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SUNY Downstate receives award to develop mobile phone apps for stroke patients and their caregivers

SUNY Downstate Medical Center has received an award to enhance patient care in the field of neurology. Steven R. Levine, MD, professor of neurology and emergency medicine and vice chair of neurology, is scientific principal investigator on a $500,000 award from the federally funded Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to develop mobile phone applications for stroke patients and their caregivers.

Investigators from SUNY Downstate's College of Medicine and School of Public Health are participating in this study, which is being developed in conjunction with the National Stroke Association and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health. The grant team will survey stroke survivors and their caregivers to investigate the interest in and preference for smartphone apps that facilitate improved identification and management of risk factors and healthcare needs.

"Despite the saying, 'There's an app for that,' progress has been limited in providing successful mobile technology to help patients manage cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases and other illnesses," said Dr. Levine. "Nevertheless, there is enormous potential for patients and their caregivers to improve health outcomes through this technology, including among the elderly, minorities, and those of limited financial means, who are often most in need of better care. We are looking to develop a model program that will address stroke risk and disease management that will be applicable to other conditions as well."

The two-year award is part of PCORI's Pilot Projects Program. The funding for SUNY Downstate has been approved pending completion of a business review and a formal award agreement with PCORI, which is an independent, nonprofit organization whose establishment was 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.

Investigators include Dee Burton, PhD, associate professor and chair of community health sciences, School of Public Health; Abhishek Pandey, MD, clinical instructor in the Department of Medicine and sleep researcher with the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center (BHDC); Clotilde Balucani, MD, research fellow in the Department of Neurology; Ruth Browne, ScD, MPH, CEO of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health (AAIUH) and co-director, BHDC; and Marilyn Fraser-White, MD, associate director of research and training, AAIUH, and director of community engagement, BHDC.

As previously announced, Dr. Levine is also principal investigator on Downstate's NIH-funded clinical trial network involving the four SUNY medical center campuses. Among the aims of the Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials (NeuroNEXT) is the recruitment of a diverse patient population for neurology clinical trials and to train underrepresented minority investigators. This grant is also part of SUNY REACH, a collaborative effort involving the four SUNY academic medical centers and the SUNY College of Optometry.


Contact: Ron Najman
SUNY Downstate Medical Center

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