answer patient-focused questions.”

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