Biostatistics and Health Services Research (BIO HSR) is a statistical science research hub and one of four divisions in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences.

We are home to the Quantitative Methods Core (QMC) that provides biostatistical support for research studies across the medical school and beyond.

We are research partners with MassHealth (Massachusetts Medicaid and CHIP), working to improve the quality of services offered. We also evaluate MassHealth programs for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Our expertise and research projects span multiple areas, including: patient reported outcome measurement, geography-based differences in social determinants of health, international programs to reduce sexually transmitted disease, statistical methods for interpreting genetic information, and program evaluation.

This site is a repository of selected publications produced by BIO HSR faculty and researchers.


Contact escholarship@umassmed.edu with your questions.

Recently Published

  • Complement protein signatures in patients with alcohol-associated hepatitis

    Taiwo, Moyinoluwa T; Huang, Emily; Pathak, Vai; Bellar, Annette; Welch, Nicole; Dasarathy, Jaividhya; Streem, David; McClain, Craig J; Mitchell, Mack C; Barton, Bruce A; et al. (2024-04-04)
    Diagnostic challenges continue to impede development of effective therapies for successful management of alcohol-associated hepatitis (AH), thus creating an unmet need to identify and develop non-invasive biomarkers for AH. In murine models of ethanol-induced liver injury, complement activation contributes to hepatic inflammation and injury. Therefore, we hypothesized that complement proteins could be rational diagnostic/prognostic biomarkers in AH. Here, we performed a comparative analysis of data derived from the human hepatic and serum proteome to identify and characterize complement protein signatures in severe AH (sAH). The quantity of multiple complement proteins was perturbed in liver and serum proteome of patients with sAH. Multiple complement proteins differentiated patients with sAH from those with alcohol cirrhosis (AC), alcohol use disorder (AUD) and healthy controls (HCs). Notably, serum collectin 11 and C1q binding protein were strongly associated with sAH and exhibited good discriminatory performance amongst patients with sAH, AC, AUD, and HCs. Furthermore, complement component receptor 1-like protein (CR1L) was negatively associated with pro-inflammatory cytokines. Additionally, lower serum mannose-binding lectin associated serine protease 1 and coagulation factor II were associated with and independently predicted 90-day mortality. In summary, meta-analysis of proteomic profiles from liver and circulation revealed complement protein signatures of sAH, highlighting a complex perturbation of complement and identifying potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for patients with sAH.
  • Differences in Health Care Utilization for Asthma by Children with Medicaid versus Private Insurance

    Goff, Sarah L; Shieh, Meng-Shiou; Lindenauer, Peter K; Ash, Arlene S.; Krishnan, Jerry A; Geissler, Kimberley H (2024-04-02)
    Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children, disproportionately affects families with lower incomes, and is a leading reason for acute care visits and hospitalizations. This retrospective cohort study used the Massachusetts All Payer Claims Database (2014-2018) to examine differences in acute care utilization and quality of care for asthma between Medicaid- and privately insured children in Massachusetts. Outcomes included acute care use (emergency department [ED] or hospitalization), ED visits with asthma, routine asthma visits, and filled prescriptions for asthma medications. Multivariable logistic regression was used to account for differences in demographics, ZIP codes, health status, and asthma severity. Overall, 10.0% of Medicaid-insured children and 5.6% of privately insured were classified as having asthma. Among 317,596 child-year observations for children with asthma, 64.4% were insured by Medicaid. Medicaid-insured children had higher rates of any acute care use (50.4% vs. 30.0%) and ED visits with an asthma diagnosis (27.2% vs. 13.3%) compared to privately insured children. Only 65.4% of Medicaid enrollees had at least one routine asthma visit compared to 74.3% of privately insured children. Most children received at least one asthma medication (88.6% Medicaid vs. 83.3% privately insured), but a higher percentage of Medicaid-insured children received at least one rescue medication (84.0% vs. 73.7%), and a lower percentage of Medicaid-insured (46.1% vs. 49.2%) received a controller medication. These results suggest that opportunities for improvement in childhood asthma persist, particularly for children insured by Medicaid.
  • Short and medium-term outcomes in individuals hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction and multiple chronic conditions: The Worcester heart attack study

