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Improving the Doctor-Patient Relationship
through Patient Care, Teaching and Research.


Since its launch in 2012, the Bucksbaum Institute Pilot Grant Program has awarded 104 grants totaling $640,309. The pilot grant program has encouraged both interdisciplinary collaborations and collaborations between senior and junior faculty. More than 300 University of Chicago faculty and students have partnered with Bucksbaum Scholars on their pilot grant projects during the past eight years.

2019 Pilot Grants
Total Funds Awarded: $135,000

“Language Matters: A pilot to Improve 3rd Year Medical Student Communication Skills with Individuals with Substance Use Disorders and Chronic Pain to Build Empathy and Reduce Stigma”

Mim Ari, MD with Amber Pincavage, MD
Department: Medicine

“Gauging Knowledge and Opinions on Travel for Organ Transplantation”

Andrew Aronsohn, MD with Ann Nguyen, MD, Bow Chung, MD, Gene Kim, MD
Department: Medicine

“Evaluating the Impact of Virtual Teach-to-Goal Education on Family-Doctor Communication in Pediatric Ambulatory Clinics”

Anna Volerman Beaser, MD with Valarie Press, MD, MPH
Department: Medicine

“Our Greatest Lessons: Developing A Medical Student-Focused Anthology of Health Humanities Essays”

Adam Cifu, MD with Russell Simons, MS2 (PSOM)
Department: Medicine

“Supporting medical student communication, confidence, adaptability and professionalism skills through an elective in improvisational theater at The Pritzker School of Medicine”

Barrett Fromme, MD with Nicola Orlov, MD, MPH, Jen Ellison (Second City)
Department: Pediatrics

“Use of a Decision Aid for Contraceptive Counseling with Adolescents and Young Adults”

Melissa Gilliam, MD, MPH with Amber Truehart, MD, MS
Department: Obstetrics and Gynecology

“Improving informed consent for Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS) using video simulations to educate family”

Jessica Kandel, MD with Nikunj Chokshi, MD, Rebecca Rose, RRT-NPS
Department: Pediatrics and Surgery

“Family-Clinician Communication for Critically Ill Brain Injured patients and Relatives' Experience of Organ Donation Requests From Brain-Dead Patients”

Christopher Kramer, MD with Fernando Goldenberg, MD, Christos Lazaridis, MD, Janet Bettger, ScD
Department: Neurology

“COLPO WHAT? Creating Patient centered Communication Tools to improve abnormal pap smear follow-up and colposcopy attendance for cervical cancer prevention”

Nita Lee, MD with Andrea Loberg, MD
Department: Obstetrics and Gynecology

“Biomedical Control Systems Learning for Medical Students and Residents”

Raphael Lee, MD, ScD
Department: Surgery

“BA Call to Medicine: The Professional Identity Formation of Physicians with a Sense of Calling”

Wei Wei Lee, MD, MPH
Department: Medicine

“Assessing Health-Related Social Needs Among Cancer Patients to Advance whole Person Care”

Stacy Lindau, MD, MA with Olwen Hahn, MD, Nita Lee, MD
Department: Obstetrics and Gynecology

“Bring Together Patients and Providers: Educational videos in the management of gastrostomy tubes.”

Dejan Micic, MD with Kiran Turaga, MD, MPH
Department: Medicine and Surgery

“What Women Want: A faculty development project in shared decision making through core primary care women’s health topics”

Amber Pincavage, MD with Jennifer Rusiecki, MD
Department: Medicine

“Airborne Exposures and Respiratory Disease in Inner City Chicago Children”

Jayant Pinto, MD with, Louise Giles, MD, Brisa Ashebrook-Kilfoy, PhD, MPH, Robert Stanaker, NP, Brenda Battle, MBA
Department: Surgery

“Respiratory Education Dosed across Settings”

Valerie Press, MD, MPH with Sharon Feehan, RN, Jennifer Austin, Pharm, Steve White, MD, Sebastian Otero, Mary Akel, Grace Cameron, Pharm
Department: Medicine

“Creation of a Pritzker Medical School elective on LGBTQ Health Issues: Training the Next Generation of Physician Peer Educators”

Charles Rhee, MD with Aniruddha Harza, MD, Vineet Arora, MD, Jeanne Farnan, MD, Monica Vela, MD
Department: Medicine

“Enhancing Communication and CKD Health Outcomes (ECCHO): A randomized trial to test using the CKD Report Card to improve doctor-patient communication”

Milda Saunders, MD, MPH with Tipu Puri, MD, PhD
Department: Medicine

“Using Digital Outreach with a Shared Decision-Making Tool after a Failed Colonoscopy to Increase Successful Completion of Colorectal Cancer Screening”

Neil Sengupta, MD with Sonia Kupfer, MD, Lisa Vinci, MD, Dejan Micic, MD
Department: Medicine

