UMD Health IT Seed Program Invests
Health Transformation with Research Grants
College Park, Md. – June 28, 2011 -- The University of
Maryland Center of Excellence in Health IT Research (Center) a multi-campus
initiative with collaboration across the College Park and Baltimore campuses,
awarded $15,000 in funding to each of two teams working on promising health
information technologies as part of the inaugural Health IT Seed Grant Program.
The investments demonstrate the University of Maryland’s commitment to advancing
innovation and research to accelerate the transformation of the nation’s health
“These grants are testaments to the University of Maryland’s research
capacity across the multiple disciplines that have to work together improve
quality, safety, efficiency and effectiveness of our health system,” said Ritu
Agarwal, co-lead of the Center and professor and Dean’s Chair of Information
Systems at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
“Healthcare is center stage in today’s policy agenda,” said Robert S. Gold,
co-lead of the Center and Dean, School of Public Health, University of Maryland.
“The efforts of our research teams will contribute to the public policy
The first awardee team is working with the University of Maryland Medical
System to develop a network system to rapidly evaluate patients at risk for oral
cancer and improve efficacy, reduce the cost of care, and expand outreach and
care coordination. The project, called “A Real Time Electronic Network for Early
Oral Cancer Risk Assessment and Detection,” will use web-based high-definition
video streaming to facilitate head and neck consultations online in real time.
This will improve decision making, eliminate the need for multiple referrals and
decrease patients “lost in the medical system.” The program also seeks to reduce
pronounced racial disparities in oral cancer outcomes.
The team hopes to roll out implementation of the system at sites in Maryland
affiliated with the University System, starting with College Park and eventually
spreading to Cecil County, Prince George’s County, the lower Eastern Shore and
Allegany College in Western Maryland, along with the Baltimore campus. The
Academic Health Center will eventually be the major hubs for this collaboration.
The research will yield important insights into the use of a community based
real-time network to improve outcomes using telemedicine for rapid consultation,
referral, diagnosis and follow-up. The findings from this research will yield a
better understanding of the factors and processes to support care coordination
models such as the patient-centered medical home and accountable care
The project is led by Drs. Mark Scheper and Timothy Meiller of the School of
Dentistry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore; and collaborators Dr.
Douglas Barnes, head of the Advanced Education in General Dentistry Program at
the University of Maryland, College Park and head of the Division of General
Dentistry, University of Maryland, Baltimore; and Kent Buckingham, director of
Information Technology for the Dental School.
The second grant goes to a team of doctors working on risk assessments for
bone fractures in the elderly. The project, “Investigating Disparity of Bone
Health by Integrating Bone Mineral Density Data,” will build and test
statistical models to improve individual risk assessments using a newly
developed methodology called threshold regression. Osteoporosis and bone health
are global public health problems affecting more than 200 million people. Across
the United States, 10 million people have osteoporosis and 18 million more are
at risk. The team will use multiple clinical datasets integrated with health
insurance claims to create a combined data warehouse for studying and analyzing
bone fractures that may enhance prevention and treatment of bone-related
illnesses. They will develop computer software for public use that can produce
improved risk assessments. The team’s integrated approach and the models and
techniques they develop have the potential to be used in many other disciplines
and therapeutic areas.
The project team includes lead investigators Drs. Xin He and Mei-Ling Ting of
the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Dr.
Marc C. Hochberg who heads the Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology
in the Department of Medicine at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
“We are proud to support these research teams who are applying advanced
methods for improving care coordination and using secondary use of EHR data,
respectively, and look forward to spurring innovation among faculty, students
and partners in future rounds. We are committed to leveraging the rich
capabilities and deep resources across the University of Maryland campuses to
drive improved healthcare in Maryland and beyond, support economic development
and job growth, and continue to firmly establish ourselves as an academic leader
in the drive to accelerate health transformation” said Kenyon Crowley, program
director for the center.
About the Center
The University of Maryland Center of Excellence in Health Information Technology
Research is an interdisciplinary initiative with a mission to accelerate health
promotion and health care transformation through the research, design,
development and integration of health information and decision technologies. The
Center addresses issues of health care quality, safety and access, as well as
health literacy, health equity and sustainability.
The University of Maryland, between its College Park and Baltimore campuses,
has a wealth of research capabilities and resources that have collectively come
together in this effort. The initiative is being co-led by the Center for Health
Information and Decision Systems at the Robert H. Smith School of Business and
the School of Public Health along with a broad steering committee representing
all academic partners and an external board of advisers.
For more information contact Kenyon Crowley at
About the University of Maryland’s Robert H.
Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader
in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the
University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate,
full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, executive MS, PhD and executive
education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The
school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning
locations in North America and Asia.