    Zammitti, Christopher; Tisminetzky, Mayra; Mehawej, Jordy; Abu, Hawa O; Miozzo, Ruben; Gore, Joel M; Lessard, Darleen; Bamgbade, Benita A; Yarzebski, Jorge; Gurwitz, Jerry H; et al. (2024-03-27)
    Background: Multiple chronic conditions (MCCs) are common in patients hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction (AMI). We examined the association of 12 MCCs with the risk of a 30-day hospital readmission and/or dying within one year among those discharged from the hospital after an AMI. We also examined the five most prevalent pairs of chronic conditions in this population and their association with the principal study endpoints. Methods: The study population consisted of 3,294 adults hospitalized with a confirmed AMI at the three major medical centers in central Massachusetts on an approximate biennial basis between 2005 and 2015. Patients were categorized as ≤1, 2-3, and ≥4 chronic conditions. Results: The median age of the study population was 67.9 years, 41.6% were women, and 15% had ≤1, 32% had 2-3, and 53% had ≥4 chronic conditions. Patients with ≥4 conditions tended to be older, had a longer hospital stay, and received fewer cardiac interventional procedures. There was an increased risk for being rehospitalized during the subsequent 30 days according to the presence of MCCs, with the highest risk for those with ≥4 conditions. There was an increased, but attenuated, risk for dying during the next year according to the presence of MCCs. Individuals with diabetes/hypertension and those with heart failure/chronic kidney disease were at particularly high risk for developing the principal study outcomes. Conclusion: Development of guidelines that include complex patients, particularly those with MCCs and those at high risk for adverse short/medium term outcomes, remain needed to inform best treatment practices.
  • Sex differences in time to initiate NSAIDs or bDMARDs among patients with axial spondyloarthritis

    Shridharmurthy, Divya; Lapane, Kate L; Baek, Jonggyu; Nunes, Anthony P; Weisman, Michael H; Kay, Jonathan; Liu, Shao-Hsien (2024-03-27)
    Objective: We evaluated sex differences in time to initiation of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) or biologic disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) among patients with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA). Methods: Using the 2013-2018 IBM® MarketScan® Database, we identified 174,632 axSpA patients aged ≥18 years. We evaluated the time between axSpA diagnosis and the first prescription NSAID dispensing (among those with no baseline NSAIDs use) or bDMARDs infusion/procedure claim (among those dispensed ≥ two different prescription NSAIDs in the baseline period). Adjusted hazard ratios (aHR) for time to initiation of NSAIDs or bDMARDs were computed using survival analyses. Cox proportional hazard models estimated associations between sex and predictors of treatment initiation. Results: Average age at diagnosis was 48.2 years, 65.7% were females, and 37.8% had ≥ one NSAIDs dispensing before axSpA diagnosis. Of those without dispensing for ≥ two different prescription NSAIDs before diagnosis, NSAIDs were initiated earlier in females than males (NSAID initiators: Females (32.9%), Males (29.3%); aHR: 1.14, 95% CI: 1.11-1.16). Among those with ≥ two different prescription NSAIDs dispensations in the baseline period, 4.2% initiated a bDMARD while 77.9% continued NSAIDs use after diagnosis. Time to bDMARDs initiation was longer for females than males (aHR:0.61, 95% CI:0.52-0.72), but bDMARDs were initiated sooner among those with NSAIDs use in the baseline period. Conclusion: Prescription NSAID use was more common than initiation of bDMARDs among patients newly diagnosed with axSpA. Females appeared more likely to continue NSAIDs after diagnosis, and the time to initiation of bDMARDs was longer for females than males.
  • Adjustment for Renal Function Improves the Prognostic Performance of Urinary Thromboxane Metabolites

    Barton, Bruce A; Kronsberg, Shari S; Hariri, Essa; Vasan, Ramachandran S; Rade, Grace A; Xanthakis, Vanessa; Kickler, Thomas S; Rade, Jeffrey J (2024-02-28)
    Background: Systemic thromboxane A2 generation, assessed by quantifying the concentration of stable thromboxane B2 metabolites (TXB2-M) in the urine adjusted for urinary creatinine, is strongly associated with mortality risk. We sought to define optimal TXB2-M cutpoints for aspirin users and nonusers and determine if adjusting TXB2-M for estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in addition to urinary creatinine improved mortality risk assessment. Methods: Urinary TXB2-M were measured by competitive ELISA in 1363 aspirin users and 1681 nonusers participating in the Framingham Heart Study. Cutpoints were determined for TXB2-M and TXB2-M/eGFR using log-rank statistics and used to assess mortality risk by Cox proportional hazard modeling and restricted mean survival time. Multivariable models were compared using the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC). A cohort of 105 aspirin users with heart failure was used for external validation. Results: Optimized cutpoints of TXB2-M were 1291 and 5609 pg/mg creatinine and of TXB2-M/eGFR were 16.6 and 62.1 filtered prostanoid units (defined as pg·min/creatinine·mL·1.73 m2), for aspirin users and nonusers, respectively. TXB2-M/eGFR cutpoints provided more robust all-cause mortality risk discrimination than TXB2-M cutpoints, with a larger unadjusted hazard ratio (2.88 vs 2.16, AIC P < 0.0001) and greater differences in restricted mean survival time between exposure groups (1.46 vs 1.10 years), findings that were confirmed in the external validation cohort of aspirin users. TXB2-M/eGFR cutpoints also provided better cardiovascular/stroke mortality risk discrimination than TXB2-M cutpoints (unadjusted hazard ratio 3.31 vs 2.13, AIC P < 0.0001). Conclusion: Adjustment for eGFR strengthens the association of urinary TXB2-M with long-term mortality risk irrespective of aspirin use.
  • Examining racial/ethnic inequities in treatment participation among perinatal individuals with depression