“Improving a patient-centered approach to reducing radiation exposure in pediatric trauma patients through selective Computed tomography (CT) scan use in pediatric victims of blunt abdominal trauma”

Mark Slidell, MD, PhD with Nikunj Chokshi, MD
Department: Pediatrics and Surgery

“TMW - Using SPEAK results to inform anticipatory guidance”

Dana Suskind, MD with Risa Brudney, MS2 (PSOM)
Department: Pediatrics and Surgery

“Supporting Patients with Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator Shocks and Associated Post-Traumatic Stress: A patient focused program and national registry”

Gaurav Upadhyay, MD with Jennifer Grower, PAC, Roderick Tung, MD, Royce Lee, MD
Department: Medicine and Psychology

“Complications of Complications”

Jennifer Tseng, MD with Tessa Balach, MD
Department: Surgery

“The Impact of Civilian Ballistic Trauma: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and its Impact on Physical and Psychological Outcomes after Gun Violence”

Jennifer Wolf, MD with Jason Strelzow, MD
Department: Orthopaedics

2018 Pilot Grants
Total Funds Awarded: $94,750

“Connecting the Dots: Evaluating the Use of Graphic Medicine to Empower Patient-Centered Technology Use”

Maria Lolita Alkureishi, MD with Wei Wei Lee, MD, MPH, Vineet Arora, MD
Department: Pediatrics

“Improving Parent Engagement Through Utilizing an Infant Crying Tool in Pediatric Clinics; A Multi-Layer Approach”

Bree Andrews, MD with Maria Lolita Alkureishi, MD, Tiffany Burkhardt, PhD
Department: Pediatrics

“Liver Ally: A Clinical Initiative to Improve the Liver Transplant Process through Caregiver Education and Support”

Andrew Aronsohn, MD with Vineet Arora, MD, Barrett Gray, LCSW, Lauren Feld, MD
Department: Medicine

“Improving the Advanced Communication Skills of Pritzker Medical Students Through the Implementation of an Improvisational Theatre Elective”

H. Barrett Fromme, MD with Nicola Orlov, MD, Anne Libera, Kelly Leonard
Department: Pediatrics

“Implantation and Evaluation of a Graduate Medical Education Bucksbaum Scholar Track”

Daniel Golden, MD with Brian Callender, MD
Departments: Radiation-Oncology and Medicine

“Communicating the External Beam Radiation Experience (CEBRE): Expansion and National Implementation”

Daniel Golden, MD with Ritu Arya, MD, Tomoko Ichikawa, MS, Brian Callender, MD, Anne McCall, MD
Department: Radiation-Oncology

“Socioeconomic Status and Adherence to Enhanced Recovery Pathways Following Colorectal Surgery: The Importance of Doctor-Patient Communication”

Neil Hyman, MD with Ben Shogan, MD, Lia Cannon, MD, Peter Angelos, MD, PhD
Department: Surgery

“Patient Decision Making Regarding Kidney Transplant Options: A Needs Assessment”

Michelle Josephson, MD with Yolanda Becker, MD, Tipu Puri, MD, Patrick Cunningham, MD, Lainie Ross, MD, Milda Saunders, MD, PhD
Departments: Medicine, Surgery and Pediatrics

“Surgeon Opioid Prescribing for Umbilical Hernia Repair”

Jessica Kandel, MD with Bethany Slater, MD
Departments: Surgery and Pediatrics

“Building the Business Case for Medical Scribes”

Neda Laiteerapong, MD with Wei Wei Lee, MD, MPH, Valerie Press, MD, MPH, Marie Brown, MD
Department: Medicine

“The Impact of Medical Scribes on Physician Work-Life Balance and Satisfaction in Orthopaedic Surgery and General Internal Medicine”

Wei Wei Lee, MD, MPH with Douglas Dirschl, MD, Neda Laiteerapong, MD, Kelly Hynes, MD
Departments: Medicine and Orthopaedics

“What Women Want: A Faculty Development Project in Shared Decision Making Through Core Primary Care Women’s Health Topics”

Amber Pincavage, MD with Jen Rusiecki, MD
Department: Medicine

“Flipping the Clinic Using Patient Driven Self-Management Training at Home to Enhance in Clinic Visits with Providers”

Valerie Press, MD, MPH with Sharon Feehan, APN, Jennifer Austin, PharmD, Steve White, MD, Anna Volerman, MD
Departments: Medicine and Pediatrics

“Use of Mobile Smartphone Technologies in Medical Practice to Improve Productivity, Reduce Cost, Improve Patient Engagement, and other Benefits”

Russell Reid, MD with Satanarayan Hedge, MD, Venkata Majeti, PhD
Departments: Surgery and Pediatrics

“Current Practices and Perceptions Regarding Patients Undergoing Endoscopy with a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order: A National Survey of Gastroenterologists”

David Rubin, MD with Vijaya Rao, MD, Lauren Feld, MD
Department: Medicine

“Evaluating TMW-Pediatrics: A Novel, Web-based Education Curriculum for Pediatricians”

