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CPHR Graduates First Three PhDs

Date Posted: December 01, 2009

Hongliu Ding, MD, MPH, PhD and Virginia Briggs, MS, PhD (pictured right at June Commencement) as well as Mayra Tisminetzky,MD, MPH, PhD, are the first group of graduates from the CPHR Program.

  • Dr. Briggs conducted an observational study, “Injection Treatment for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis in Older Adults,” under the direction of Patricia Franklin, MD, MBA in the Department of Orthopedics. She found significant improvements in pain one and three months post injection and improvements were associated with certain patient characteristics. Patients who were obese had greater pain relief, and both better functioning and pain relief were found among those with better baseline emotional functioning. The study is among the first to examine outcomes of this treatment for older adults.
  • Dr. Ding’s thesis entitled, “Bone Health and Coronary Heart Disease in Postmenopausal Women with Breast Cancer Treated with Tamoxifen,” was completed at the Meyers Primary Care Institute under the direction of Terry Field, PhD. He used secondary data to examine the association of treatment with tamoxifen with subsequent fractures and coronary heart disease (CHD). He concluded there was a strong association between tamoxifen use and reduced risk for CHD, with more modest associations for reduced risk of fracture. His findings are important because current breast cancer treatment drugs of choice are shifting away from tamoxifen to aromatase inhibitors.
  • Dr. Tisminetzky’s work, “Modeling Co-Occurring Depression and Anxiety in Patients with an Acute Coronary Syndrome,” used a data set from a randomized controlled study with a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention 6 months posthospitalization for a coronary event . The intervention was conducted in the first 2 months. She found that depression and anxiety were prevalent and highly correlated and that CBT had a similar effect on improving both symptoms. Patients enrolled in CBT had earlier symptom remission and women benefitted more than men, however older patients tended to have increased and continuing depression and anxiety after depression and anxiety in ACS patients.