DCRI faculty member recognized by American Gastroenterological Association

March 4, 2019 – The DCRI’s David Leiman, MD, MSHP was selected as one of 18 participants in this year’s AGA Future Leaders Program.

DCRI gastroenterologist David Leiman, MD, MSHP will be a member of the third class of the Future Leaders Program,  the flagship leadership development program offered by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA).

The 18-month Future Leaders Program was designed for early career physicians and scientists who have the potential to make a significant impact in their specialty area. The program seeks to shape its participants into the future leaders of the AGA, their home institutions, and within the field of digestive diseases.

“The 2020 class of AGA Future Leaders represents the next generation of leaders in our field,” said Darrell S. Pardi, MD, MSc, AGAF, co-program chair for the AGA Future Leaders Program. “Along with my co-chair, Sheryl Pfeil, MD, AGAF, and the esteemed mentors and faculty participating in this program, we look forward to cultivating these rising stars who stand out for their current achievements, commitment to advancing the field, and potential for future success.”

Leiman’s research focuses on esophageal diseases, swallowing disorders, and gastrointestinal cancer prevention. He is particularly interested in health care delivery, with a focus on clinical effectiveness, practice quality and patient outcomes. He is already involved in the AGA through membership on its Quality Measures Committee and was recently selected as Chair-Elect.

“I am honored to be selected as a participant of the Future Leaders Program and to join an exciting group of talented colleagues from across the country,” Leiman said. “I am looking forward to learning new leadership strategies that can be applied across my research and clinical practice as well as building long-lasting relationships with my peers and future mentors.”

In the Future Leader Program, Leiman joins colleagues from Columbia University, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, among other institutions.

“David has been an outstanding recruit to Duke GI and the DCRI,” said Andrew J. Muir, MD, MHS, director of gastroenterology and hepatology research at the DCRI. “This selection by the AGA recognizes David’s accomplishments in this early phase of his career.  Through his research in esophageal diseases, he is poised to make significant contributions to the field and to our society.”

Leiman earned his medical degree from Vanderbilt and completed both an internal medicine residency and a fellowship in gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Pennsylvania. He joined the Duke faculty in 2015 and the DCRI in 2017.

AHA 2018: DCRI founder Robert Califf honored with Braunwald Mentoring Award

November 11, 2018 – The award is given to physicians who demonstrate excellence in mentoring young academic clinicians.

The American Heart Association (AHA) has awarded DCRI founder and former FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, MD, the 2018 Eugene Braunwald Award for Academic Mentoring. The award, which is given to physicians who demonstrate a consistent track record of outstanding mentorship of young academic physicians, was presented to Califf Sunday at the AHA’s annual meeting in Chicago.

For Califf, who is currently the director of Duke Forge, vice chancellor for health data science, and Donald F. Fortin Professor of Cardiology at the Duke University School of Medicine, the award recognizes a commitment to teaching and mentoring that has been a recurring theme throughout a four-decade career as a cardiologist, researcher, teacher, and public servant.

With the exception of an internal medicine residency at the University of California – San Francisco and two years serving as Deputy Commissioner and then Commissioner of the FDA, almost all of Califf’s career, including his time as an undergraduate and medical student, has been spent at Duke University. But despite his long association with Duke, Califf remains keenly aware that learning and mentoring are to be found in many places.

“Mentoring is a two-way street,” said Califf, noting that some of the most profound lessons of his career have been imparted outside of academia.

Although perhaps best known as a leading figure in cardiovascular clinical trials and as the founding director of the DCRI, Califf also taught and mentored multiple generations of academic physicians at Duke, incorporating continuous learning and teaching into the fabric of the institution he helped create. In addition to mentoring individual learners, Califf also contributed to the creation of innovative training curricula, including the DCRI Research Fellowship Training Program and the University of North Carolina-Duke Collaborative Postdoctoral Training Program.

“Without question, he is the single most important influence in my professional development as both a cardiovascular clinician and a cardiovascular clinical researcher,” said Robert Harrington, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University and incoming AHA president. Harrington, who spent more than two decades at Duke as a cardiologist and clinical researcher, first met Califf in 1990 upon arriving at Duke to begin a cardiology fellowship.

“He has an amazing ability to push people into areas where they are not yet accomplished, to step back and let them run a bit on their own, but to always be available when things don’t work out,” Harrington continued, noting that Califf’s mentoring style helped trainees to grow into true colleagues.

His extensive contributions as mentor at Duke were honored in 2012 with the Duke Clinical Research Mentoring Award, and the DCRI’s award given to faculty for outstanding mentorship of fellows is named in honor of Califf. Among the numerous clinicians and researchers, and academic leaders that Califf mentored are Harrington and the Chair of the 2018 Scientific Sessions, Eric Peterson, MD, MPH, – both of whom also followed Califf in the role of director of the DCRI.