    Boama-Nyarko, Esther; Flahive, Julie; Zimmermann, Martha; Allison, Jeroan J.; Person, Sharina D.; Moore Simas, Tiffany A; Byatt, Nancy (2024-02-15)
    Objective: A cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) of two interventions for addressing perinatal depression treatment in obstetric settings was conducted. This secondary analysis compared treatment referral and participation among Minoritized perinatal individuals compared to their non-Hispanic white counterparts. Methods: Among perinatal individuals with depression symptoms, we examined rates of treatment 1) referral (i.e., offered medications or referred to mental health clinician), 2) initiation (i.e., attended ≥1 mental health visit or reported prescribed antidepressant medication), and 3) sustainment (i.e., attended >1 mental health visit per study month or prescribed antidepressant medication at time of study interviews). We compared non-Hispanic white (NHW) (n = 149) vs. Minoritized perinatal individuals (Black, Asian, Hispanic/Latina, Pacific Islander, Native American, Multiracial, and white Hispanic/Latina n = 157). We calculated adjusted odds ratios (aOR) for each outcome. Results: Minoritized perinatal individuals across both interventions had significantly lower odds of treatment referral (aOR = 0.48;95% CI = 0.27-0.88) than their NHW counterparts. There were no statistically significant differences in the odds of treatment initiation (aOR = 0.64 95% CI:0.36-1.2) or sustainment (aOR = 0.54;95% CI = 0.28-1.1) by race/ethnicity. Conclusions: Perinatal mental healthcare inequities are associated with disparities in treatment referrals. Interventions focusing on referral disparities across race and ethnicity are needed.
  • Examining Race-Based and Gender-Based Discrimination, Trust in Providers, and Mental Well-Being Among Black Women

    Cuffee, Yendelela L; Preston, Portia A Jackson; Akuley, Suzanne; Jaffe, Rachel; Person, Sharina D.; Allison, Jeroan J. (2024-02-12)
    Objectives: To examine experiences of discrimination among Black women, and to determine if experiencing race- and gender-based discrimination is associated with mental well-being and trust. Methods: Data from the TRUST study were used to examine experiences of discrimination among 559 Black women with hypertension receiving healthcare at a safety-net hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. A three-level variable was constructed to combine the race-based and gender-based measures of the Experiences of Discrimination scale. Linear regression was used to examine the association between experiences of discrimination with mental well-being and trust. Results: Women who reported no experiences of race- or gender-based discrimination were older and reported higher mental well-being scores and greater trust. Fifty-three percent of study participants reported experiencing discrimination. Compared to participants who did not experience race- or gender-based discrimination, participants reporting experiences of race- or gender-based discrimination and those reporting experiencing both race- and gender-based discrimination were more likely to report poorer mental health. Conclusion: Reported experiences of gender- and/or race-based discrimination in this study were associated with lower mental health scores and less trust in health care providers. Our findings highlight the importance of examining experiences of discrimination among Black women, and the role of discrimination as a stressor and in reducing trust for providers. Incorporating an understanding and acknowledgement of experiences of discrimination into interventions, programs, and during clinical encounters may foster more trusting relationships between providers and patients.
  • Randomized-controlled trial of anakinra plus zinc vs. prednisone for severe alcohol-associated hepatitis