Anna Volerman, MD with Valerie Press, MD, MPH, H. Barrett Fromme, MD
Departments: Medicine and Pediatrics

“Goal-Directed Decision Empowerment for Health Care Proxies (HCP)s of Persons Living with Advanced Dementia”

Shellie Williams, MD with Stacie Levine, MD, Katherine Thompson, MD, Rita Gorawhat-Bhat, PhD, South Shore Senior Center, St. Bernard’s Outpatient Center
Department: Medicine

“The Challenges of the ‘Good Physician’: Virtue Ethics, Clinical Wisdom, and Character Resilience in Medicine”

John Yoon, MD with Michael Hawking, MD, Sandra Ham, MS, Joni Krapec, MA
Department: Medicine

2017 Pilot Grants
Total Funds Awarded: $61,375

“Preeme+You: A Bedside Mobile Technology Application to Engage the Parents of Premature Infants”

Bree Andrews, MD with Larry Gray, MD, Yaya Ren, JD, PhD, Abbigail Whitney
Department: Pediatrics

“Second Annual Resilience Week: Promoting Resilience and Building Community”

Anita Blanchard, MD with GME Resilience Committee
Department: Obstetrics and Gynecology

“Assessing and Improving Attitudes, Practices and Procedures Surrounding Sexual Assault Patient Care in the University of Chicago Emergency Department”

Keme Carter, MD with Sonia Oyola, MD, Niccole Dussault, Ayushi Chandramani, Ramya Parameswaran, PhD
Departments: Medicine and Family Medicine

“The Use of Perioperative Videos to Enhance the Surgical Discussion”

Megan Conti Mica, MD with Jennifer Wolf, MD, Kelly Hynes, MD, Tessa Balach, MD
Department: Orthopaedics

“Understanding Patient Attitudes about Genetic Testing for APOL1 -Associated Kidney Disease”

Patrick Cunningham, MD with Milda Saunders, MD, Arlene Chapman, MD, Lainie Ross, MD, PhD
Department: Medicine

“Illustrated Versus Textual Radiotherapy Patient Education”

Dan Golden, MD with Ritu Arya, MD, Brian Callender, MD, Anne McCall, MD, Andrew Howard, MD, Andrew Howard, MD, Daniel Haraf, MD
Department: Radiation-Oncology

“Clear Education Initiative: Improving Anorectal Patient Experience and Therapy Adherence through User-Centered Educational Materials, a Targeted Anorectal Patient Navigator Program and Standardization of the Medical Message”

Neil Hyman, MD with Lisa Cannon, MD, Radhika Smith, MD, Laura Crawford, APN, Konstantin Umanskiy, MD
Department: Surgery

“The Physician-Industry Relationship: How do Conflicts of Interest Affect Patient Communication and Care?”

Michael Lee, MD with Lewis Shi, MD, Vineet Arora, MD, Marshall Chin, MD, MPH
Department: Orthopaedics

“Be Here”

Amber Pincavage, MD with Lisa Moore, MD, Sonia Oyola, MD
Department: Medicine

“Improving Patient-Provider Communication of Lung Function and Medication Adherence Using at Home Hand-Held Spirometry and Adherence SpiroPD Tool”

Valerie Press, MD, MPH with Steve White, MD, Ted Naureckas, MD, Mindy Jacobs, APN, and Jennifer Austin, PharmD
Department: Medicine

“Teaching Diagnostic Reasoning at the Bedside: The Core Clinical Competence”

Scott Stern, MD
Department: Medicine

“TMW-Pediatrics: Strengthening the Pediatric Provider’s Role in Parent Education on Early Language Development”

Dana Suskind, MD with Danielle LoRe
Departments: Pediatrics and Surgery

“A Pilot Project to Measure Mental Health Literacy in Psycho Oncology Patients”

Marie Tobin, MD with Holly Shiao, MD, Nancy Beckman, PhD, Amy Siston, PhD, Jill Bice, MS, RD, Julie Dalla Rosa LCSW, Kelly Truby, APN
Department: Psychiatry

2016 Pilot Grants
Total Funds Awarded: $74,024

Integrated Counseling at the Border of Viability for Infants Born 22-25 Weeks by a ‘Small Baby Counseling Team’

Bree Andrews, MD with Deborah Boyle, MD, Melissa Adrianov, MD, Kelly Kelly, MD, and
Lea Redd, BA
Department: Pediatrics

Provider Resilience as a Pathway to Wellness: Improving the Wellbeing of the Health Care Provider to Improve Patient Care

Anita Blanchard, MD with Adrianne Dade, MD, Sandra Valaitis, MD, Elizabeth Banks, MD,
Julia Simon, MD, Danielle Young, and Kathi Blaszkiewicz
Department: OB/GYN

