Research Areas

Behavioral Medicine

The Department of Learning Health Sciences' faculty are behavioral scientists representing backgrounds in psychology, education, sociology, and anthropology. Our research draws on these approaches and tools for the study of medical education and practice, institutional change, and empowerment-based approaches to behavior change.

Diabetes. Diabetes-related social and behavioral research is a mainstay area of research for the department. Our research focuses on:

  • Assessing social and psychological factors that influence patient self-care practices.
  • Delivering effective patient education.
  • Applying the empowerment-based approach in self-management interventions.
  • Evaluating sustainable community-based education and support programs.
    Faculty: Robert M. Anderson, Ed.D. (lead); James Thomas Fitzgerald, Ph.D

Geriatrics. Department faculty actively participated in evaluating the revised Medical School's geriatrics curriculum. From 1999 to 2005, the Medical School introduced substantial changes, formally integrating geriatrics information throughout the curriculum and introducing geriatrics cases to first-year medical students. To evaluate the effectiveness of these changes, we conducted studies to analyze students' initial attitudes towards and knowledge of the elderly and their health care, and how these beliefs and understanding changed during medical education. Currently, we are evaluating the Geriatrics Center’s program titled “Summer Research Training in Aging for Medical Students.”
Faculty:James Thomas Fitzgerald, Ph.D

Faculty Development & Leadership

In addition to designing and implementing faculty development interventions, departmental faculty study the impact of faculty and leadership development programs on career development, teaching skills, and leadership performance. This research focuses on identifying effective educational methods as well as clarifying the nature of leadership in education and educational scholarship. Faculty: Larry D. Gruppen, Ph.D. (lead); Patricia B. Mullan, Ph.D.

Global Health Research

Our faculty work with Global REACH to facilitate international health research and collaborations with global partners for the benefit of communities worldwide. Recent research activities include an assessment of medical education resources in Ghana and an evaluation of the issues surrounding human resources for health in medicine, public health, and nursing in Ghana.
Faculty: Cheryl A. Moyer, M.P.H.

Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training (MHIRT) Mentorship

Through the Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training Program, our faculty mentorship activities include researching quality of life assessment among pregnant women in Ghana, the link between optimism/pessimism and pregnancy outcomes in China, correlates of gestational diabetes among pregnant women in Beijing, and the incidence of post-natal depression in China.
Faculty: Cheryl A. Moyer, M.P.H.

Physician Performance

The department examines ways to improve the delivery of health care through enhanced clinical performance and the systems in which clinicians work. Activities include:

  • Student Biomedical Research Program Mentorship

    Our faculty serve as mentors in the Student Biomedical Research Program to:

    • Provide medical students with the opportunity to learn research concepts and methodology from experienced investigators.
    • Expand the scholarly and research experiences of medical students as part of an overall career development strategy aimed at increasing the number of talented students choosing careers as physician-scientists.
      Faculty: Cheryl A. Moyer, M.P.H.

    Translational Research

    One of our goals is to increase the number of clinical researchers with the necessary skills for generating studies that bring the benefits of basic science research to patient care. Translational research training programs include grants with an emphasis on developing the skills and scholarly success of researchers from medicine, basic science, and other health care fields.
    Faculty: Patricia B. Mullan, Ph.D. (lead); Robert M. Anderson, Ed.D.