Christiana Care researchers are among 15 new grant recipients in the federally supported Delaware CTR-ACCEL program, which is advancing clinical and translational research. The grants were announced on Nov. 11 at the Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington.
Investigators across three grant programs — ACCEL Community-Engaged Research (ACE) Awards, Pilot Grant Awards and Mentored Research Development Awards — discussed their projects in moderated poster presentations.
Delaware CTR-ACCEL is a $28 million grant program sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other funders. The overall goal of the five-year program is to accelerate clinical and translational research, and build research infrastructure at four partner institutions — Christiana Care, the University of Delaware, Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children and the Medical University of South Carolina.
“The poster presentations are a chance for engagement of awardees, other investigators and the community to understand the broad scope of work happening throughout ACCEL,” said Heather Bittner Fagan, M.D., MPH, FAAFP, associate vice chair for research in Family & Community Medicine at Christiana Care and co-director of community engagement and outreach for ACCEL.
An ACE Award — a seed grant to researchers and community partners to take their first steps in community-based studies — will evaluate the understanding of palliative care among patients who are homebound. Linsey O’Donnell, D.O., of Christiana Care’s Department of Family & Community Medicine, is teaming with Andreas Huertas, MBA, BSN, RN, CHPN, clinical director of the Visiting Nurse Association. They will survey patients to assess their understanding of palliative care and living wills, and their views on the seriousness of their illness in order to build programs to improve the quality of life for patients and families. The project mentor is Ina Li, M.D., associate director of Geriatrics, medical director of the VNA and a Value Institute scholar.
An ACCEL Pilot Grant will support research on a “visual sepsis risk-profiling model” to identify risk of this serious infection. Pilot grants offer application assistance to investigators with a strong potential to receive future funding from the NIH. Co-investigators Muge Capan, Ph.D., research investigator and Value Institute scholar, and Kristen Miller, DrPH, MSPH, associate director for human factors and Value Institute scholar, are working with colleagues at the Medical University of South Carolina.
With a multidisciplinary approach, the project will analyze data and suggest a visual model for clinicians to more readily evaluate the risk of life-threatening complications from sepsis. Several Christiana Care researchers and partnering consultants will serve as key contributors, including: Ryan Arnold, M.D., MA, clinical investigator in the Department of Emergency Services and Value Institute scholar; Pan Wu, Ph.D., senior biostatistician and Value Institute scholar; Danielle Mosby, MPH, research associate, Value Institute; Andrew Goodwin, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Pulm
onary, and medical director, Respiratory Therapist Services at MUSC, and a Value Institute consultant; and J. Sanford Schwartz, M.D., Leon Hess Professor in Internal Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a Value Institute consultant. Mentors are William S. Weintraub, M.D., MACC, FAHA, FESC, M.D., John H. Ammon Chair of Cardiology and director of the Center for Outcomes Research at the Value Institute; and J. Sanford Schwartz, M.D., Leon Hess Professor in Internal Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a Value Institute consultant.
With a Mentored Research Development Award, Tze Chiam, Ph.D., MS, associate director for Clinical Informatics at the Value Institute, will develop a predictive model for clinical outcomes and costs associated with cardiac surgery. With this award, scholars can spend at least 20 percent of their time on a proposal over a six-month period, developing it with a sponsoring mentor with the g
oal of receiving further funding. Dr. Chiam plans to examine several models of analysis for cardiac outcomes to develop a new model that is distinctly useful to Christiana Care and could be modified for use at other institutions. The project mentor is Dr. Weintraub.
“What we see are a wide range of projects: those that are quite clinical and hospital-oriented side-by-side with those that are very community-oriented,” said Omar Khan, M.D., MHS, FAAFP, associate vice chair of Christiana Care’s Department of Family & Community Medicine and co-director of community engagement and outreach for ACCEL. “This speaks to our growing strength because of ACCEL.”