Role Modeling Doctor-Patient Communication in the Pre-Operative Setting

Douglas Dirschl, MD with Megan Conti Mica, MD, David Dickerson, MD, Sarah Collins, MD, and Grace Mak, MD
Department: Orthopaedics

Optimizing Management of Pediatric Eye Trauma at a Level 1 Trauma Center

Jessica Kandel, MD with Kathryn Colby, MD, PhD, Tina Chen, MD, and Mark Slidell, MD
Departments: Surgery/OPVS/Pediatrics

Medical Scribes Pilot: Impact of Scribes on Patient-Doctor Relationship, Physician Satisfaction, and Patient Experience

Wei Wei Lee, MD with Deborah Burnet, MD, MPP, Neda Laiteerapong, MD, MPH,
Anna Volerman, MD, and Lauren Feld, MD
Department: Medicine

Teaching Diagnostic Reasoning at the Bedside: The Core Clinical Competence

Scott Stern, MD
Department: Medicine

CAMP (Chronic Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain) Clinic for Children and Adolescents: A New Clinical Initiative

Melissa Tesher, MD with Matthew Young, PhD and Carolyn Zic, RN
Department: Pediatrics

Using Empathy as a Clinical Tool. Elective Course for 4th Year Medical Students

Tamara Vokes, MD with Olwen Hahn, MD and Amber Pincavage, MD
Department: Medicine

Project on the Good Physician: Medical School Predictors of Physicians’ Opinions on Long-Term Doctor-Patient Relationships

John Yoon, MD with Sandra A. Ham, MS, MA
Department: Medicine

Water, Water, a Secret Elixir and Genie in the Smart Bottle: Improving Patient Compliance with Fluid Intake Prescription with Non-Invasive Hydration Monitoring via a Smart Bottle

Anna Zisman, MD with Arlene Chapman, MD
Department: Medicine

2015 Pilot Grants
Total Funds Awarded: $66,180

The Premie “Show and Tell” Story Project: Using Mobile Technologies to Co-Create Meaningful Interactions For Life in High Risk Families and Improve Premature Infant Growth and Development

Bree Andrews, MD with Larry Gray, MD and Yaya Ren, MD, PhD
Department: Pediatrics

Understanding Your Hospitalization: A Graphic Narrative to Empower Patients and Improve Communication During the Inpatient Experience

Brian Callender, MD with Vineet Arora, MD, MAPP, MK Czerwiec, RN, MA, and Alyssa Wiener, MS1
Department: Medicine

Qualitative Study on Patient-Centered Interunit Care Transitions

Keme Carter, MD with Barrett Fromme, MD
Department: Medicine/Pediatrics

Randomized Controlled Trial Assessing Music to Alleviate Anxiety During Transrectal Prostate Biopsy

Scott Eggener, MD with Glenn Gerber, MD, Vignesh Packiam, MD, Andrew Cohen, MD, and
Charley Nottingham, MD
Department: Surgery

Optimizing Role Modeling Encounters: The Efficacy of a Metacognitive

Barrett Fromme, MD with Rachel Stork, MD
Department: Pediatrics

Promoting the Skill Set for Compassionate Patient Care During Invasive Outpatient Procedures in Colon and Rectal Surgery

Neil Hyman, MD with Kanstantin Umanskiy, MD and Lisa Cannon, MD
Department: Surgery

The PICU Passport: Improving Life After Pediatric Critical Illness

Neethi Pinto, MD with Bree Andrews, MD
Department: Pediatrics

It Takes Two: What Doctors Say, What Patients Understand in a Nephrology Visit

Milda Saunders, MD, MPH with Bree Andrews, MD
Department: Medicine

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Manage Gait Difficulty in Parkinson Patients

Tao Xie, MD, PhD with Joseph Cooper, MD and John Jacobson, MD, PhD
Departments: Neurology and Psychiatry

2014 Pilot Grants
Total Funds Awarded: $71,400

A Perinatal Palliative Care Program: Meeting the Needs of Babies and their Families after the Diagnosis of a Life-Limiting Condition

Leslie Caldarelli, MD with C. Lydia Wright, MD, Deborah Boyle, MD, Laura DiGiovanni, MD,
Deborah Raithel, Kathleen O’Sullivan, and Amy Morris
Department: Pediatrics

Transitional Clinics for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): A Comprehensive Approach to Improving Patient Care

Stacy Kahn, MD with David Rubin, MD, Rachel Greenley, PhD (Franklin U), and Laurie Keefer, PhD (Northwestern)
Department: Pediatrics

Curriculum Based Education of Parents and Families of Children with Colorectal Anomalies

Grace Mak, MD with Christa Fox, MD
Department: Surgery

Youth HIV/AIDS Patient Care and Satisfaction Pilot Research and Training Series

John Schneider, MD, MPH
Department: Medicine

PI-REAL: A Pilot Study of Improving Informed Consent Communication in REAL-TIME During Phase I Cancer Trial Clinical Encounters

