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Physician researchers seek insights to deliver better care

Partnership brings second group of Kaiser Permanente clinicians to the Division of Research to evaluate care and implement solutions.

The Physician Researcher Program, a partnership of The Permanente Medical Group and the Division of Research (DOR), provides Kaiser Permanente clinicians with the opportunity to devote 20% to 40% of their time to research projects that systematically evaluate clinical care. They also help support other clinical researchers within their specialties, sharing knowledge, and serving as resources for evidence-based innovation.

“The physician researchers all work together, across specialties, to take learnings and disseminate and implement them throughout Kaiser Permanente Northern California,” said program director Douglas A. Corley, MD, PhD, DOR investigator and TPMG medical director of delivery science and applied research. “These clinician investigators, embedded within their specialties, are vital for helping identify the important clinical questions, describing successes, and informing changes.”

A second group of 4 TPMG clinicians has now joined the program, which started in 2017 with a class of 6. Each term runs for 2 years.

Introducing the 2nd class of physician researchers, and their projects:

Vignesh Arasu, MD

Vignesh A. Arasu, MD: Radiologist, Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center
Research project: Improved selection of BRCA-negative high-risk women for breast MRI screening through validation of IBIS risk model variants
Mentor: Laurel A. Habel, PhD

“We are studying the best approach to identify women at high risk for breast cancer who undergo aggressive screening with breast MRI. Risk models can be inaccurate, and ensuring that the correct women are identified is critical to balancing benefits and harms. The Physician Researcher Program is a wonderful environment to develop as clinician researchers, and ultimately translate science into the best care practices for Kaiser Permanente patients.”
— Dr. Vignesh Arasu

Kathryn Erickson-Ridout, MD

Kathryn K. Erickson-Ridout, MD: Psychiatrist, Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center
Research project: Optimization of a team-based care model for depression in psychiatry and evaluation of the Achieving Depression and Anxiety Patient-Centered Treatment (ADAPT PLUS) program as a model for immediate care delivery to outpatients with depression and anxiety
Mentors: Constance M. Weisner, DrPH, MSW, Esti Iturralde, PhD

“The Physician Researcher Program facilitates innovative research that can inform evidence-based care in Kaiser Permanente and broadly in the field of psychiatry. I am incredibly excited by the opportunity to work with a talented team of physicians and researchers to further improve the depression and anxiety care offered at Kaiser Permanente Northern California.”
— Dr. Kathryn Erickson-Ridout

T.R. Levin, MD

Theodore R. (“T.R.”) Levin, MD: Gastroenterologist, TPMG Clinical Lead for Colorectal Cancer Screening
Research project: PREDICT PCCC: PREDICTing Post Colonoscopy Colorectal Cancer
Mentors: Jeffrey K. Lee, MD, MAS, Vincent Liu, MD, MS, Charles P. Quesenberry, PhD, Oleg Sofrygin, PhD

“Personalized, precision management of clinical conditions at the population level is an increasing emphasis for our medical group. We are using post-polypectomy surveillance, an increasingly common indication for colonoscopy in clinical practice at TPMG and across the United States, as a model for how we might risk-stratify patients for care. Patients and physicians desire more precise estimates of risk for cancer after the removal of benign colorectal polyps to guide when they should have repeat surveillance with colonoscopy. We aim to evaluate a traditional risk prediction model compared with a deep learning model to improve the accuracy of risk scoring for post-colonoscopy colorectal cancer and guide personalized care.”
— Dr. T.R. Levin

Mai Nguyen-Huynh, MD

Mai N. Nguyen-Huynh, MD, MAS: Neurologist, TPMG Regional Medical Director for Primary Stroke
Research project: Extended window for thrombectomy: Have we extended our resources appropriately and effectively?
Mentors: Alan S. Go, MD, Bruce Ovbiagele, MD, MSc, MAS, MBA

“We have a robust regional clinical program on stroke. I am looking forward to conducting studies on stroke management, treatment, and prevention, and then implementing any significant research learnings in our clinical practice.”
— Dr. Mai Nguyen-Huynh

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