During Califf’s remarks at the award presentation, he also issued a call to service. Noting that amid deep cultural and political division the United States is currently experiencing significant health challenges that threaten to erode hard-won gains in life expectancy and quality of life, he challenged his audience to continue to engage with the wider world outside of academic medicine.

“Keeping our heads down in our respective academic or clinical foxholes will not solve the daunting problems that we face both as health professionals and as members of society,” Califf said. “We must work together to re-envision and change the ways that we work to achieve better health outcomes.”

Curtis named Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics

October 9, 2018 – Curtis and 17 others will be formally inducted into the College during the AMIA Annual Symposium next month.

DCRI Interim Executive Director Lesley Curtis, PhD, will be inducted into the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) on Nov. 4 at ceremonies during the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) 2018 Annual Symposium in San Francisco.

Curtis is one of 18 Fellows who will be inducted this year.

Lesley Curtis“The election of ACMI Fellows represents the strength and diversity of informatics with recognition of 18 accomplished individuals who are national and international subject matter experts in the science of informatics as it relates to clinical care, research, education and policy,” said ACMI President Christopher G. Chute, MD, DrPH, of Johns Hopkins University. “It reflects the growing impact of the field in health care.”

“I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with many informatics experts in the course of my career and have learned a great deal from them,” Curtis said. “It’s truly an honor to be inducted into the College.”

ACMI is an honorary College of elected Informatics Fellows from the United States and abroad who have made significant and sustained contributions to the field of medical informatics and who have met rigorous scholarly scrutiny by their peers. Incorporated in 1984, ACMI dissolved its separate corporate status to merge with the American Association for Medical Systems and Informatics (AAMSI) and the Symposium on Computer Applications in Medical Care (SCAMC), when AMIA was formed in 1989. The College now exists as an entity within AMIA, with its own bylaws and regulations.

AMIA, the leading professional association for informatics professionals, comprises 5,500 informatics professionals from more than 65 countries. AMIA and its members play a leading role in assessing the effect of health innovations on health policy and advancing the field of informatics. AMIA actively supports five domains in informatics: translational bioinformatics, clinical research informatics, clinical informatics, consumer health informatics, and public health informatics.

In addition to serving as interim executive director of the DCRI, Curtis is also chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences. A health services researcher by training, Curtis has spent her career advancing the health of patients with cardiovascular disease, eye disease, and other chronic conditions. An expert in the use of Medicare claims data for health services and clinical outcomes research, she has been a leader in using Medicare claims data along with large clinical registries and epidemiological cohort studies, including the Framingham Heart Study and the Cardiovascular Health Study.

Curtis co-leads the Distributed Research Network Operations Center for PCORI’s National Clinical Research Network (PCORnet), is co-principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health’s Health Care Systems Collaboratory, and co-leads the Data Core for the FDA’s Sentinel Initiative.

Susanna Naggie receives IDSA’s Oswald Avery Award for Early Achievement

October 6, 2018 – The award, which recognizes infectious disease specialists under the age of 45, will be presented at ID Week in San Francisco.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has presented its 2018 Oswald Avery Award for Early Achievement to the DCRI’s Susanna Naggie, MD, MHS, for her novel research on the treatment of patients co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV).

The award, which will be formally presented at ID Week 2018 in San Francisco, recognizes members or fellows of IDSA age 45 or younger who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in an area of infectious diseases.

“I was very surprised because I had no idea I’d been nominated,” Naggie said. “When I learned that two of my colleagues from outside of Duke nominated me, it meant a lot to know they found my work meaningful. As investigators we hope that our work is impactful and ultimately translates to improved health of our patients.”

Naggie’s research focuses on the mechanisms of accelerated liver fibrogenesis in HIV/HCV-infected patients. Her work has helped define the role of pharmacogenomics and mechanistic studies of HCV treatment response in these patients, including studies of single-nucleotide polymorphisms in HCV therapy and associated liver disease.

Her group was the first to report that black patients who carried the favorable CC genotype had more immune dysregulation than non-black patients without the favorable genotype. This research has laid an important foundation for understanding the disparity in HCV treatment response in co-infected African Americans.

“I have had fantastic mentorship at Duke and in the DCRI as well as externally,” Naggie said. “[Former Gastroenterology director] John McHutchison and Shyam Kottilil enabled me to get exposure that laid the groundwork for the work that we accomplished early on and the work that is ongoing. Many others have given me opportunities, for which I am very appreciative.”

