Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Announces Award to Case Western Reserve University to Study How Applying Patient Strengths Can Improve their Health Care

Project Part of PCORI’s Effort to Help Patients Make Better-Informed Health Decisions

News Release: Thursday, December 27, 2012

CLEVELAND - Case Western Reserve University has been approved for a research award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study ways that applying patients’ strengths can help enhance their health care and well-being. The project is part of a portfolio of patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research that addresses PCORI’s National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda.

Kurt C. Stange, MD, PhD, Professor of Family Medicine & Community Health at the School of Medicine will lead the research project, which departs from the typical care model focusing on patient challenges or weaknesses. Instead, researchers will explore how patient strengths can be integrated into assessment and treatment to improve patient outcomes. Strengths could include a patient’s resilience or mindfulness, as well as relationships with family and friends and resources available within the community.

Case Western Reserve researchers will work with patients and clinicians in the Safety Net Providers' Strategic Alliance—a Cleveland-area consortium (known formally as a Practice-Based Research Network) involving 17 community health centers and two free clinics. The project team also includes collaborators at the University of Oslo in Norway and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who will help develop an interactive online tool to assess patient strengths. The researchers will create computerized simulation models to compare outcomes from employing patient-identified strengths to deficit and symptom-focused care.

“Today marks a major milestone in our work as we build a portfolio of comparative clinical effectiveness research that will provide patients and those who care for them better information about the health care decisions they face,” said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH. “These research projects reflect PCORI’s patient-centered research agenda, emphasizing the inclusion of patients and caregivers at all stages of the research.”

PCORI is committing $40.7 million in funding for a slate of 25 projects, which were approved by PCORI’s Board of Governors following a competitive, multi-stage review process involving scientists, patients, caregivers and other stakeholders. Proposals were evaluated on the basis of scientific merit, engagement of patients and stakeholders, methodological rigor and fit within PCORI’s National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda.

The awards were part of PCORI’s first cycle of primary research funding and selected from among nearly 500 completed applications submitted earlier this year. All proposals were approved pending a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and completion of a formal award contract. The amount of the award will be finalized after that process.

“This award will allow us to work with community and university partners to develop and evaluate an approach that brings patients' often untapped personal, family and community strengths into the process of health care, healing and health promotion,” Stange said. “Instead of the usual approach of focusing primarily on deficits, this model has the potential to give patients and their partners a more fully informed and empowered role in advancing their well-being.”

For more information about PCORI’s Funding Announcements, visit www.pcori.org/funding-opportunities.

About Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Founded in 1843, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine is the largest medical research institution in Ohio and is among the nation's top medical schools for research funding from the National Institutes of Health. The School of Medicine is recognized throughout the international medical community for outstanding achievements in teaching. The School's innovative and pioneering Western Reserve2 curriculum interweaves four themes--research and scholarship, clinical mastery, leadership, and civic professionalism--to prepare students for the practice of evidence-based medicine in the rapidly changing health care environment of the 21st century. Eleven Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with the school.

Annually, the School of Medicine trains more than 800 M.D. and M.D./Ph.D. students and ranks in the top 25 among U.S. research-oriented medical schools as designated by U.S. News & World Report's "Guide to Graduate Education."

The School of Medicine's primary affiliate is University Hospitals Case Medical Center and is additionally affiliated with MetroHealth Medical Center, the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the Cleveland Clinic, with which it established the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University in 2002.