KM1 Award in Comparative Effectiveness Research

The Center for Health and the Social Sciences (CHeSS) at the University of Chicago, and the Center for Pharmacoeconomic Research at the University of Illinois, Chicago are pleased to announce the first three awardees under a new NIH-funded cross-institutional career development award in comparative effectiveness research (CER).  Bharati Prasad, MD, MS, Valerie G. Press, MD, MPH, and Gregory W. Ruhnke, MD, MS, MPH are the inaugural recipients of the 2010 University of Chicago/University of Illinois at Chicago KM1 Career Development Awards in Comparative Effectiveness Research.

Administered by CHeSS, the two-year awards of up to $224,721 are to be used for salary and fringe during the award period and are designed to protect substantial portions of time for career development and research activity.  Additional research project awards of $50,000 per year per awardee were also made.

Funded under NIH Grant 1KM1CA156717-01 (PIs: David O. Meltzer, MD, PhD, from the University of Chicago, and Glen T. Schumock, PharmD, MBA, from the University of Illinois at Chicago), the two-year KM1 Scholar awards are available to junior faculty at either institution who hold a terminal clinical or research degree.  The goal of the award is to develop new investigators in comparative effectiveness research with the capacity to conduct systematic research comparing different interventions and strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor health conditions.  This research is ultimately intended to inform patients, providers, and policy makers about which interventions are most effective for which patients in what specific circumstances or environment. 

Because the field is relatively new, existing opportunities for training in comparative effectiveness research are limited.  To meet the growing need for expertise in this critical area, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago proposed a collaborative, inter-institutional, interdisciplinary career development program in this area.  The program will capitalize on curricular strengths and organizational infrastructure at both campuses.  Scholars at one institution will have access to faculty mentors, didactic coursework and training, and research opportunities at the other, building on a well-established set of collaborative relationships linking the two universities.

Applications for the second round of KM1 scholars are due June 30, 2011.


photoBharati Prasad, MD, MS (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Dr. Prasad received her medical degree from the Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi, India, and completed three years of pulmonary and critical care fellowship training at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). In 2009 Dr. Prasad joined the Department of Medicine in the Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep, and Allergy at UIC as a Clinical Assistant Professor.   Dr. Prasad is particularly interested in comparative effectiveness research in respiratory disorders.  As a fellow she participated as a co-investigator in three prospective studies in patients with sleep apnea (SA) that each focused on the effectiveness of different SA treatments. During her post-doctoral and sleep medicine training she led two research projects. The first was a retrospective cohort study in veterans, the objective of which was to compare the effectiveness of laboratory to ambulatory clinical management of SA with respect to cardiovascular risk reduction.  The second study was a national electronic survey of sleep medicine physicians, to examine the variability in the use of laboratory vs. ambulatory based strategies and the factors associated with this variability in clinical practice.  As a KM1 Scholar, Dr. Prasad’s research will examine the comparative effectiveness of laboratory vs. ambulatory diagnosis of SA in an urban African-American population.  


photoValerie Press, MD, MPH (University of Chicago)


Dr. Press is currently an Instructor of Medicine in the Section of Hospital Medicine at the University of Chicago.  Her work primarily focuses on improving patient-centered education for underserved patients with chronic disease and limited health literacy through novel interventions in the community and hospital settings targeted at both patients and clinicians.  Dr. Press received earned degrees in public health and medicine from the University of Michigan, and completed her residency in the combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics program at the University of Chicago.  During her Hospitalist Scholars fellowship, Dr. Press led the development and implementation of the Chicago Breathe Project that provided inhaler education for 5 Chicago residency programs and 2 community sites serving minority patients with funding from the American College of Physicians Foundation.  As part of the Robert Wood Johnson Finding Answers Disparities Research for Change project, she is currently leading a systematic review of interventions that aim to improve health disparities and care for minority populations with asthma.  Her current KM1 project focuses on the comparative effectiveness of educational strategies (intensive “Teach to Goal” vs brief in-person or video education) designed to improve hospitalized patients' ability to self-manage their asthma and COPD through promoting correct use of respiratory inhalers. She will also determine if level of health literacy differentiates optimal educational strategies to teach effective respiratory inhaler use for hospitalized patients with asthma or COPD.  


photoGregory Ruhnke, MD, MS, MPH (University of Chicago)


Dr. Ruhnke is a clinician-investigator and Instructor of Medicine in the Section of Hospital Medicine at the University of Chicago.  His prior research has quantified trends in mortality and medical spending among community-acquired pneumonia patients.  His current work focuses on the influence of system capacity on intensity of utilization and, consequently, the value of marginal health care services.  His research is also directed at understanding the mechanisms by which available capacity at the individual provider level impacts physician decision making.  Dr. Ruhnke holds a BA in economics from New York University as well as an MD and MS in health services research from Stanford University.  After completing an internal medicine residency at Harvard Medical School affiliate Massachusetts General Hospital, he served as the director of a residency program at Teine Keijinkai Hospital in Sapporo, Japan.  Dr. Ruhnke also completed the Harvard Medical School General Internal Medicine Fellowship, during which he earned an MPH in clinical effectiveness from Harvard University.  During his KM1 award period, he is using MarketScan medical claims data to analyze the impact of regional capacity on evaluation and management in several model conditions.  Dr. Ruhnke is also using detailed clinical data to investigate how variations in supply relative to demand influence endoscopy decisions in patients admitted for gastrointestinal bleeding.  In addition, he is developing a survey that will use novel conjoint analysis methods to understand how excess capacity at the provider level changes health care decisions relative to clinical factors.