Mental health researcher appointed to chair PCORI governing board

Institute also awards $114 million in new grants.

By Christine Jamieson

On Sept. 19, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) appointed Grayson Norquist, MD, MSPH, to be the new chair of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors. Norquist, a psychiatrist whose research focuses on reducing disparities in mental health treatment, has been a member of PCORI's board since the current members were appointed by the GAO in September 2010. 

Norquist is professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. His research focuses on the use of telemedicine to reduce disparities in mental health treatment for those living in the Delta region in Mississippi and to improve the quality of care they receive at local community health centers. He has also served in a number of leadership positions at the National Institute of Mental Health, including director of the Division of Services and Intervention Research.

Norquist’s appointment comes as PCORI prepares to mark its third anniversary as an independent, non-profit organization established by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to support research on how to most effectively prevent, treat and manage diseases and disorders. PCORI’s portfolio of patient-centered comparative effectiveness research is growing steadily, including $243.5 million awarded for 147 projects to date.  

Most recently the institute awarded $114 million in funding for 71 new projects (PDF, 797KB) on Sept. 10. Two of the principal investigators to receive funding are psychologists, Laura Gutermuth Anthony of the Children’s Research Institute in Washington, D.C. (“A community-based executive function intervention for low-income children with ADHD and ASD”) and Renee Pekmezaris of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in New York (“Telehealth self-management program in older adults living with heart failure in health disparity communities”). Other projects funded include numerous studies on patient decision making and empowerment, as well as mental health studies:

  • “Comparing effectiveness of treating depression with and without comorbidity to improve fetal health” (De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, Kaiser Foundation Research Institute)
  • “Comparison of peer-facilitated support group and cognitive behavioral therapy for hoarding disorder” (Carol A. Mathews, MD, University of California San Francisco)
  • “The impact of burnout on patient-centered care: A comparative effectiveness trial in mental health” (Michelle Salyers, PhD, Indiana Univ-Purdue Univ at Indianapolis)
  • “Improving transitional care experience for individuals with serious mental illness” (Dawn I. Velligan, PhD, University of Texas Hlth Sci Ctr San Ant)
  • “Peer health navigation: Reducing disparities in health outcomes for the seriously mentally ill” (John Sinclair Brekke, PhD, MS, University of Southern California)
  • “A helping hand to activate patient-centered depression care among low-income patients (AHH)” (Kathleen Ell, DPH, University of Southern California)
  • “Integrative medicine group visits: A patient-centered approach to reducing chronic pain and depression in a disparate urban population” (Paula Gardiner MPH, MD, Boston Medical Center)

In May of this year, the institute funded 76 projects, including 12 projects with psychologists as the principal investigator. Read more about PCORI’s latest funding cycle from the institute’s Executive Director Joe Selby on the PCORI website.

For more information contact Christine Jamieson.