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

U54 Parkland-UT Southwestern PROSPR Center: Improving Colon Cancer Screening in a Safety Net Health System (Multiple PIs, Skinner, Halm)

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.

Making both the EHR and Providers Smarter: Optimizing the Epic EHR to create accurate ambulatory quality measures and user-friendly Best Practice Alerts to drive quality (PI, Halm)

This work, funded by a $500,000 award from the University of Texas Health System Chancellors Fellow in Health IT grant program, will implement, refine, and evaluate an innovative suite of optimizations to the Epic EHR to improve the quality of chronic disease care and preventive screening in primary care.

Long-Term Outcomes of Carotid Endarterectomy in the Elderly (PI, Halm)

This NIH-funded R01 grant will determine the long-term outcomes of carotid endarterectomy by examining the five- and 10-year death and stroke-free survival in a large, population-based, statewide cohort of 10,000 Medicare patients.

Improving Decision-Making for Patients with Asymptomatic Carotid Disease (PI, Halm)

This Foundation for Informed Medical Decision-Making grant will conduct a web-based randomized control trial to assess the impact of several different decision aid design features on knowledge, comprehension, and decision-making.

Automating Identification of Patients at a High Risk for Readmission (PI, Amarasingham)

This two-year, $2 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation will transform the PIECES™ predictive modeling and e-coordination software into a robust generalizable and exportable software platform that has new artificial intelligence features and implement it in pilot site hospitals.

Research and Design of the Parkland Information Exchange Portal (PI, Amarasingham)

This $980,000 grant from the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation will support the planning and design phase of an information exchange portal to connect Parkland Health & Hospital System’s electronic medical record to cross-sector community groups, including the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, homeless shelters, substance abuse treatment facilities, home health programs, faith-based programs, and the Dallas Public Health Department.

Developing a Clinical Decision Support Tool to Prospectively Identify Patients at High Risk for Hospital Readmission (PI, Amarasingham)

This $400,000 grant from the Commonwealth Fund will develop an EMR-enabled, all-cause model to predict the risk of hospital readmission. This project will develop an electronic clinical decision support tool, using data obtained from EMRs from seven hospitals in Dallas-Fort Worth and nearly 170,000 patients, to help hospitals predict in real-time which patients are at heightened risk of readmission in one month.

Applying Electronic Risk Scoring to Reduce Readmissions for Heart Failure (PI, Amarasingham)

This UT System grant will examine whether a new program, “Parkland Intelligent e-Coordination and Evaluation System” (PIECES), combined with a patient-tailored program of clinical, nursing, and case management interventions will reduce rates of all-cause, all-hospital readmission for patients admitted to Parkland Hospital with heart failure.

A Comparison of IHI Open School to a Faculty-Led Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Curriculum for Undergraduate Medical Education (PI, Fish)

This two-year, $105,446 grant will conduct an educational comparative effectiveness randomized controlled trial of face-to-face vs. online QI/patient safety training for medical students.

Evaluating Racial Disparities in Perceptions of Hospice Quality (PI, Rhodes)

This grant from the National Palliative Care Research Center studies the association between hospice organizational factors and perceptions of hospice quality among bereaved family members of African-American hospice patients.

Providing End-of-Life Care in a Safety Net Hospital System (PI, Rhodes)

This project uses 11 years of data from the Parkland Hospital Palliative Care Consult Registry to examine the quality of care, outcomes, and disparities in end-of-life care.

Coping with Cancer II (PI, Paulk)

The purpose of this NIH-funded study is to determine whether black and white advanced cancer patients differ with respect to clinical end-of-life outcomes, such as use of intensive, life-prolonging care; palliative care; treatment goal attainment; and quality of life. The study also explores the relationship between communication processes and goals and disparities in clinical outcomes.

Patient, Provider & Institutional Effects on Latinos (PI, Paulk)

The purpose of this NIH-funded study is to determine patient, provider, and institution effects on Latino-white disparities and in end-of-life treatment goal attainment.

Impact of Social Factors on Risk of Death or Readmission in Heart Failure, Pneumonia, and Myocardial Infarction: A Systematic Review (PI, Calvillo-King)

This is a systematic review and methodological critique of the literature examining the effect of a broad variety of social factors on death and readmission following hospitalization for heart failure, myocardial infarction, or pneumonia.

Inborn Errors of Metabolism (Cox, Wynn)

This work focuses on the molecular genetic basis of mitochondrial multienzyme complex deficiencies, e.g. Maple Syrup Urine Disease.

Mitochondrial Multienzyme Complexes (Cox, Wynn)

These grants examine the structure and function of mitochondrial multienzyme protein complexes including X-ray structural analysis of the catalytic and regulatory subunits.