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Madison, Wisconsin - Two UW-Madison researchers will together bring close to $10 million in research awards to the university for work trying to improve care for high-risk older patients and those using opioids for back pain.


The support will come from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), an independent organization authorized by Congress in 2010. PCORI’s mission is to improve the quality of health care by funding comparative clinical-effectiveness research.


Aleksandra ZgierskaDr. Aleksandra Zgierska, assistant professor of family medicine, was awarded $8.5 million to conduct a clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation (MM) with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in patients with opioid-treated chronic lower back pain.


“Mindfulness meditation trains the mind to bring nonjudgmental and accepting attention to present moment experiences, such as pain,” said Zgierska. “We hypothesize that MM training will lead to a larger reduction in pain intensity and to improved function compared with CBT, and will result in better quality of life and decreased daily opioid use.”


More than 700 adults in Madison, Boston and Salt Lake City will be randomly assigned to one of two eight-week treatment groups, either mindfulness meditation or cognitive-behavioral therapy. The research sites are at UW-Madison, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School and the University of Utah, respectively. Outcomes will be compared over a 12-month period.


Maureen SmithDr. Maureen Smith, professor of population health sciences, will receive an award of $1.4 million for a project to be conducted at UW-Madison, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard University and the University of Iowa. 


“Variation in case management programs and their effectiveness in managing high-risk patients for Medicare ACOs” will try to identify the most important parts of case management programs in health systems and assess how well they work. Older patients with several chronic conditions often receive fragmented care; case-management programs are an attempt to create a more coordinated plan for these patients.


More details on Smith’s project can be found on the PCORI website. PCORI’s Board has approved these awards pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.

Date Published: 08/01/2016

News tag(s):  researchgrants

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Researchers to Compare Effectiveness of Health Care Services

Last updated: 02/15/2017
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