    Gawrieh, Samer; Dasarathy, Srinivasan; Tu, Wanzhu; Kamath, Patrick S; Chalasani, Naga P; McClain, Craig J; Bataller, Ramon; Szabo, Gyongyi; Tang, Qing; Radaeva, Svetlana; et al. (2024-02-09)
    Background & aims: Severe alcohol-associated hepatitis (SAH) has high 90-day mortality. Glucocorticoid therapy for 28 days improves 30- but not 90-day survival. We assessed the efficacy and safety of a combination of anakinra, an IL-1 antagonist, plus zinc (A+Z) compared to prednisone (PRED) using the Day-7 Lille score as a stopping rule in patients with SAH. Methods: In this phase IIb double-blind randomized trial in adults with SAH and MELD scores 20-35, participants were randomized to receive either anakinra 100 mg subcutaneously daily for 14 days plus zinc sulfate 220 mg orally daily for 90 days or daily prednisone 40 mg orally for 30 days. Prednisone or prednisone placebo was stopped if Day-7 Lille score was >0.45. All study drugs were stopped for uncontrolled infection or ≥ 5 points increase in MELD score. The primary endpoint was overall survival at 90 days compared using a two-sided log-rank test. Results: Seventy-three participants were randomized to PRED and 74 to A+Z. The trial was stopped early after a prespecified interim analysis showed PRED had higher 90-day overall survival (90% vs 70%, HR for death =0.34, 95% CI [0.14, 0.83], P =0.018) and transplant-free survival (88% vs 64%, HR for transplant or death =0.30, 95% CI: [0.13, 0.69], P =0.004) than A+Z. Acute kidney injury was more frequent with A+Z (45%) than PRED (22%) (P = 0.001), but rates of infections were similar (31% in A+Z vs 27% in PRED, P =0.389). Conclusions: Participants with SAH treated with prednisone using the Day-7 Lille score as a stopping rule had significantly higher overall and transplant-free 90-day survival and lower incidence of acute kidney injury than those treated with A+Z. Trial registration: NCT04072822. Impact and implications: There is no approved treatment for severe alcohol-associated hepatitis (SAH). In this double-blind randomized trial, patients with SAH treated with prednisone using the Lille stopping rule on Day-7 had higher 90-day overall and transplant-free survival and lower rate of acute kidney injury compared to patients treated with a combination of anakinra and zinc. The data support continued use of glucocorticoids for patients with SAH, with treatment discontinuation for those with Lille score > 0.45 on Day-7.
  • Association of spatial proximity to fixed-site syringe services programs with HCV serostatus and injection equipment sharing practices among people who inject drugs in rural New England, United States

    Romo, Eric; Stopka, Thomas J; Jesdale, Bill M; Wang, Bo; Mazor, Kathleen M; Friedmann, Peter D (2024-01-28)
    Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) disproportionately affects rural communities, where health services are geographically dispersed. It remains unknown whether proximity to a syringe services program (SSP) is associated with HCV infection among rural people who inject drugs (PWID). Methods: Data are from a cross-sectional sample of adults who reported injecting drugs in the past 30 days recruited from rural counties in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts (2018-2019). We calculated the road network distance between each participant's address and the nearest fixed-site SSP, categorized as ≤ 1 mile, 1-3 miles, 3-10 miles, and > 10 miles. Staff performed HCV antibody tests and a survey assessed past 30-day injection equipment sharing practices: borrowing used syringes, borrowing other used injection equipment, and backloading. Mixed effects modified Poisson regression estimated prevalence ratios (aPR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Analyses were also stratified by means of transportation. Results: Among 330 PWID, 25% lived ≤ 1 mile of the nearest SSP, 17% lived 1-3 miles of an SSP, 12% lived 3-10 miles of an SSP, and 46% lived > 10 miles from an SSP. In multivariable models, compared to PWID who lived within 1 mile of an SSP, those who lived 3 to 10 miles away had a higher prevalence of HCV seropositivity (aPR: 1.25, 95% CI 1.06-1.46), borrowing other used injection equipment (aPR: 1.23, 95% CI 1.04-1.46), and backloading (aPR: 1.48, 95% CI 1.17-1.88). Similar results were observed for PWID living > 10 miles from an SSP: aPR [HCV]: 1.19, 95% CI 1.01-1.40; aPR [borrowing other used equipment]:1.45, 95% CI 1.29-1.63; and aPR [backloading]: 1.59, 95% CI 1.13-2.24. Associations between living 1 to 3 miles of an SSP and each outcome did not reach statistical significance. When stratified by means of transportation, associations between distance to SSP and each outcome (except borrowing other used injection equipment) were only observed among PWID who traveled by other means (versus traveled by automobile). Conclusions: Among PWID in rural New England, living farther from a fixed-site SSP was associated with a higher prevalence of HCV seropositivity, borrowing other used injection equipment, and backloading, reinforcing the need to increase SSP accessibility in rural areas. Means of transportation may modify this relationship.
  • Strengthening Quality Measurement to Predict Success for Total Knee Arthroplasty: Results from a Nationally Representative Total Knee Arthroplasty Cohort

