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Rachel Patzer named director of new Departments of Medicine/Surgery combined Health Services Research Center

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Holly Korschun

Rachel Patzer, PhD, has been named director of the newly inaugurated Health Services Research (HSR) Center, a cooperative initiative of the Departments of Medicine and Surgery of the Emory University School of Medicine. Patzer will also receive a joint appointment as associate professor within the two departments.

After receiving her PhD in epidemiology at Emory, Patzer joined the Division of Transplantation of the Emory Department of Surgery with a joint appointment in the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) and an appointment in the Department of Medicine in 2011. She quickly became well recognized on the national stage of health services research, amassing a significant body of work involving her interests in disparities in access to transplantation, community-based participatory research, predictive analytics, health care quality, medication adherence and self-management, mobile health technology, patient education, and healthcare resource utilization.

In 2015, Patzer began directing the health services research program of the Emory Transplant Center. Her recent research projects have focused on the development of a novel surveillance data registry for kidney disease, the development of quality metrics, epidemiologic investigations of the causes of variability in access to renal transplantation among pediatric and adult end-stage renal disease patients, and the development and evaluation of pragmatic interventions to improve access to transplantation. 

Patzer is also evaluating the individual, community and health system level factors that impact post-transplant outcomes—including patient and graft survival—in both renal and liver transplantation; using predictive analytics to improve the real-time identification and management of high risk transplant recipients; and working to determine the impact of neighborhood poverty, degree of rurality, distance to health care centers, and other geospatial factors on health outcomes. The results of her work are often published in such high-profile journals as JAMA, Health Affairs, American Journal of Transplantation, and American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

While she will continue to produce her own important and influential research projects, as the director of the HSR Center Patzer will be entrusted with developing and enacting a strategic plan for the advancement of health services research in the combined center, as well as nurturing collaborative efforts in health services research across Emory School of Medicine, Rollins School of Public Health, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Grady Memorial Hospital, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Atlanta VA Medical Center, and other related Emory departments and school areas that do similar research.

Patzer’s overarching mandate in this regard will be to lead the expansion, implementation and promotion of health services research that is designed to deliver better patient outcomes and work toward making clinical care delivery perform at the highest level of quality and value, not only at Emory but as a paradigm for clinical/research institutions nationwide. She will also be charged with creating and managing an infrastructure that can support these endeavors.

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