Manish Sharma, MD with Fay Hlubocky, PhD, MA and Christopher Daugherty, MD
Department: Medicine

Improving Utilization of Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Robert Steppacher, MD with Sachin Shah, MD, Ross Milner, MD, Laurie Lozanski, RVT, Yashas Attanayake (CBIS) and Christopher Skelly, MD
Department: Surgery

Optimizing the Radiology Experience through Radiologist-Patient Interaction

Christopher Straus, MD with Larry Dixon, MD, Gregory Stacy, MD, and Deepa Sheth, MD
Department: Radiology

Developing Innovative Strategies to Teach Population Health Management

Lisa Vinci, MD with George Weyer, MD, Julie Oyler, MD, Neda Laiteerapong, MD, and
Sachin Shah, MD
Department: Medicine

Improving Care of Patients with Psychogenic Movement Disorders: A Model Involving In Depth Communication between the Movement Specialist, Psychiatrist & Patient

Tao Xie, MD, PhD with Marie Tobin, MD
Departments: Neurology and Psychiatry

Do Long-term Doctor-Patient Relationships Matter? Exploring the Impact of Longitudinal Relationships on Clinical Outcomes

John Yoon, MD with Ross Milner, MD and Joni Krapec, MA (College)
Department: Medicine

2013 Pilot Grants
Total Funds Awarded: $69,500

A Formal Curriculum in Surgical Professionalism and Ethics

Peter Angelos, MD, PhD with Ross Milner, MD and Raymon Grogan, MD
Department: Surgery

To enhance and encourage the professionalism of surgical residents and their understanding of the central concepts of surgical ethics.

Predictors of satisfaction with surgical decision-making in elderly women undergoing gynecologic surgery

Sarah Collins, MD with Sandra Culbertson, MD and Nita Lee, MD
Department: OB/GYN

To evaluate the impact of medical and demographic characteristics, such as surgical indications, medical comorbidities, and health literacy, on how elderly women feel about their decisions regarding gynecologic surgical interventions.

A Pilot Program of Cost Communication in Hematologic Malignancies

Jonas de Souza, MD with Michael Bishop, MD, Lauren Kirby, LCSW, and Christopher Daugherty, MD
Department: Medicine

To develop educational material and further provide education to patients with hematologic malignancies related to the costs of their cancer care.

An Acute Pain Patient with Advanced Stage Cancer and a Hospice Patient with Respiratory Distress in the ER: Improving Resident Physician Communications with Patients at the End of Life Utilizing Simulation Training

Allen Gustin, MD
Department: Anesthesia

To characterize the relative effectiveness of EOL simulation training on improving ACGME Core Competency (patient care, communication, and professionalism) scores of participants residency rotation evaluations.

Quality Improvement vs Research: Controversies and Confusion

Emily Landon, MD with Jessica Curley, MD
Department: Medicine and Pediatrics

To systematically delineate the conflicts that arise in the determination of whether or not a QI project requires IRB approval by applying widely available QI vs research checklists to IRB approved projects and non-approved, self-defined QI projects at UCM.

Dynamic Operational Mapping – Annotation for Patient and Family Education

Alexander Langerman, MD with John Alverdy, MD, David Song, MD, and
Marko Rojnica, MD
Department: Surgery

To develop and field-test modules surrounding two common surgical procedures that contain multimedia informational content regarding clinical details, instrumentation, decision-making and workflow. These modules are intended for applicability to a wide-range of audiences - patients, families, medical students, OR staff, anesthesiologists, surgeons, and trainees - and in this project will be specifically annotated for use in patient counseling. Our hypothesis is that annotated dynamic operational maps (DOMs) will enhance surgeon-patient and surgeon-family communication regarding risks and benefits. We will test this hypothesis via the approach of conducting pre- and post-DOM implementation follow-up interviews to assess information transfer during surgeon-patient and surgeon-family encounters.

Improving Patient-Centered Technology (iPaCT) Use

Wei Wei Lee, MD
Department: Medicine

To understand how patients perceive technology use by physicians in inpatient and outpatient interactions, with a focus on the impact on the patient-doctor relationship and to develop and implement the “Improving Patient-Centered Technology Use (iPaCT)” curriculum for internal medicine (IM) residents.

Improving Professionalism for Physicians in Training: A Curriculum Based Approach

Ross Milner, MD with Jerome Klafta, MD and Baddr Shaksheer, MD
Department: Surgery

To create a program that improves professionalism in housestaff that receive poor evaluations as determined by the AGCME competency system.

Provider Training to Improve Patient Medication Adherence in Federally Qualified Health Center Settings: The Case of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

John Schneider, MD
Department: Medicine

The objective of this clinical initiative pilot grant is to develop strategies and tools for providers in resource restricted settings to improve Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) across the spectrum of adherence. We will focus on both physician-patient and physician-health system interactions that drive adherence.