    Zheng, Hua; Ash, Arlene S.; Yang, Wenyun; Liu, Shao-Hsien; Allison, Jeroan J.; Ayers, David C (2024-01-25)
    Background: When performed well on appropriate patients, total knee arthroplasty (TKA) can dramatically improve quality of life. Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are increasingly used to measure outcome following TKA. Accurate prediction of improvement in PROMs after TKA potentially plays an important role in judging the surgical quality of the health-care institutions as well as informing preoperative shared decision-making. Starting in 2027, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin mandating PROM reporting to assess the quality of TKAs. Methods: Using data from a national cohort of patients undergoing primary unilateral TKA, we developed an original model that closely followed a CMS-proposed measure to predict success, defined as achieving substantial clinical benefit, specifically at least a 20-point improvement on the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score, Joint Arthroplasty (KOOS, JR) at 1 year, and an enhanced model with just 1 additional predictor: the baseline KOOS, JR. We evaluated each model's performance using the area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC) and the ratio of observed to expected (model-predicted) outcomes (O:E ratio). Results: We studied 5,958 patients with a mean age of 67 years; 63% were women, 93% were White, and 87% were overweight or obese. Adding the baseline KOOS, JR improved the AUC from 0.58 to 0.73. Ninety-four percent of those in the top decile of predicted probability of success under the enhanced model achieved success, compared with 34% in its bottom decile. Analogous numbers for the original model were less discriminating: 77% compared with 57%. Only the enhanced model predicted success accurately across the spectrum of baseline scores. The findings were virtually identical when we replicated these analyses on only patients ≥65 years of age. Conclusions: Adding a baseline knee-specific PROM score to a quality measurement model in a nationally representative cohort dramatically improved its predictive power, eliminating ceiling and floor effects and mispredictions for readily identifiable patient subgroups. The enhanced model neither favors nor discourages care for those with greater knee dysfunction and requires no new data collection. Level of evidence: Prognostic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
  • A qualitative study of ethnic Korean women and men's experiences of HPV and HPV vaccination in the United States

    Kim, Minjin; Güler, Ayse; Kim, Deogwoon; Lee, Rebecca C (2024-01-24)
    Introduction: Approximately 42.5% of adults aged 18-59 in the United States is estimated to be affected by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. However, Asian Americans have the lowest HPV vaccination initiation rate compared to other racial groups. This study aims to explore the experiences of HPV and the HPV vaccination among ethnic Korean women and men in the United States. Methods: A total of 33 ethnic Korean and Korean Americans aged 27-45 years living in the U.S. were recruited via word-of-mouth and social media using a purposive sampling strategy. They participated in an online survey. Of the 33 participants, 29 (14 females and 15 males) participated in in-depth interviews via password-protected Zoom. A content analysis approach was used to analyze the interviews. Results: Only 32% of participants had received the HPV vaccine at least once (female: 35.3%, male: 12.5%). Six major themes emerged from data analysis: (1) awareness of HPV, HPV vaccine, and HPV-associated cancers; (2) attitudes toward the HPV vaccine; (3) barriers to HPV vaccination; (4) women's experiences and preferences for pap smear testing; (5) experiences with HPV diagnosis; and (6) HPV and HPV vaccination education preferences. Conclusion: The findings highlight cultural factors that may impede the discussion about and uptake of HPV vaccination and HPV-associated cancer screening, which emphasize the need for culturally appropriate interventions to overcome stigma around HPV and enhance vaccination rates. Healthcare providers should consider ethnic and cross-cultural differences perceptions to effectively HPV-related health information. This study provides insight into the experiences and understanding of HPV and vaccination among ethnic Korean men and women, laying the groundwork for developing culturally-tailored programs that sim to increase HPV vaccination rates and mitigate the stigma and impact of HPV-related disease in this community.
  • Practice Site Heterogeneity within and between Medicaid Accountable Care Organizations

    Dyer, Zachary; Alcusky, Matthew J; Himmelstein, Jay; Ash, Arlene S.; Kerrissey, Michaela (2024-01-20)
    The existing literature has considered accountable care organizations (ACOs) as whole entities, neglecting potentially important variations in the characteristics and experiences of the individual practice sites that comprise them. In this observational cross-sectional study, our aim is to characterize the experience, capacity, and process heterogeneity at the practice site level within and between Medicaid ACOs, drawing on the Massachusetts Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (MassHealth), which launched an ACO reform effort in 2018. We used a 2019 survey of a representative sample of administrators from practice sites participating in Medicaid ACOs in Massachusetts (n = 225). We quantified the clustering of responses by practice site within all 17 Medicaid ACOs in Massachusetts for measures of process change, previous experience with alternative payment models, and changes in the practices' ability to deliver high-quality care. Using multilevel logistic models, we calculated median odds ratios (MORs) and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) to quantify the variation within and between ACOs for each measure. We found greater heterogeneity within the ACOs than between them for all measures, regardless of practice site and ACO characteristics (all ICCs ≤ 0.26). Our research indicates diverse experience with, and capacity for, implementing ACO initiatives across practice sites in Medicaid ACOs. Future research and program design should account for characteristics of practice sites within ACOs.
  • Effectiveness of two systems-level interventions to address perinatal depression in obstetric settings (PRISM): an active-controlled cluster-randomised trial