Currently an associate professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, where she has been a member of the faculty since 2009, Naggie is medical director of the Department of Medicine’s Clinical Research Unit and director of infectious diseases research at the DCRI. In addition to her own research, she has served as the primary mentor for many trainees, including interns, residents, fellows, and junior faculty.

Naggie has served as a member and co-chair of the IDSA and American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases HCV guidance panel, as a member of the Department of Health and Human Services Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents, and as a member or leader of several other notable national committees and groups. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Naggie completed her internship, residency, chief residency, and ID fellowship training at Duke, where she also earned a master of health sciences degree in clinical research.

ISPOR honors DCRI’s Reed Johnson with prestigious lifetime achievement award

May 21, 2018 – The award recognizes Johnson’s work in health economics and outcomes research.

The DCRI’s Reed Johnson, PhD, one of the most widely published experts in the field of health applications of stated-preference research, was recently recognized by the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR). He has been selected as the recipient of the  Avedis Donabedian Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding, life-long contribution to the improvement of health outcomes.

Johnson was among the honorees for ISPOR’s 2018 Scientific and Leadership Awards, which are designed to foster and recognize excellence and outstanding technical achievement and leadership in health economics and outcomes research. He was presented the award today at ISPOR’s International Conference in Baltimore.

With over 140 publications in books and peer-reviewed journals, Johnson has four decades of academic and research experience in health and environmental economics and has helped pioneer the development of basic non­market valuation techniques which are widely used for benefit-cost analysis in health and environmental economics, through his work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental economics research program during the 1980s.

Currently working on quantifying patients’ willingness to accept risks and side effects in return for therapeutic benefits and estimating general time equivalences among health states, Johnson’s research has used a survey-research method called discrete-choice experiments to quantify patients’ willingness to accept tradeoffs among treatment benefits and harms.

“Until quite recently, this research has been far from the mainstream focus of comparative-effectiveness analysis and health-technology assessment, however, recent interest in patient-centric healthcare provided an audience for the idea that patient-preference data could help inform regulatory decision making,” said Johnson.

“Because clinical benefits and risks are measured in different units, regulators must implicitly assign subjective importance weights to clinical outcomes,” he said.  “Evidence on patients’ own importance weights for those outcomes is a way to explicitly incorporate the patient voice in such decisions. It is evident that this year’s Donabedian award was used to recognize the importance of this idea, rather than to recognize me personally.”

Johnson led the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)­sponsored study on patients’ willingness to accept benefit-risk tradeoffs for new health technologies. The study was used to develop recent FDA guidelines on submitting patient-preference data to support regulatory reviews of medical devices.

“The methods that Dr. Johnson has helped to develop over the last 25-30 years are now being appreciated and applied as we develop new approaches to patient centered research,” said the DCRI’s Shelby Reed, PhD, President of ISPOR and Director of the DCRI’s Preference Evaluation Research Group where she works alongside Johnson. “His winning this very prestigious award is recognition of the importance of patient preference and patient preference research at a greater level.”

Reed has worked with Johnson for the last four years on the Preference Evaluation Research Group, where they translate patients’ concerns and preferences into quantitative scientific evidence and address questions about representativeness and how to quantify the relative importance of different aspects of care and outcomes. According to Reed, Johnson has not only been the driver for the initial success of the group, but also the reason more and more people are acknowledging and recognizing the group’s work.

“Dr. Johnson is very generous in his mentorship and I continue to learn a tremendous amount from him, said Reed. “I congratulate him for this much deserving honor.”

DCRI receives CRO Leadership Awards for third year

May 10, 2018 – The DCRI earned top marks in four categories, including Capabilities, Expertise, Quality, and Reliability.

For the third year, the DCRI has been recognized by the CRO Leadership Awards presented by Life Science Leader magazine. The organization was recognized in five out of six categoriesCapabilities, Compatibility, Expertise, Quality, and Reliabilityand listed as a Top Performer in Capabilities, Expertise, Quality, and Reliability. The DCRI also received Individual Attribute Awards for Data Quality, Meeting Overall Project Timelines, Operational Excellence, and Responsiveness.

The awards are based on online surveys conducted by Industry Standard Research. This year, 70 contract research organizations (CROs) were evaluated on more than 20 different performance metrics. The survey respondents came from biopharmaceutical companies and were asked to evaluate only those CROs with which they had worked on an outsourced project within the last 18 months.

A full list of award winners can be found in the May issue of Life Science Leader. A formal awards ceremony will be held June 25 in Boston at the 2018 DIA Global Annual Meeting.

“We are honored to again be recognized for the work we are doing to advance clinical science and improve patient health,” said DCRI Executive Director Eric Peterson, MD, MPH. “These awards are a reflection of the efforts of our faculty, fellows, and operational teams to make the DCRI the world’s leading academic research organization.”