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Our current research

CATALYST is a center within The Ohio State University College of Medicine focused on advancing research and discovery at Ohio State in the delivery of health services (T3) across the continuum of care using a team science approach. A sampling of our current research, organized by topic, is presented below. We also maintain a collection of publications by CATALYST affiliated faculty and staff on PubMed.

Defining our work

Health Services Research is a “multidisciplinary field of scientific investigation that studies how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and processes, health technologies, and personal behaviors affect access to health care, the quality and cost of health care, and ultimately, our health and well-being.” This definition was developed by the Board of Directors of the Association for Health Services Research, now the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy.

Implementation Science is defined by the journal Implementation Science as “the scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine practice, and, hence, to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services and care.”

Addressing Social Needs

Addressing Social Needs

Linking education, produce provision, and community referrals to improve diabetes care (LINK)
People with food insecurity may experience other non-medical, health-related social needs (such as transportation barriers, housing instability, and job insecurity) that decrease their ability to attain glucose control and that affect other health outcomes. Leveraging existing programs and relationships, LINK will test the combined effects of several interventions – a food referral program, a diabetes education intervention, and referrals to address other social needs – on hemoglobin A1c levels in a population of racially and ethnically diverse participants with food insecurity and uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes. Innovative solutions are warranted to combat the long-term sequelae of uncontrolled T2D combined with food insecurity that contribute to the two-fold higher all-cause mortality in T2D that disproportionality impacts people experiencing lower socioeconomic status and who are part of racial and ethnic minority populations.

An Evaluation of the Mid-Ohio Farmacy Project on Hypertension and Related Comorbidities
Using a mixed-methods design, this study seeks to build a multi-stakeholder understanding of the patient, provider, and community factors that support the implementation and use of the Mid-Ohio Farmacy, a primary care clinic-based food referral program, for patients with hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.

COVID-19 Research

COVID-19 Research

The Center for Serological Testing to Improve Outcomes from Pandemic COVID-19 (STOP COVID)
The Center to STOP COVID is a Serological Sciences Center of Excellence supported by a five-year, $10 million grant from the National Cancer Institute in the National Institutes of Health. The effort brings together an interdisciplinary team to study the long-term effect of COVID-19 on first responders, health care workers, and members of the general population. Drs. Gene Oltz, Ann Scheck McAlearney, Ashish Panchal, and Linda Saif serve as multi-principal investigators for the study, which has seen multiple articles published by participating faculty members and has worked with The Ohio State University's Marketing and Communications team to share important and timely information about the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information about the center, visit https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/departments/catalyst-center/stop-covid.

Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) Clinic
CATALYST has partnered with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) Clinic to understand the effect of Long COVID. Long COVID is a newly recognized multisystem disorder that persists for months and sometimes years in as many as 25% of individuals after COVID-19 infection. CATALYST is working with clinicians in the PASC Clinic to gain insights into the experiences of people with Long COVID. The research team recently received a $30,000 grant from the Healthy State Alliance to conduct a pilot study examining quality of life and functional status in patients who have long-term effects of COVID-19. This is a collaboration between Andrew Schamess, MD, clinical associate professor of Internal Medicine at Ohio State, and Kathleen Woschkolup, MD, of Bon Secours Mercy Health in Greenville, South Carolina. 

Data Integration and Analysis

Data Integration and Analysis

The ever-increasing amount of data available publicly or generated via an institution presents opportunities for knowledge generation. Our recent work involves a variety of datasets, as explained below.

Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS)
HINTS is a national survey conducted by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) examining the types of cancer information the American public accesses and consumes. Our group has generated a longitudinal dataset that combines multiple years of the HINTS data, allowing for the investigation of changes in how the U.S. population views and researches cancer-related information.

Patient Portal Log-file Analysis
To improve our understanding of patient use of both inpatient and outpatient portals, our group has developed methods to quantify patient usage of portals in both hospital and ambulatory settings. These methods enable us to paint a picture of when patients engage with the portal and what features they use most frequently. Patient usage data provides feedback about what features patients find most useful and uncovers patterns in user behavior. This feedback can be communicated to care teams and administrators to strengthen the integration of technology in the patient experience. In addition to providing insight to the organization itself, analysis of user behavior also forms a basis for academic research into patient engagement with portal technologies.

Community-Oriented National Trends Study To Evaluate Extant Health Behaviors (CONTEXT)
The CONTEXT study seeks to extend existing knowledge of health belief, communication and information seeking behaviors. CONTEXT integrates multiple versions of the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), a comprehensive nationally representative survey conducted by the National Cancer Institute, with data sources that will enhance our understanding of how context impacts behaviors. This project offers a systematic approach to validating what we think we know, advancing into areas where we know little, while seeking to build research that leverages existing data to test hypotheses and answer novel cancer control and prevention questions in ways that cannot be accomplished without data integration.

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Taxonomy
This project involves the development and application of a classification scheme (i.e., taxonomy) to describe the PCORI-funded portfolio to internal staff and external stakeholders. The taxonomy is intended to assist with answering descriptive questions about the composition of the portfolio, including trends that emerge over time. In addition to describing PCORI funding, the taxonomy is intended to support strategic decision making related to PCORI funding, with a goal of funding research to improve the quality and relevance of evidence available to help patients, caregivers, providers, employers, insurers and policymakers make informed health decisions.

