Research institute green-lights $254M for 28 studies 

Twenty-eight new research studies that aim to address an array of health issues, including disparities in maternal care, suicide prevention and chronic conditions, are getting a funding boost.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute approved $254 million in funding for the studies on July 27.

Four studies were approved for a total of $33 million. These will examine interventions to improve care during pregnancy, childbirth and post-partum with a specific focus on Black and Hispanic women and their infants.

The largest of the four studies will compare approaches to reducing the risk of low birth weight among Black infants.

About $58 million will go toward five studies that are examining interventions to reduce suicide among adolescents and young adults. Three studies will compare whether tailoring suicide prevention strategies to youth populations with higher suicide rates leads to better outcomes. One will focus on autistic youth, while the other two will center on Alaska Native youth and sexual and gender diverse young adults.

Another $135 million will support large comparative clinical effectiveness research studies that aim to fill in gaps in evidence. Topics covered by the studies include telemedicine, diabetes medication and palliative care.

“Patients and those who care for them often face choices between available therapies or other options for their care,” said Dr. Nakela Cook, the institute’s executive director, in an email. “Too often, there is insufficient evidence about the comparative benefits and possible risks associated with each option to help them choose which would be best for their particular needs and circumstances.”

The funding awards were made following a rigorous merit review process, Cook said. Scientists, patients and other stakeholders participated in the review to select studies that have the greatest potential to improve decision-making in healthcare.

The institute funds research through contracts, with payment strictly tied to the achievement of certain milestones and deliverables.

“At the time of contract execution, PCORI sets aside all funds associated with an awarded project to be made available throughout the contract’s period of performance,” Cook said.

The institute, an independent nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010, has so far invested $3.2 billion in patient-centered research.

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