DFM Programs & Research
Back to Health is a year-long research study to compare three strategies to manage chronic low back pain: Yoga, Physical Therapy, and Education. This study is meant for adults between the ages of 18-64 who have current low back pain for at least the past 12 weeks. Eligible participants who enroll in the study will be randomly assigned to receive with one-on-one treatment with a physical therapist, yoga classes in a group, or received a back pain education book to read at home.
The Boston Healing Landscape Project, located in the Department of Family Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, has since 2001 been examining how the therapeutic landscape of the U.S. has changed in corresponding ways. This richly textured world of healing represents the new face of culturally and religiously grounded complementary and alternative medicine in America.
The Distance Education for Health (DEH) Unit at the Department of Family Medicine is committed to providing quality education and training to medical professionals and educators worldwide. We use an innovative approach to the instructional design of our courses and we rely on a wide range of media and technology to meet the needs of our learners. Please browse our site to learn more about DEH and what we do. If you have questions, or if you are interested in our services, please contact us.
Through the creation of the Global Health Primary Care Initiative (GHPCI) in July of 2007, the Department of Family Medicine has reaffirmed its commitment to improving health access and providing primary care services for the underserved around the world.
Integrative Medicine Group Visits: A Patient-Centered Approach to Reducing Chronic Pain and Depression in a Disparate Urban Population
IMGV is an 8-week intensive outpatient medical group visit program combining principles of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) with patient education on self-care and activities such as yoga, massage, acupuncture, and nutrition. The objectives of this intervention are to reduce chronic pain and depression by improving access to effective non-pharmacological treatments for predominantly low-income minority population.
The Program for Integrative Medicine and Health Care Disparities is part of the Department of Family Medicine at Boston Medical Center. Created in 2004, the integrative medicine program includes a collaboration of clinical services, research and medical students/resident education. Our mission is to use integrative medicine to improve the health of our patients regardless of income; advance the evidence-base for complementary and alternative therapies–specifically for underserved populations–through research and dissemination; and promote the adoption of the integrative health care model through medical student and resident education.
The MedDebt Project at the Department of Family Medicine at Boston University Medical School is designed to help students understand the feasibility of entering a career in primary care despite having significant loan repayment obligations. Free personalized financial plans and one-on-one advisory sessions are available to any BUSM student and BMC resident.
Primary Care and Cancer Screening for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities
Adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) face notable disparities in primary care and cancer screening. Our research, led by Dr. Joanne Wilkinson, focuses on innovative strategies to reduce these disparities, including media-based educational interventions, Participatory research, education and empowerment of staff members and other supporters.
Preconception Care is the effort to improve the health of women before pregnancy in the hopes of improving pregnancy outcome. Simply put, healthier women have healthier babies. It is a broad collection of health topics, ranging from family planning, specific medical conditions (e.g. Diabetes), and preventive behaviors (e.g. folic acid supplementation and immunizations).
Dr. Brian Jack, Professor and Chair of Family Medicine, has lead a transdisciplinary research team for more than four years, investigating the impact of a health information technology (HIT) system that features an embodied conversational agent, “Gabby.” She works with young African American women to help them learn more about and resolve their personal preconception risks. The program is specifically for African American women due to the disparities in birth outcomes, including low birth weight and preterm birth. The team’s current and upcoming projects are listed below.
HRSA Bureau of Maternal and Child Health (R40 MC215100)
A three-year project to greatly expand the health counseling capabilities of “Gabby”, including development of new scripts leveraging Motivational Interviewing and Shared Decision Making techniques. The new longitudinal intervention is being tested in a 6-month RCT of 100 participants recruited from across the country.
Our team received supplemental funding to begin work on Preconception Care for men. a literature review will inform the development of a risk assessment, which we will test with young African American men.
National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (R01 xxxxx)
The large-scale RCT will test the Gabby system over a one year intervention, to determine if it helps women to reduce their number of preconception car risks. 530 participants will be recruited locally in Boston and from across the country.
Our team received supplemental funding to conduct a sub-study of 120 of the RCT participants, who will be recruited from Boston Medical Center and affiliated health centers, to review their immunization records, compare that information to what they report to Gabby, and send a letter to the participant and her primary care physician to encourage the ? to discuss and resolve the discrepancies and missing immunizations.
W. F. Kellogg Foundation
An upcoming 2-year project focused on repairing the system for national dissemination. The research team will review the existing content to ensure that all clinical information is correct and up-to-date, that best practice interventions are included, and that the presentation of the information is culturally appropriate. Other objectives include expanding the Family Planning discussion and making connections between risks to leverage past successes to aid with behavior change.
Project Re-Engineered Discharge is a research group at Boston University Medical Center that develops and tests strategies to improve the hospital discharge process in a way that promotes patient safety and reduces re-hospitalization rates. The RED intervention is founded on 11 discrete, mutually reinforcing components and has been proven to reduce rehospitalizations and yields high rates of patient satisfaction. Virtual patient advocates are currently being tested in conjunction with the RED.
Shared Decision Making Experiences Among Vulnerable Populations
Shared medical decision making supported by experts and evidence demonstrates that people who engage in shared decision making with their clinicians have more satisfactory care and better outcomes. However, little is known about the medical decision making experiences of people from medically vulnerable populations such as frail elders, persons living with disabilities and racial/ethnic minority persons. Our work is designed to characterize so that healthcare organizations can improve the patient experiences of these communities and for all.
A gift from Robert L. and Sharon G. Ryan, the Ryan Center houses our Sports Medicine & Related Services practice which provides exceptional service to clients who reap the benefits of a full continuum of care operating in one building. Programming includes orthopaedics, sports medicine, radiology, physical therapy, athletic training, nutrition, and family medicine, as well as post-rehab training and prevention. Sargent College students are also encouraged to take advantage of the resources available in the Ryan Center to build on their academic coursework with clinical experience.
This qualitative project, led by Dr. Tom Gilbert and Dr. Joanne Wilkinson, focused on the experiences of stroke survivors with aphasia, in their own words. We have developed a presentation that has been shared with over 20 different audiences, including medical and occupational therapy students, speech language pathologists, clinicians, patients and their families.
Using Virtual Worlds for Diabetes Self Management Support-Women in Control 2.0
The prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) in the US is disproportionately high among minority women. In order to participate as partners in healthcare, patients need self-management support provided by effectively trained teams of clinicians. In practice, the actual delivery of this care model is fraught with challenges that limit the efficacy and uptake of evidence-based care. Therefore, there is great need for innovative approaches to education and training in chronic disease management. While evidence shows the potential for Internet-based learning programs for diabetes self-management, to date, little work suggests that virtual reality technology changes the landscape of health education and patient empowerment, inspiring a paradigm shift in the patient-clinician relationship and the way we deliver healthcare. We now aim to demonstrate how the unique, untapped affordances of virtual world platforms support minority women with uncontrolled DM and their clinical teams in achieving better health outcomes and quality of life.