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Meet the Researcher: Elizabeth Schoenfeld, MD, MS

September 10, 2019
schoenfeld family

Name: Elizabeth Schoenfeld, MD, MS

Title/Academic Rank: Assistant Professor

Department: Emergency Medicine, Institute for Healthcare Delivery and Population Science (IHDPS)

Number of years at Baystate: 8.5

What research training do you have? Masters in Clinical and Translational Research from Tufts, Mentorship from the IHDPS

What got you interested in research overall? I wanted to teach the residents evidence-based medicine, but many of the things that I thought were "right" in terms of care of patients, had little evidence (and conversely, many of the things we do regularly, also have little evidence). Research is a way of getting at the "truth" and what is right – and demonstrating "right" with science, rather than with persuasion.

What is your area of research? I study the use of Shared Decision-Making in the Emergency Department – specifically whether we can use Shared Decision-Making to decrease advanced imaging and improve patients' experiences.

How do you see your research improving care for patients? In my newest study, we have the potential to decrease young patients' exposure to ionizing radiation, which will decrease future cancer incidence. This is obviously important for peoples' health in the long term. But using Shared DecisionMaking has the potential to improve short-term health too. By creating an environment where patients see themselves as part of the team and full players, we have the potential to improve adherence and trust within the system, which can improve health and well-being in the short term, too.

What have been some of your favorite research projects to date that you have organized/participated in? In my qualitative projects, I get to interview doctors and patients – this is always a lot of fun.

Do you have any awards? Baystate gave me the New Investigator Award in 2017. And this past winter I won for my age division in a slalom race in Vermont – there were only two of us, and we both fell, but I think I hiked back through the gates faster...

What do you like most about your job? I am very lucky to get to spend so much of my time on research. I love working clinically, but I get to spend my other days trying to find ways to improve the care we provide – and then designing studies to test whether my ideas work. It takes a lot of time, but I get to work with great people. Plus, sometimes the evidence suggests I'm right, so that's nice. (Nothing is ever "proven," though – so I never really "prove" that I'm right.)

What do you do to unwind outside of work? When I'm not playing/coaching soccer with my kids, I'm downhill mountain biking (summer/fall) or skiing.