Two Medical School projects receive $20M funding boost

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Two projects involving Medical School researchers have received a total of $20 million to fund efforts to address two pressing health issues: alcohol use by adolescents, and delirium in hospitalized older adults.

The funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute will fuel large-scale comparisons of ways to use prevention-focused tools.

The first, a $7 million grant to a team based mostly in the Department of Psychiatry, will fuel a study in 1,400 teens and their families, comparing two approaches to reducing or preventing alcohol and drug use.

The second, involving a Department of Anesthesiology faculty member working with a Harvard-affiliated team, will use a $13 million grant to involve caregivers in delirium prevention among more than 3,000 hospitalized adults over age 70.

The adolescent alcohol-use prevention team is headed by U-M Addiction Center members Maureen Walton and Erin Bonar. Walton is a professor of psychiatry and Bonar is an associate professor of psychiatry in the Medical School.

The project will compare two approaches to delivering proven alcohol-prevention messaging to teens and their parents via computer and text message. The project grew out of earlier U-M research to develop and test the brief intervention.

The delirium prevention project is co-led by Sharon Inouye of the Linda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, and by Phillip Vlisides, assistant professor of anesthesiology at U-M.

The project will test whether family caretaker support provided at the hospital bedside can reduce risk of delirium and its related complications, and improve outcomes for patients and their families.

Both grants have been approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract. 

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better informed healthcare decisions.

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