Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute awards funding to address research priorities in health care for women with diabetes

Wanda Nicholson, MD, MPH, MBA, director of the Diabetes and Obesity Core at the UNC Center for Women’s Health Research and member of the UNC Diabetes Center, will partner with Wendy Bennett, MD, MPH, of Johns Hopkins University, to create an online network to engage women with diabetes.

Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute awards funding to address research priorities in health care for women with diabetes click to enlarge Wanda Nicholson, MD, MPH, MBA

Drs. Nicholson, Bennett, and other collaborators have received a two-year grant from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to create the DiabetesSisters Network, an online social networking tool to engage women living with diabetes, elicit their feedback about gaps in health care, and gain their perspectives on research priorities.

The researchers acknowledge that engaging patients to understand what is most important to them is an important step in ensuring policy makers, health system leaders, funding organizations and researchers focus clinical research and quality improvement on efforts that are patient-centered and meaningful. Though the social networks to connect with patients are widely available, little evidence exists on how researchers can most effectively use the technology and how patient feedback can be incorporated into research efforts. This project aims to address both issues.

“This project represents an important step for our diabetes and obesity research efforts,” said Nicholson, who is also a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UNC-Chapel Hill. “We are excited about our partnership with DiabetesSisters and the opportunity to promote patient-centered, high quality care for women with diabetes or obesity.”

The research team will partner with a Stakeholder Advisory Board and the online DiabetesSisters Network to hear feedback on unanswered research and health questions most relevant to women living with diabetes.

“We look forward to working with Drs. Nicholson and Bennett to create a pathway for women from all walks of life to engage in meaningful conversations about their health care experiences and guide researchers forming the next generation of research questions,” said Anna Norton, a patient stakeholder and CEO of DiabetesSisters.

At the conclusion of the two-year study, the research team will assess the questions generated through the engagement and the potential impact on research, policy and advocacy.

The research team represents a collaborative group whose collective expertise will be used for this transdisciplinary and innovative research approach.

Research team members are:

  • Wanda Nicholson, MD MPH MBA, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine
  • Wendy Bennett, MD MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Anna Norton, MS,  patient stakeholder and CEO, DiabetesSisters., Chicago, Illinois
  • Richard Singerman, TrustNetMD, Washington, DC

Members of the Stakeholder Advisory Board include representatives from organizations committed to diabetes and women’s health research:

  • PatientsLikeMe, Inc.
  • DiabetesSisters
  • National Association of Hispanic Nurses
  • Black Women’s Health Imperative
  • Society for Women’s Health Research

Learn more about the program here.

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