Noted scientist Catarina I. Kiefe, PhD, MD, recruited to build department, research

February 16, 2009

WORCESTER, Mass.— Dr. Catarina I. Kiefe, PhD, MD, a highly regarded scientist in the fields of health care quality measurement and outcomes research, has been recruited as chair of the newly created Department of Quantitative Health Sciences (QHS) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Kiefe comes to the medical school from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, where she was professor of medicine and biostatistics, director of the Division of Preventive Medicine and founding director of the Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research.

“One of our strategies as a world-class academic health sciences center is to design the health care system of the future,” said Michael F. Collins, MD, chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. “Having the expertise here on campus to analyze our own effectiveness in linking research with improved care delivery is crucial to our ability to progress and make a positive impact in Central Massachusetts and across the state and region.”

A cornerstone of the medical school’s strategic investment in clinical and translational research, the newly formed Department of Quantitative Health Sciences will play an integral role in the University of Massachusetts’ five-campus, university-wide Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS), which is focused on exploring opportunities in the life sciences . In addition to developing its own population health-oriented research programs, the new department will serve a key function in providing methodological support and medical informatics expertise to collaborative projects across the medical school.

“We expect QHS to be robustly interactive with the other strategically positioned research programs, such as the Advanced Therapeutics Cluster and the Program in Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology,” said Collins.

A clinical epidemiologist and internist who has published extensively in the fields of health care quality measurement and outcomes research, Dr. Kiefe obtained her doctorate in mathematics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco. Following medical school, she completed her residency training in internal medicine at the University of Minnesota Hospitals. Before joining the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dr. Kiefe was chief of General Internal Medicine at Ben Taub General Hospital and associate professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Currently, she is a member of the American Heart Association’s Council on Epidemiology and has served on multiple NIH and VA scientific advisory and review panels. Dr. Kiefe is co-editor-in-chief of Medical Care, a leading scientific journal in health services research.

Dr. Kiefe’s primary research interests are in health disparities and measuring and improving health care. She is principal investigator on a five-year, interdisciplinary grant funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to test new data-driven methodologies for improving care to ambulatory patients who have sustained myocardial infarction. Additionally, she is principal investigator on an NHLBI-funded five-year program partnership grant to reduce cardiovascular disparities, and has been principal investigator or co-principal investigator on multiple federally funded research projects to advance the science of implementation of evidence into practice.

“I am excited to be joining a dynamic and collaborative institution on a steep upward trajectory such as the University of Massachusetts Medical School,” said Dr. Kiefe. “I am particularly energized by the unique role QHS will have in linking the innovative research UMass Medical School is known for with comprehensive, state-of-the art clinical care. I look forward to working with UMass’ unique resources to build a new model for the interaction between quantitative reasoning and the improvement of health care.”

The University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research. The Medical School attracts more than $193 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources. UMMS is the academic partner of UMass Memorial Health Care, the largest health care provider in Central Massachusetts. For more information visit