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Mihaela Stefan, MD receives NIH research grant for COPD research

May 28, 2019

Congratulations to Mihaela Stefan, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, who recently received her first independent, NIH (National Institutes of Health) research grant. Dr. Stefan will be collaborating with Premier Inc., a North Carolina-based healthcare improvement company, as well as co-investigators from UMMS-Baystate, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. The five-year, $3.2 million project is supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and entitled "Implementation of interprofessional training to improve uptake of noninvasive ventilation in patients hospitalized with severe COPD exacerbation.”

Dr. Stefan and her colleagues will recruit hospitals from the Premier network and perform a cluster randomized trial comparing two strategies for increasing the delivery of noninvasive ventilation (NIV) in COPD patients. COPD is the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S., and COPD exacerbations result in approximately 700,000 hospitalizations annually. Noninvasive ventilation (NIV) is recommended in COPD guidelines as the first-line treatment for patients with severe exacerbation. However, there is still substantial variation in the implementation of NIV across hospitals, leading to preventable morbidity and mortality. This study hopes to help streamline the process.

This investigation will be the first in the U.S. to test the impact of interprofessional education (IPE) in the inpatient setting. Dr. Stefan’s study will assess if IPE improves team functionality and respiratory therapist autonomy and consequent increases the uptake of NIV. It also promises to change practice by offering approaches to facilitate greater uptake of NIV and may generalize to other interventions directed to seriously-ill patients.

Dr. Stefan’s research grant represents the second major funding award for investigators at UMMS-Baystate’s Institute for Healthcare Delivery and Population Science (IHDPS) this year, further establishing the growing research platform in our organization.