    Byatt, Nancy; Brenckle, Linda; Sankaran, Padma; Flahive, Julie; Ko, Jean Y; Robbins, Cheryl L; Zimmermann, Martha; Allison, Jeroan J.; Person, Sharina D.; Moore Simas, Tiffany A (2024-01-01)
    Background: Perinatal depression is a common and undertreated condition, with potential deleterious effects on maternal, obstetric, infant, and child outcomes. We aimed to compare the effectiveness of two systems-level interventions in the obstetric setting-the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program (MCPAP) for Moms and the PRogram In Support of Moms (PRISM)-in improving depression symptoms and participation in mental health treatment among women with perinatal depression. Methods: In this cluster-randomised, active-controlled trial, obstetric practices across Massachusetts (USA) were allocated (1:1) via covariate adaptive randomisation to either continue participating in the MCPAP for Moms intervention, a state-wide, population-based programme, or to participate in the PRISM intervention, which involved MCPAP for Moms plus a proactive, multifaceted, obstetric practice-level intervention with intensive implementation support. English-speaking women (aged ≥18 years) who screened positive for depression (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale [EPDS] score ≥10) were recruited from the practices. Patients were followed up at 4-25 weeks of gestation, 32-40 weeks of gestation, 0-3 months postpartum, 5-7 months postpartum, and 11-13 months postpartum via telephone interview. Participants were masked to the intervention; investigators were not masked. The primary outcome was change in depression symptoms (EPDS score) between baseline assessment and 11-13 months postpartum. Analysis was done by intention to treat, fitting generalised linear mixed models adjusting for age, insurance status, education, and race, and accounting for clustering of patients within practices. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02760004. Findings: Between July 29, 2015, and Sept 20, 2021, ten obstetric practices were recruited and retained; five (50%) practices were randomly allocated to MCPAP for Moms and five (50%) to PRISM. 1265 participants were assessed for eligibility and 312 (24·7%) were recruited, of whom 162 (51·9%) were enrolled in MCPAP for Moms practices and 150 (48·1%) in PRISM practices. Comparing baseline to 11-13 months postpartum, EPDS scores decreased by 4·2 (SD 5·2; p<0·0001) among participants in MCPAP for Moms practices and by 4·3 (SD 4.5; p<0·0001) among those in PRISM practices (estimated difference between groups 0·1 [95% CI -1·2 to 1·4]; p=0·87). Interpretation: Both the MCPAP for Moms and PRISM interventions were equally effective in improving depression symptoms. This finding is important because the 4-point decrease in EPDS score is clinically significant, and MCPAP for Moms has a lower intensity and greater population-based reach than does PRISM. Funding: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Clinician Attitudes Toward Suicide Prevention Practices and Their Implementation: Findings From the System of Safety Study

    Larkin, Celine; Kiefe, Catarina I; Morena, Alexandra L; Rahmoun, Mhd B; Lazar, Peter; Sefair, Ana Vallejo; Boudreaux, Edwin D (2023-12-21)
    Objective: The authors aimed to assess clinicians' attitudes toward suicide-related practices and their implementation, across roles and settings, before implementation of the Zero Suicide model in a health care system. Methods: Clinicians (N=5,559) were invited to complete a survey assessing demographic characteristics; confidence and self-reported suicide-related practice; leadership buy-in; and attitudes toward suicide prevention, safety planning, and continuous quality improvement (CQI). Results: Of 1,224 respondents, most felt confident conducting suicide screening but less confident performing other suicide-related care. Provider role and care setting were significantly associated with confidence (p<0.001, Kruskal-Wallis H test) and practice (p<0.001, Kruskal-Wallis H test) of providing suicide prevention care, with behavioral health providers and providers in the emergency department (ED) reporting the highest confidence. Attitudes toward safety planning were more positive among women (p<0.001, t test) and behavioral health providers (p<0.001, F test) than among their counterparts or peers. Positive attitudes toward CQI were significantly associated with male sex (p=0.01), non-White race (p=0.03), younger age (p=0.02), fewer years working in health care (p<0.001), administrative role (p<0.001), working in the ED (p<0.001), outpatient settings (p<0.02), and medical provider role (p<0.001). Conclusions: Behavioral health providers and those in the ED reported feeling prepared to deliver suicide-related care, with nurses feeling less confident and less supported. Initiatives to improve suicide-related care should account for clinical role and care setting during planning. CQI could help engage a broader range of clinicians in suicide-related care improvements.
  • Technology engagement is associated with higher perceived physical well-being in stroke patients prescribed smartwatches for atrial fibrillation detection