Infant and Maternal Mortality

Infant and Maternal Mortality

In 2016, the U.S. ranked 29th among the 35 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in the area of infant mortality, with 5.9 infant deaths per 1000. Further, while the infant mortality rate (IMR) average across the nationfor white babies is five deaths per 1000, this rate is 11 per 1000 for black babies. Our group has devoted many hours to help reduce this gap in IMR.

Ohio Equity Institute (OEI)
The overall goal of this evaluation effort is to examine the extent to which newly implemented programs (Centering Pregnancy, Home Visiting and Community Health Workers) serve high-risk Medicaid enrolled pregnant women and to assess the effect of these interventions on health care utilization and birth outcomes. OEI has collected data on more than 40,000 pregnancies in counties across Ohio to build the statistical power needed to examine an outcome as rare as infant mortality.

Ohio Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative (OIMRI) Project 1

The primary goal of this project was to determine the effectiveness of a home visit program on birth outcomes in Ohio. Our evaluation was organized as a responsive, mixed-methods approach. Specifically, we addressed social determinants of health, OIMRI Infant Mortality Research Partnership outreach and engagement of high-risk populations, utilization of health services, quality of care and health outcomes and disparities. Additionally, we provided information on processes in place at each OIMRI intervention site, outcomes currently assessed through OIMRI intervention sites, OIMRI participant data linked to birth records and linkages to data available through the Infant Mortality Research Partnership.

Ohio Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative (OIMRI) Project 2

This project will evaluate multiple programs aiming to improve birth outcomes and reduce racial disparities in infant deaths across nine Ohio counties. Specifically, we will oversee the collection and evaluation of data related to processes and outcomes of note involving health care utilization, family planning and births.

Implementation Science Assessment of the Merck for Mothers Obstetric Emergency Safety Bundles Program

The aim of the Merck for Mothers (MfM) implementation assessment project was to understand the implementation strategies for obstetric emergency safety bundles, including the facilitators and barriers to implementation experienced by the participating partners. A secondary aim was to corroborate the experience of the organizational partners with the experiences of hospitals where obstetric safety bundles were implemented. The overall goal of this evaluation was to provide recommendations on best practices for the implementation of the obstetric safety bundles for future dissemination efforts for both partners and hospitals.

Opioid Overdose Death Prevention

Opioid Overdose Death Prevention

The HEALing Communities Study (HCS)
HCS is a multi-state project supported by a $65.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health that aims to reduce opioid overdose deaths through the implementation and sustainment of evidence-based practices. In cooperation with researchers at universities across the state, RecoveryOhio, and communities both large and small, HCS is working to build coalitions and infrastructure within Ohio counties to counter trends in opioid deaths seen across the state and nation. HCS is being implements in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and it is part of the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative (NIH HEAL Initiative), an effort to accelerate scientific solutions to address the opioid crisis. For more information, visit https://healingcommunitiesstudy.org.

Patient Safety and Quality Improvement

Patient Safety and Quality Improvement

Patient safety and quality improvement are areas of ongoing focus for CATALYST. The increasing importance of data, patient input/satisfaction and management practices in achieving the highest levels of care have positioned our group to be successful in this field of research.

Institute for the Design of Environments Aligned for Patient Safety (IDEA4PS)
The Institute for the Development of Environments Aligned for Patient Safety (IDEA4PS) sought to use systems approaches to bring together multidisciplinary teams to generate new ways of looking at information and data aimed at improving patient safety. Twenty-three investigators from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and beyond participated in this Patient Safety Learning Laboratory, proving how the university works together for patient safety. Learn more about the current IDEA4PS projects.

Continuous Learning and Improvement Mastery Building (CLIMB)
The CLIMB Program is a training effort and infrastructure creation program that has been created to support a partnership among The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center's Rehabilitation Services, Ohio State’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and Catherine Quatman-Yates’s Leading Improvement-Focused Teams for Advancing Health Systems Outcomes Lab (LIFT Lab). By teaching the foundations of quality improvement science, CLIMB aims to improve the skills of program participants in continuous learning and improvement strategies while also addressing strategic initiatives for the partner organizations. By cultivating and integrating the research done by faculty, post-doctoral scholars, and students, Ohio State can take on a leadership role in quality improvement and outcome improvement. Culture changes instituted through CLIMB can then be lateralized to areas beyond rehabilitation while building momentum to move science forward. For more information, visit https://u.osu.edu/liftlab/.

Evaluation of the MEDTAPP Healthcare Access Initiative
The Medicaid Technical Assistance and Policy Program (MEDTAPP) Healthcare Access Initiative (HCA) prepares current and future health professionals to serve Medicaid beneficiaries and to work in underserved communities. Specifically, the MEDTAPP HCA supports health care professional recruitment and retention through innovative teaching and training programs that focus on behavioral health, community health workers, interprofessional education and community‐based experiences to increase access to care for Medicaid and underserved populations.