2012 Pilot Grant Awards
Total Funds Awarded: $68,080

Sickle Cell Focus Group for Development of a Care Card

Gina Dudley, MD
Department: Medicine

With the support of the Bucksbaum Institute Pilot Grant, the University Of Chicago Medicine Adult Sickle Cell Program has implemented a project to develop a patient-centered self-management tool for improved disease control. The purpose of the project is to improve patient/provider communication by creating a portable medical record for sickle cell patients. This tool features specific details of care individualized for each patient, serving as a communication tool when patients present to acute care facilities, hospitals, and outside clinics. Central to this tool is input from patients, as provided in a focus group that allowed clinic participants to brainstorm about revisions to previous iterations of the card. By incorporating patient recommendations, the tool emphasizes the importance of the patient-doctor dyad.

View Report

Understanding the Psychology of Thyroid Cancer in an Era of Increasing Incidence

Raymon Grogan, MD
Department: Surgery

In a recent study our group estimated that by 2019, thyroid cancer will be the 3rd most common cancer in women of all ages, and the second most common cancer in women under the age of 45 in the United States. Despite the increasing incidence, thyroid cancer survival has remained relatively stable in recent years. The prognosis for thyroid cancer is good as the 10-year survival rate for papillary thyroid cancer is as high as 97% in some studies. A high rate of survival, a relatively younger age at diagnosis, and the rising incidence is resulting in a greater prevalence of thyroid cancer survivors. In another recent study our group found that 11% of thyroid cancer recurrences and 17% of deaths occur more than 20 years after diagnosis. This leads to a lifetime of follow-up and the knowledge that once diagnosed, a person will never be fully cured of their cancer. Unfortunately, the psychology of thyroid cancer survivorship has been neglected and understudied. Our recent findings confirm that there is a clear need for a comprehensive evaluation of the psychological impact of thyroid cancer on survivor QoL so that physicians can be better equipped to help patients cope with these lifelong consequences.

Improving Patient Perception During Disclosure Conversations of Unanticipated Outcomes

Allen Gustin, MD
Department: Anesthesia

Since the 1999 landmark Institute of Medicine report “To Err is Human,” evolving healthcare innovations have intended to reduce harmful patient events through education and systems improvements. Many organizations have been advocating for patient safety by instituting quality measures meant to create environments of transparency and encourage disclosure practices. Educational disclosure training programs are slow to grow and currently seem to be limited to cognitive exercises via electronic learning modules. I proposed a simulation study employing "real time" simulation disclosure training within the University of Chicago Medical Center. Simulation training has proven a viable training modality in sustaining changes in communication behaviors. To date, no investigator has validated the relationship between educational disclosure training and the perceptions of trained actors acting as patients after disclosure of harmful events. I propose this novel project with the following specific aims: to characterize the relative effectiveness of simulation disclosure conversations using Effective Arts actors and using the “Attend-To’s” methodology, to characterize the relative effectiveness of simulated disclosure conversations after simulated unanticipated outcomes using utilizing real time disclosure simulation as best practice as assessed by pre and post simulation assessments, and to characterize the relative experiences of participants using post evaluations and reflective practices after each RT unanticipated outcome simulation.

View Report

Communication Skills Training Program for Oncology

Olwen Hahn, MD
Department: Medicine

Effective communication is crucial to successful physician-patient encounters. Cancer patients report unmet communication needs for information about disease extent, prognosis, and treatment options. In communicating with patients, physicians tend to focus on technical and cognitive information, and they often omit key communication tasks such as eliciting patient’s perceptions and tailoring information to meet patient’s needs. Several studies have demonstrated that effective communication is not an innate talent, but a learned series of skills. Communications skills training (CST) is a vehicle to learn and solidify skills that improve doctor-patient interactions and professionalism. Only 5% of practicing oncologists have received formal training in communication and most fellowship programs do not offer CST. In 2010, a CST curriculum was initiated for the University of Chicago’s Hematology-Oncology fellows. The teaching methods include didactic lectures and workshop-based sessions. The Bucksbaum Institute’s grant provides an opportunity to augment this program by piloting a critical component of CST for trainees: experiential role-play of common oncology topics with standardized patients. The grant funds small-group practice sessions with standardized patients, faculty facilitator, and trainee. Topics to be covered include: breaking bad news, family meetings, and transitions to hospice. The goal of this educational initiative is to improve the communication skills by oncology trainees and improve their interactions with patients. If successful, our program could be adopted by other graduate training programs at University of Chicago.