    Mensah Otabil, Edith; Dai, Qiying; Anzenberg, Paula; Filippaios, Andreas; Ding, Eric; Mehawej, Jordy; Mathew, Joanne E; Lessard, Darleen; Wang, Ziyue; Noorishirazi, Kamran; et al. (2023-12-06)
    Background: Increasing ownership of smartphones among Americans provides an opportunity to use these technologies to manage medical conditions. We examine the influence of baseline smartwatch ownership on changes in self-reported anxiety, patient engagement, and health-related quality of life when prescribed smartwatch for AF detection. Method: We performed a post-hoc secondary analysis of the Pulsewatch study (NCT03761394), a clinical trial in which 120 participants were randomized to receive a smartwatch-smartphone app dyad and ECG patch monitor compared to an ECG patch monitor alone to establish the accuracy of the smartwatch-smartphone app dyad for detection of AF. At baseline, 14 days, and 44 days, participants completed the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 survey, the Health Survey SF-12, and the Consumer Health Activation Index. Mixed-effects linear regression models using repeated measures with anxiety, patient activation, physical and mental health status as outcomes were used to examine their association with smartwatch ownership at baseline. Results: Ninety-six participants, primarily White with high income and tertiary education, were randomized to receive a study smartwatch-smartphone dyad. Twenty-four (25%) participants previously owned a smartwatch. Compared to those who did not previously own a smartwatch, smartwatch owners reported significant greater increase in their self-reported physical health (β = 5.07, P < 0.05), no differences in anxiety (β = 0.92, P = 0.33), mental health (β = -2.42, P = 0.16), or patient activation (β = 1.86, P = 0.54). Conclusions: Participants who own a smartwatch at baseline reported a greater positive change in self-reported physical health, but not in anxiety, patient activation, or self-reported mental health over the study period.
  • Long non-coding RNAs and immune cells: Unveiling the role in viral infections

    Zhang, Dan; Zhang, Mengna; Zhang, Liqin; Wang, Weijuan; Hua, Stéphane; Zhou, Chan; Sun, Xiaoming (2023-12-05)
    Viral infections present significant challenges to human health, underscoring the importance of understanding the immune response for effective therapeutic strategies. Immune cell activation leads to dynamic changes in gene expression. Numerous studies have demonstrated the crucial role of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in immune activation and disease processes, including viral infections. This review provides a comprehensive overview of lncRNAs expressed in immune cells, including CD8 T cells, CD4 T cells, B cells, monocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells, and granulocytes, during both acute and chronic viral infections. LncRNA-mediated gene regulation encompasses various mechanisms, including the modulation of viral replication, the establishment of latency, activation of interferon pathways and other critical signaling pathways, regulation of immune exhaustion and aging, and control of cytokine and chemokine production, as well as the modulation of interferon-stimulated genes. By highlighting specific lncRNAs in different immune cell types, this review enhances our understanding of immune responses to viral infections from a lncRNA perspective and suggests potential avenues for exploring lncRNAs as therapeutic targets against viral diseases.
  • The role of primary care providers in testing for sexually transmitted infections in the MassHealth Medicaid program

    Mick, Eric O.; Sabatino, Meagan J; Alcusky, Matthew J; Eanet, Frances E; Pearson, William S; Ash, Arlene S. (2023-11-30)
    The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and predictors of testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) under an accountable care model of health care delivery. Data sources were claims and encounter records from the Massachusetts Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (MassHealth) for enrollees aged 13 to 64 years in 2019. This cross-sectional study examines the one-year prevalence of STI testing and evaluates social determinants of health and other patient characteristics as predictors of such testing in both primary care and other settings. We identified visits with STI testing using procedure codes and primary care settings from provider code types. Among 740,417 members, 55% were female, 11% were homeless or unstably housed, and 15% had some level of disability. While the prevalence of testing in any setting was 20% (N = 151,428), only 57,215 members had testing performed in a primary care setting, resulting in an 8% prevalence of testing by primary care clinicians (PCCs). Members enrolled in a managed care organization (MCO) were significantly less likely to be tested by a primary care provider than those enrolled in accountable care organization (ACO) plans that have specific incentives for primary care practices to coordinate care. Enrollees in a Primary Care ACO had the highest rates of STI testing, both overall and by primary care providers. Massachusetts' ACO delivery systems may be able to help practices increase STI screening with explicit incentives for STI testing in primary care settings.
  • Accuracy, Usability, and Adherence of Smartwatches for Atrial Fibrillation Detection in Older Adults After Stroke: Randomized Controlled Trial

