Hahn, Mays and Talbert Named Associate Directors for UK Center for Health Services Research

Three University of Kentucky faculty members have been selected as associate directors to help lead the UK Center for Health Services Research (CHSR), said Dr. Mark V. Williams, director of the center which is focused on creating, testing and scaling next-generation solutions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of health care delivery and the overall health of people within Kentucky and beyond.

Ellen Hahn, the Marcia A. Dake Endowed Professor in the College of Nursing, Glen Mays, the Scutchfield Endowed Professor in Health Services and Systems Research in the UK College of Public Health, and Jeffery Talbert, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science in the College of Pharmacy, have been chosen as the new associate directors who will play an integral role in the Center’s leadership team, Williams said.

They also will play a major role in faculty development efforts such as supporting the recruitment and retention of the highest quality faculty as well as expand professional skills, nurture and cultivate junior faculty to become the next generation of academic leaders, and develop structured mentoring programs, Williams said.

Mays’ research centers on strategies for organizing and financing disease prevention and care management initiatives, with a special focus on estimating the health and economic effects of these efforts. He directs the National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services & Systems Research funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and he has led studies funded by AHRQ, NIH, CDC, HRSA and CMS on topics that include health insurance design, provider payment methods, care coordination and telemedicine, and community-based care systems.

Hahn is also a faculty associate at UK’s NCI-designated Markey Cancer Center and an active member of the Comprehensive Lung Cancer Prevention and Treatment Program. She directs the Clean Indoor Air Partnership which includes the Tobacco Policy Research Program, the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy, and the Radon Policy Research Program.

Through the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy, Hahn and her colleagues have assisted many of Kentucky’s 40 communities to go smoke-free. She is currently principal investigator on a five-year grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to conduct a lung cancer prevention study in primary care settings to prompt action to reduce home exposure to secondhand smoke and radon.

Talbert is director of the Institute for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy and co-director of biomedical informatics at UK. He has 20 years of experience in health research focused on the intersection of policy decisions and health outcomes, including serving as a research fellow for the U.S. Congress. Talbert has research interests in pharmaceutical policy, Medicaid policy, and public health informatics. His current research program focuses on improving health outcomes and efficiency for state Medicaid programs, and policy issues related to reducing prescription drug abuse and diversion.

The UK Center for Health Services Research has a primary objective to accelerate the discovery of new knowledge concerning clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of health care delivery, particularly in rural and limited-resource settings.

Health services and outcomes research is an evolving priority area for UK. With the recruitment of Williams and his research team earlier this year, UK adds significant quality improvement and clinical effectiveness research expertise and depth to the  capacity already housed within the UK Markey Cancer Center and Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

In October, the Center and Williams was approved to lead a three-year, $14.9 million project from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to identify the most effective approaches for patient care transitions as they move between hospitals, nursing homes and their own homes.

PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The project team will identify which transitional care services and outcomes matter most to patients and caregivers, evaluate comparative effectiveness of ongoing multi-component efforts at improving care transitions, and develop recommendations on best practices for the design, implementation and large-scale national spread of highly effective, patient-centered care transition programs.

This collaborative team includes experts in statistics, surveys, implementation science, and quality improvement from 14 organizations including UK, University of Pennsylvania, Boston Medical Center, Telligen, Westat and Kaiser Permanente.

– Kristi Lopez, University of Kentucky