View Report

Physicians as First Line Responders Against Human Trafficking

Jennifer Hofer, MD
Department: Anesthesia

The Bucksbaum Institute Pilot Grant was awarded for the creation of guidelines and a curriculum that would empower physicians to be first line responders against human trafficking. Nearly one-third of victims interact with medical providers at least once during their captivity, yet the victims are not identified as victims and are instead returned to captivity. Human trafficking affects up to 200 million people worldwide. In Chicago alone between 2006-2007, an estimated 16,000-25,000 women were victims of trafficking. These victims are at high risk for illness, severe mental trauma, violent physical trauma, and sexually transmitted disease. Physicians are in an ideal position to screen and identify victims of human trafficking and to intervene to help them obtain medical care. Physicians can also work with other disciplines including social services, psychology departments, and the law to help victims obtain safe shelter, counseling, and legal aid. The ultimate goal is to restore human rights to the victims, bring the captors to justice, and end human trafficking. The grant money was designated towards education to create awareness on this topic, and to develop a lecture series to empower young physicians to identify, and intervene to help trafficked victims.

Patient Beliefs Regarding How the Timing of A1C and BP Control Affects Diabetes Outcomes

Neda Laiteerapong, MD
Department: Medicine

Patients are routinely challenged by complex medical decisions regarding when to undertake preventive, acute, or chronic care. Evidence from the UKPDS has suggested that, among adults with newly diagnosed diabetes, early tight hemoglobin A1C (A1C) control has benefits both at ~10 and ~20 years, while tight blood pressure (BP) control may have benefits only while tight control is maintained. For patients with established diabetes, more recent trial results have suggested that pursuing very tight A1C control may have little benefit, or even cause harm. Thus the timing of A1C and BP control may have important clinical consequences for patients with diabetes. A fundamental questions is raised by these timing effects: what do patients believe regarding how time affects the burdens and benefits of achieving tight A1C and BP control, defined by an A1C<7% and BP<130/80 mmHg.

I will conduct semi-structured interviews with 40 patients with diabetes from diverse clinical settings, in order to: Aim 1. Describe patients’ beliefs regarding when medications are needed for tight A1C and BP control, when benefits from tight A1C and BP control are expected to accrue, and whether the timing of tight A1C and BP control alters benefits. Aim 2. Explore how patients evaluate a given treatment regimen in the context of new information about the timing effects of tight A1C and BP control.

Endometrial Cancer Survivorship in African American Women

Nita Lee, MD
Department: OB/GYN

Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecologic malignancy, affecting 43,000 women each year. Women with endometrial cancer are likely to be diagnosed early and cured of their disease. Despite a positive cancer outcome, the major risk factors for the disease, which include obesity and diabetes, persist long after the cancer diagnosis, placing these women at high risk for future morbidity and mortality. Sixty to eighty percent of women are overweight or obese at the time of diagnosis. Thus, a new diagnosis of endometrial cancer becomes a compelling reason to promote nutrition, healthy behaviors, and weight loss in individual patients and their families.

The objective of this pilot proposal is to better understand knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding endometrial cancer, obesity, and feasibility of lifestyle change among African American women with endometrial cancer and their female family and social network using qualitative research methodology. A cancer diagnosis can be teachable moment in which the clinician can influence obesity-related behaviors. Themes and concerns elucidated via moderated focus groups will build the foundation and drive future patient-centered interventions supporting cancer education and healthy lifestyle change among African American women.

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Communication During Pediatric Resuscitation

Diana Mitchell, MD and Alisa McQueen, MD
Department: Pediatrics

One of the most stressful events for medical providers is the resuscitation of a critically ill child. And of course, such an event is unthinkable for parents. However, survey shows that parents wish to be present during the resuscitation of their child. We developed a simulation-based resuscitation curriculum to train fellows in pediatric critical care and emergency medicine how best to carry out a pediatric resuscitation in the presence of a family member. Each case uses a high-fidelity mannequin to guide fellows through advanced medical interventions and procedural skills in the resuscitation of a pediatric patient. During the scenarios, fellows communicate with standardized patients acting as parents. Program evaluations rate the sessions as highly realistic. All fellows report they plan to change their management of patients based on the sessions. Self-assessment of skills before and after each session indicate that fellows feel more comfortable with parental presence during a resuscitation, explaining medical interventions, communicating with family members, and answering hard questions (i.e. “is my child going to die?”) after completion of the sessions. Future directions include implementing the curriculum as a mandatory component of fellow training and development of a best practices video so that key skills can be disseminated across other training programs and medical disciplines.

View Report

1200 Patients Project

Peter H. O’Donnell, MD
Department: Medicine

“Personalized medicine” has been practiced for centuries, but with sequencing of the first human genome in 2000, the expectation became that ‘personalized medicine’ would also mean inclusion of genetic information. The field of pharmacogenomics has permitted discovery of genetic polymorphisms for many drugs, but thus far, information has infrequently been utilized due to poor physician knowledge about drug-gene relationships, limited avenues for testing, and time delays to receive results.

