Division Research

Faculty in the Division of General Internal Medicine are engaged in a broad spectrum of clinical and translational research activities, including: clinical epidemiology, outcomes, health services, quality improvement, medical errors, patient safety, disparities, chronic disease, cancer prevention, medical informatics, geriatrics, palliative care, medical education, and translational research studies.

Current Studies

Harnessing the EMR to Reduce Delays in the Diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes: A Systems-based Decision Support Approach

Dr. Michael Bowen

Principal Investigator: Michael Bowen, M.D., M.P.H.
Funding Source: University of Texas System
Grant Objective: This proposal leverages laboratory data on abnormal glucose values in the EMR to improve the detection and follow-up testing rates of abnormal glucose values. It will characterize the epidemiology of abnormal random glucose measurements and failures in timely follow-up and conduct a cluster randomized, pragmatic trial comparing the effectiveness of a decision support intervention to increase timely follow-up of abnormal glucose values.


Predicting Diabetes Risk Using Glucose Data

Dr. Michael Bowen

Principal Investigator: Michael Bowen, M.D., M.P.H.
Funding Source: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Objective:T his K23 award will harness data in the EMR to detect patterns of abnormal random glucose that identify patients with suspected but undiagnosed diabetes/pre-diabetes, conduct a prospective diabetes/pre-diabetes screening study in those at high risk, and develop EMR-enabled decision support to flag and prompt definitive testing of those at high risk.


Inborn Errors of Metabolism

Dr. Rody Cox
Dr. Richard Wynn

Principal Investigators: Rody Cox, M.D. and Richard Wynn, Ph.D.
Funding Source: UT Southwestern, Department of Internal Medicine
Objective: This work focuses on the molecular genetic basis of mitochondrial multienzyme complex deficiencies, e.g. Maple Syrup Urine Disease.


Mitochondrial Multienzyme Complexes

Dr. Rody Cox
Dr. Richard Wynn

Principal Investigators: Rody Cox, M.D. and Richard Wynn, Ph.D.
Funding Source: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases
Objective: These grants examine the structure and function of mitochondrial multienzyme protein complexes including X-ray structural analysis of the catalytic and regulatory subunits.


Improving Decision-Making for Patients with Asymptomatic Carotid Disease

Dr. Ethan Halm

Principal Investigator: Ethan Halm, M.D., M.P.H.
Funding Source: Foundation for Informed Medical Decision-Making
Objective: This study will involve conducting a web-based randomized control trial to assess the impact of several different decision aid design features on knowledge, comprehension, and decision-making.


Population-Based Research Optimizing Screening through Personalized Regimens (PROSPR)

Dr. Ethan Halm
Dr. Celette Skinner

Principal Investigators: Ethan Halm, M.D., M.P.H., and Celette Skinner, Ph.D.
Funding Sources: National Cancer Institute
Objective: This five-year, $6.3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute examines the processes and outcomes of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening in an EMR-enabled, population-based safety net health system, and also includes: 1) a comparative effectiveness trial of two system-based CRC screening outreach programs, 2) study of a personalized, clinic-based in-reach programs; 3) examination of the impact of organizational factors and social disadvantage on screening. We are one of seven sites in this NCI PROSPR cancer screening consortium.
Study website:  PROSPR


UT Southwestern Center for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research

Dr. Ethan Halm

Principal Investigator: Ethan Halm, M.D., M.P.H.
Funding Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Objective: This five-year R24 grant aims to enhance and expand the research infrastructure, databases, training programs, personnel, natural laboratories and collaborative relationships needed to conduct high quality patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) and comparative effectiveness research (CER) at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas (UTSW), Parkland Health and Hospital System (Parkland), Children's Medical Center (Children's), and the North Texas Veterans Administration Health Systems (Dallas VA). All of the proposed infrastructure activities and research projects are focused on conducting PCOR and CER in underserved patients, populations, and settings, including those served by safety-net systems, people who are economically disadvantaged, racial/ethnic minorities, immigrant populations, and those lacking health insurance or access to care.


