Several VA Health Services Research and Development Service (HSR&D) investigators received prestigious awards at the annual meeting of the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM), which was held on May 4-7 in Phoenix, AZ. The SGIM is the leading national organization of general internal medicine physicians working in U.S. academic medical centers, and its focus is to promote research and education aimed at improving healthcare for the whole patient.
Michael J. Fine, M.D., M.Sc., Director of the HSR&D Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, received the 2011 John M. Eisenberg Award for Career Achievement in Research.
In addition to his role as CHERP director, Dr. Fine is also a professor of medicine and the associate director of the Center for Research on Health Care at the University of Pittsburgh. His research focuses on ways to improve the quality of medical care for patients with common medical problems. As director of VA HSR&D CHERP, he is particularly interested in conducting research to detect, understand, and eliminate disparities in health care among vulnerable patient populations.
The Eisenberg Award recognizes a senior SGIM member whose innovative research has made significant changes to the manner in which patient care is delivered, research is conducted, or students are educated. The award also underscores the national impact of the recipient's lifetime research contributions. It is named for the late John M. Eisenberg, M.D., M.B.A., and honors his exemplary role as a researcher, mentor and advocate for research in general internal medicine.
C. Seth Landefeld, M.D., affiliate investigator with the HSR&D Program to Improve Care for Veterans with Complex Comorbid Conditions received the Robert J. Glaser Award for Outstanding Contributions to Research.
Dr. Landefeld is also a Senior Scholar with the VA National Quality Scholars Fellowship Program, and is Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Geriatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. His research interests include improving functional outcomes of hospitalized older persons, pharmacotherapy in older persons, and the effectiveness and efficiency of health care.
The Glaser Award—the SGIM's highest honor—is given to an individual for outstanding contributions to research, education, or both, in generalism in medicine.
Somnath Saha, M.D., M.P.H., a core investigator with HSR&D's Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Mental and Physical Disorders, received the Herbert W. Nickens Award.
Dr. Saha is a staff physician at the Portland VA Medical Center, and an Associate Professor of Medicine, Public Health & Preventive Medicine, and Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU); he is also a National Advisory Committee member for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Clinical Scholars Program. Dr. Saha's research focuses on the influence of race and ethnicity in the patient-physician relationship, and its relation to racial disparities in the quality of health care. In his current work, he employs the principles of community-based participatory research, using both quantitative and qualitative research methods.
The SGIM's Nickens Award honors an individual or representative of an organization who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to cultural diversity in medicine or to improving minority health, and is named in honor of the late Dr. Herbert Nickens, former Director of the Office of Minority Health, Department of Health and Human Services.
Amal Trivedi, M.D., M.P.H., of HSR&D's Center on Systems, Outcomes and Quality in Chronic Disease & Rehabilitation, received the Best Published Research Paper of the Year Award, for his paper, Increased Ambulatory Care Co-Payments and Hospitalizations among the Elderly, The New England Journal of Medicine; January 28, 2010;362(4):320-328.
In addition to his role as an HSR&D investigator, Dr. Trivedi is an Assistant Professor of Community Health at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and his research focus includes measurement of quality in health care, racial and socioeconomic disparities in health care, and patient and provider incentives that impact the quality and equity of care. His research has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and Health Affairs.