This project aims to overcome these barriers to realize the promise of pharmacogenomics. We are prospectively enrolling 1200 adults receiving routine outpatient care from early-adopter physicians at The University of Chicago. Patients are preemptively genotyped across a panel of polymorphisms selected based upon clinically relevant evidence of their pharmacogenomic role. Patient-specific results are made available to early-adopters through a created research portal (the “genomic prescribing system”) which provides instantaneous pharmacogenomic consultations. Through this individualized health care model, we are studying how pharmacogenomic results are utilized by physicians if timely, interpretable results are provided, and whether inappropriate or high risk medications are less likely to be prescribed in patients for whom pharmacogenomic results are known. Importantly, we are studying how the availability of pharmacogenomic information impacts the nature of the doctor-patient relationship.

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Engineering Patient-Oriented Clinic Handoffs

Amber Pincavage, MD
Department: Medicine

While patients are especially vulnerable as they transition to care by a new physician, patient input into the resident clinic handoff process is lacking. To create a patient-centered process, we interviewed patients shortly after their transition for suggestions. Using this input, two months before the 2012 handoff, patients were sent a “transition packet” with a welcome letter from the new resident with their picture and personal information (i.e. hobbies), a certificate of teaching recognition, and a visit preparation tool. In 2012 (post-packet), patients were interviewed by phone on the impact of the packet. In 2011 and 2012, charts were reviewed to examine outcomes. The majority of patients post-packet (99%) were aware of the handoff. Of the 44% of patients who remembered the packet, most (70%) reported that it helped them build rapport, acknowledged their role as a teacher, and helped them prepare for their first visit. Fewer patients missed their first visit with their new physician (43% 2011 vs. 31% 2012, p<0.01) and were lost to follow-up six months after the handoff (22% 2011 vs. 12% 2012, p<0.01). A patient-centered clinic handoff was helpful to patients and may have encouraged patients to return for care after the handoff.

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Daily Prognostication of Outcome in the Pediatric ICU

Neethi Pinto, MD
Department: Pediatrics

Limited data exists regarding the accuracy of clinician predictions of morbidity and mortality in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Our objective was to determine the accuracy of such prognostications. We hypothesized that predictions, obtained daily from members of the clinician care team (attending physician, fellow, resident/nurse practioner, and bedside nurse) would have limited predictive value for distinguishing survivors versus nonsurvivors. We expected the positive predictive value of prognostication to increase with level of experience, confidence in prediction, concordance among the team, and if the outcome measure included severe functional morbidity. We enrolled 143 children and obtained 3266 intuitions from clinicians over 978 patient days. Our preliminary results indicate that a prediction of death by any member of the care team was not predictive of mortality, but increased when agreement existed across the team, with serial predictions over time, and with experience. Regarding functional outcome at 1 month, there was limited concordance between attending predictions, parent assessment, and a validated scoring tool. Expansion of enrollment and analysis of 6 month outcomes will increase knowledge of the accuracy of clinician prognosis with the potential of improving overall physician-patient communication during an especially stressful time for families and their critically ill children.

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Annual Education Event with Supporting Group for Parkinson’s

Tao Xie, MD
Department: Neurology

Patient education is very important to enhance patient-doctor relationship, patient satisfaction and their quality of life as well. Patient education in movement disorders could help patients understand and manage better their motor and non-motor symptoms and take best advantage of the state-of-the-art treatment option such as deep brain stimulation (DBS). Patient education, however, was not well addressed here and in many other places.

We therefore have conducted a serial of patient education initiatives. We prepared written materials and video clips on various movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, tremor and dystonia, particularly on the DBS treatment. We also routinely videotaped the pre-surgical status of the movement disorders for post-surgical comparison, which helps the patient to appreciate and enjoy better the post-surgical function improvement and has particular benefit for those patients who somehow do not recognize the improved function capacity even with the significant improved motor symptoms on objective post-surgical evaluation, cases so far difficult to be treated otherwise. In addition, we have more education and outreaching activity in April to benefit more patients including those currently not under our care.

Through these educations, we have enhanced patient satisfaction and patient-doctor relationship, delivered quality of care, and improved quality of life.

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Operationalizing the Virtues for Good Doctor-Patient Relationships

John Yoon, MD
Department: Medicine

Delivering compassionate, patient-centered care remains a key aspirational goal of the medical profession and is central to good doctor-patient relationships. But can such professional virtue be taught and assessed? In our previous work funded by the Science of Virtues at the University of Chicago, we have surveyed a nationally representative sample of medical students clustered within schools. With support from the Bucksbaum Institute, we conducted qualitative interviews with purposively sampled subgroups in order to test and refine the methods and measures that will be deployed in a future longitudinal study. One sub-group was those nominated into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. The other sub-group was those who were not nominated for Gold Humanism. Overall, 21 students were interviewed (10 from Gold subgroup, 11 from non-Gold subgroup). Currently, interviews are now transcribed and being coded for thematic analysis. We hypothesize that role models (clinical exemplars) play a major formative role in those nominated for the Gold Humanism Honor Society. The project contributes to research on the doctor-patient relationship by developing physician-specific measures of these professional virtues and by generating novel insights about character development and moral enculturation among physicians-in-training.

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