Post-acute Care in the Elderly: The Role of Long-term Acute Care Hospitals

Dr. Anil Makam

Principal Investigator: Anil N. Makam, M.D., M.A.S.
Funding Source: ;National Institute on Aging
Objective: This 5-year K23 grant will examine variation and outcomes of care of comparably sick elderly individuals discharged to long-term acute care hospitals (LTACs) versus those discharged to skilled nursing facilities. It will use national Medicare data, EHR data from a regional hospital network, and prospective data collection to understand patterns of post-acute care, the patient, provider and system factors influencing LTAC use, and their associated clinical outcomes and costs.


The Role of Long-term Acute Care Hospitals in Caring for Non-ventilated Older Adults

Dr. Anil Makam

Principal Investigator: Anil N. Makam, M.D., M.A.S.
Funding Source: National Institute on Aging
Objective: This GEMSSTAR R03 grant will use national Medicare data to: 1) examine why hospitalized older adults are discharged to long-term acute care hospitals (LTAC) versus remaining in the acute care hospital, the principal alternate to LTACs; and 2) comparatively assess the effectiveness of LTACs versus continued care in the acute care hospital on outcomes, utilization, costs, and spending.


Social Vulnerabilities to Prevent Readmissions in Adults with Cardiovascular Disease: Derivation and Validation of Readmissions Prediction Models

Dr. Oanh Kieu Ngyuen

Principal Investigator: Oanh Kieu Nguyen, M.D., M.A.S.
Funding Source: Department of Internal Medicine, UT Southwestern
Objective:  This study will use EHR data to develop predictive models to identify hospitalized patients with congestive heart failure and ischemic heart disease at high risk for readmission, and to stratify individuals by medical severity and social vulnerabilities. This project is a critical first step towards designing a patient-centered enhanced intervention strategy building on evidence-based transitional care interventions to address health-related social vulnerabilities in addition to medical needs to prevent readmissions.


Assessing the Comparative Effectiveness of Scheduled Versus Emergency Dialysis in End-stage Renal Disease

Dr. Oanh Kieu Ngyuen

Principal Investigator: Oanh Kieu Nguyen, M.D., M.A.S.
Funding source: UT Southwestern Center for Translational Medicine Translational Pilot Program
Objective: This translational research pilot study will establish a cornerstone of the foundational evidence base that is needed for a robust, definitive cost-effectiveness analysis of dialysis strategies for ESRD. This knowledge will enable the translation of evidence into policy to enable universal access and use of the most cost-effective and evidence-based dialysis strategy for all individuals with ESRD.


Building Capacity for Effective, Equitable Implementation of a Social-ealth Information Exchange for the Underserved in Dallas

Dr. Oanh Kieu Ngyuen

Principal Investigator: Oanh Kieu Nguyen, M.D., M.A.S.
Funding source: Program for Development and Evaluation of Model Community Health Initiatives in Dallas (PDEMCHID)
Objective: This community-based research pilot study will provide Parkland and Dallas community partners with critical information for successful implementation of a social-health information exchange portal to better tailor existing health and social services to client needs, coordinate care across sectors, and promote delivery of complementary health and social services through use of the information exchange.


Coping with Cancer III

Dr. Elizabeth Paulk

Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Paulk, M.D.
Funding Source: National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
Objective: This is a multi-center, prospective, observational study to identify specific culturally influenced beliefs and socio-cultural factors that significantly contribute to Latino/non-Latino disparities in advance care planning and end-of-life care. The research focuses on patients with advanced cancer and their caregivers.


Planning for the Care You Want: An Intervention for African Americans in the Outpatient Setting

Dr. Ramona Rhodes

Principal Investigator: Ramona Rhodes, M.D.
Funding Source: American Cancer Society
Objective: The overall objective is to design and implement a novel intervention in the outpatient setting to improve physicians’ abilities to identify those patients most appropriate for in-depth discussions about end-of-life care planning options and to change knowledge and beliefs about these options among African Americans diagnosed with cancer.