    Ding, Eric Y; Tran, Khanh-Van; Lessard, Darleen; Wang, Ziyue; Han, Dong; Mohagheghian, Fahimeh; Mensah Otabil, Edith; Noorishirazi, Kamran; Mehawej, Jordy; Filippaios, Andreas; et al. (2023-11-28)
    Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common cause of stroke, and timely diagnosis is critical for secondary prevention. Little is known about smartwatches for AF detection among stroke survivors. We aimed to examine accuracy, usability, and adherence to a smartwatch-based AF monitoring system designed by older stroke survivors and their caregivers. Objective: This study aims to examine the feasibility of smartwatches for AF detection in older stroke survivors. Methods: Pulsewatch is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in which stroke survivors received either a smartwatch-smartphone dyad for AF detection (Pulsewatch system) plus an electrocardiogram patch or the patch alone for 14 days to assess the accuracy and usability of the system (phase 1). Participants were subsequently rerandomized to potentially 30 additional days of system use to examine adherence to watch wear (phase 2). Participants were aged 50 years or older, had survived an ischemic stroke, and had no major contraindications to oral anticoagulants. The accuracy for AF detection was determined by comparing it to cardiologist-overread electrocardiogram patch, and the usability was assessed with the System Usability Scale (SUS). Adherence was operationalized as daily watch wear time over the 30-day monitoring period. Results: A total of 120 participants were enrolled (mean age 65 years; 50/120, 41% female; 106/120, 88% White). The Pulsewatch system demonstrated 92.9% (95% CI 85.3%-97.4%) accuracy for AF detection. Mean usability score was 65 out of 100, and on average, participants wore the watch for 21.2 (SD 8.3) of the 30 days. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that a smartwatch system designed by and for stroke survivors is a viable option for long-term arrhythmia detection among older adults at risk for AF, though it may benefit from strategies to enhance adherence to watch wear. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03761394; https://clinicaltrials.gov/study/NCT03761394. International registered report identifier (irrid): RR2-10.1016/j.cvdhj.2021.07.002.
  • Primary Care Activity Level 2022 - Preliminary Report by the UMass Chan Analytics Group and MassHealth

    Ash, Arlene S.; Mick, Eric O.; Alcusky, Matthew J; Eanet, Frances E (2023-11-27)
    UMass Chan Medical School has worked with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) since 2014 to develop risk models for MassHealth to account for how social determinants of health (SDH) and medical complexity jointly predict total health care cost.i The Primary Care Activity Level (PCAL) framework was originally developed by Ash and Ellis in 2012 to calculate risk-adjusted bundled payments for comprehensive primary care in a commercially insured population.ii It was designed to recognize patient differences in the expected cost of all services that primary care practitioners (PCPs) should be providing. Payments based on PCAL are higher for medically and/or socially complex patients than for less complex ones. In 2023 MassHealth is implementing a Primary Care Capitation program for Accountable Care Organization (ACO) primary care (PC) practices, which extends value-based payment to the provider level. Complex patients need more PC services to manage their needs than less complex patients do, yet such differences in patient complexity are not adequately reflected in fee-for-service reimbursements for primary care procedures. Here we present the development of a PCAL model that can be used to adjust primary care capitation payments based on the health status of each member; the model has been fit to MassHealth-specific data and in consideration of the state’s policy goals.
  • A novel score of IL-13 and age predicts 90-day mortality in severe alcohol-associated hepatitis: A multicenter plasma biomarker analysis

    Tornai, David; Mitchell, Mack; McClain, Craig J; Dasarathy, Srinivasan; McCullough, Arthur; Radaeva, Svetlana; Kroll-Desrosiers, Aimee; Lee, JungAe; Barton, Bruce A; Szabo, Gyongyi (2023-11-22)
    Background: Severe alcoholic hepatitis (AH) has a high short-term mortality rate. The MELD assesses disease severity and mortality; however, it is not specific for AH. We screened plasma samples from patients with severe AH for biomarkers of multiple pathological processes and identified predictors of short-term mortality. Methods: Plasma was collected at baseline from 85 patients with severe AH (MELD≥20, Maddrey's discriminant function≥32) enrolled in the Defeat Alcoholic Steatohepatitis clinical trial (investigating IL-1 receptor antagonist+pentoxifylline+zinc vs. methylprednisolone+placebo). Samples were analyzed for 43 biomarkers and the markers' association with 28- and 90-day mortalities was assessed. Results: Thirty-one (36.5%) patients died during the 90-day follow-up with similar ratios in the treatment groups. Eight biomarkers showed an association with mortality. IL-6, IL-22, interferon-α2, soluble TNF receptor 1, lipocalin-2, and α-fetoprotein levels were associated with 28-day mortality, while IL-6, IL-13, and endotoxin levels with 90-day mortality. In multivariable Cox regression, encephalopathy, lipocalin-2, and α-fetoprotein levels were independent predictors of 28-day mortality, and IL-6, IL-13, international normalized ratio levels, and age were independent predictors of 90-day mortality. The combination of IL-13 and age had superior performance in predicting 90-day mortality compared with MELD in the total cohort and the individual treatment groups. Conclusions: We identified predictors of short-term mortality in a cohort exclusively involving patients with severe AH. We created a composite score of IL-13 and age that predicts 90-day mortality regardless of the treatment type with a performance superior to MELD in severe AH.

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