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College of Medicine creates new center to spark medical research, innovation

CATALYST will advance discoveries that improve care, influence health policy

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

The Ohio State University College of Medicine has created a new center focused on advancing research and discovery in the delivery of health care services to improve care, enhance population health management and influence health policy.

CATALYST, the Center for the Advancement of Team Science, Analytics and Systems Thinking in Health Services and Implementation Science Research, will provide the critical infrastructure to support faculty and staff in their efforts to conduct transformational research.

A pillar of Ohio State’s strategic plan is to pioneer life-altering biomedical discoveries and their translation into breakthrough health care solutions. Health services research involves the study of health systems with the goal of discovering how hospitals and doctors might function more optimally and provide better care for patients.

CATALYST will use a team science approach in conducting this research, increasing Ohio State’s capacity to succeed in these research areas and enhancing Ohio State’s national reputation.

Health services and implementation science research will help the Wexner Medical Center achieve the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s quadruple aim in health care – enhancing patient experience, improving population health, reducing costs and improving the work life of health care providers.

“We currently have many well-funded and talented health services researchers and we have developed this new center to accelerate our growth. Our health system has more than 60,000 admissions and 1.8 million outpatient visits each year. This provides a significant opportunity where we can conduct health services research,” said Dr. K. Craig Kent, dean of The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “Existing talent and new recruits will have a framework that supports high-quality scholarship and increases translational discoveries.”

Ann Scheck McAlearney, professor of Family Medicine, is the inaugural director of CATALYST. She leads a team of faculty, research and project managers, postdoctoral researchers, data analysts, scientific editors and research assistants in a dedicated command center.

“Ann McAlearney brings great depth of experience in health services and implementation science research,” said Peter Mohler, vice dean for research in the College of Medicine. “She’s a funded researcher with a robust body of work in the areas of health information technology implementation in health care organizations, high-performing health care organizations, population health management, quality and systems improvement, reducing health care disparities and organizational change.”

McAlearney said, “I’m excited to have the opportunity to build one of the most prominent health services research programs in the nation, enabling Ohio State to advance discoveries in these areas that will save lives and improve the care of millions of patients.”

An Ohio State faculty member for 20 years, McAlearney holds joint appointments in the departments of Biomedical Informatics and Pediatrics in the College of Medicine and the Division of Health Services Management and Policy in the College of Public Health. She has authored more than 250 peer-reviewed publications, authored or edited 10 books and published 80 book chapters.

McAlearney serves as a subject matter expert for a number of organizations, including the World Health Organization, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and the Health Research and Education Trust of the American Hospital Association. She’s a member of numerous editorial boards and has served on a number of review panels and study sections for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and PCORI.

McAlearney received a master of science degree in biological sciences from Stanford University and a doctor of science degree in health policy and management from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.