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Advancing Health Research

Faculty members in the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy push methodological boundaries, designing complex studies, pioneering new research techniques, building research infrastructure, linking data and contributing to the development of the field of health outcomes and policy. The esearch team includes experts on study design, biomedical informatics, policy analysis and power and sample size. Below are some of the recent developments in this area of our research portfolio.

From Data to Discoveries: Linking Research to Patients and Communities

While scientists and clinicians work each day on discoveries that could unlock treatments and cures for diseases, much stands in the way between their work and patients in clinics and hospitals. Often, that roadblock takes the form of the inability to crunch large amounts of data.

As part of UF’s effort to translate medical discoveries into tangible benefits for patients more quickly and effectively, William R. Hogan, M.D., M.S., joined UF as director of biomedical informatics at UF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute. As an faculty member in the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy, Hogan works closely with health researchers in developing new methods for formatting and linking data in computer systems. Particularly, he is interested in applying data processing power to accelerate how research reaches patients and how it is implemented in communities.

As he builds a much-needed biomedical informatics program at UF, Hogan hopes to create a new understanding of the field of informatics — as not just a facilitator for other scientists’ research but as a science in its own right and as an important part of tracking the benefits of scientific innovation. Read Dr. Hogan’s recent editorial in For the Record magazine, a national coding and reimbursement magazine, that sets forth a vision for not just bigger but better data here.

Drawing Connections: Racial Discrimination and Children’s Health

Much research has been conducted linking racial discrimination with poor health among adults. To study similar effects in children, faculty members in the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy conducted a study of 2,490 low-income, minority adolescents. A total of 73 percent had experienced some type of racial discrimination. These adolescents were at an increased risk of depression, delinquency, suicidal thoughts and unprotected sex. The article detailing this study was listed as one of the Top 25 Most Read Ethnicity and Race Articles of 2013. Several faculty members are continuing to build upon this area of research with additional studies and publications.

Researchers: Tobler, AL, Maldonado-Molina MM, Staras SAS, O’Mara, RJ, Livingston MD, Komro, KA

Designing Strong Studies: Using Statistics to Ensure Rigorous Results

Biostatistician Keith E. Muller, Ph.D. and professor in the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy, and his collaborator Deborah Glueck, Ph.D., at the University of Colorado are helping researchers across scientific disciplines decide how large their scientific studies should be to produce usable, accurate results. Their free software ultimately saves researchers both time and money and facilitates the creation of more effective scientific studies. This past year, the team launched an updated, more user-friendly version of their power and sample size software, GLIMMPSE 2.1.0, on samplesizeshop.org. Read more about Muller’s recent NIH funding for developing statistical educational materials here.

Researchers: Muller KE, Glueck DH, Kreidler S, Munjal A