On September 1, Stanford Medicine and Intermountain Healthcare awarded more than $500,000 in one-year seed grants to fund collaborative research focused on advancing health care transformation. The two organizations aligned themselves earlier this year, formally announcing a collaboration in which they will spend $3.75 million to enable joint clinical, research and education projects that are expected to benefit both institutions, and possibly the U.S. health care system at large.
“The project grants program promotes a robust affiliation between Intermountain Healthcare and Stanford University by providing pilot grant funding for innovative joint investigative initiatives,” said David Larson, MD, Stanford’s co-principal investigator for the collaborative grants program. “By partnering the researchers at Stanford with the clinicians and clinical systems at Intermountain Healthcare, we believe great things will happen.”
Bringing together these two very different organizations with complementary strengths was a strategic, deliberate move by leadership on both sides, said Raj Srivastava, MD, MPH, assistant vice president of research at
Intermountain Healthcare. The partnership, he said, will advance the type of research needed to improve health care in the U.S.
“Our hope is that we can conduct transformative research that is going to really help our patients achieve better outcomes at a rate that’s faster than what we’ve been able to do so far,” said Srivastava, who shares the role of co-principal investigator for the collaborative grants program with Larson. “By focusing on projects that are in real-world settings, projects that clinicians know need to be solved, and taking Stanford’s world-renowned reputation for academic medicine and marrying it to Intermountain Healthcare’s learning health system, we are really hopeful that this propels that journey.”
2016-17 Grant Awards
A panel of representatives, three from Stanford and three from Intermountain Healthcare, selected seven joint projects for one-year seed grants from 18 submitted proposals. Each of the funded projects pairs a principal investigator (PI) from Stanford with a PI from Intermountain, who jointly submitted a project proposal in their shared discipline of interest. Awards were granted for the period from Oct. 1, 2016 through Sept. 30, 2017.
The 2016-17 grant recipients are:
Whole-genome DNA sequencing of stage-3 colorectal cancer: an Intermountain Health-Stanford collabortion to identify predictors of survival. PIs: James Ford, MD, professor of oncology and of genetics at Stanford; Lincoln Nadauld, MD, PhD, Intermountain genomics and health precision.
Baseline assessment of hand hygiene practices and ICU microbiology. PIs: Arnold Milstein, MD, MPH, professor of medicine; Bill Beninati, MD, Intermountain critical care medicine.
Developing a precision-based approach for the diagnosis and prognosis of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction in the community. PIs: Francois Haddad, MD, clinical associate professor of cardiovascular medicine; Kirk Knowlton, MD, Intermountain cardiovascular medicine.
Translational approaches to the mechanisms of septic cardiomyopathy. PIs: Euan Ashley, FRCP, DPhil, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine; Samuel Brown, MD, Intermountain critical care medicine.
Implementation and evaluation of GRAD (graduating from pediatric to adult care). PIs: Korey Hood, PhD, clinical professor of pediatrics; Aimee Hersh, MD, Intermountain pediatrics.
Impact of donor-derived BK virus infection and immune recovery in kidney transplant recipients. PIs: Benjamin Pinsky, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and of infectious diseases; Diane Alonso, MD, Intermountain transplant services.
Development and implementation of a digital health-care program for patients with atrial fibrillation. PIs: Mintu Turakhia, MD, assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine; Jared Bunch, MD, Intermountain heart-rhythm services.
For James Ford, MD, the project grants were an opportunity to explore the giant repository of medical information housed within Intermountain Healthcare’s vast databank, a veritable Fort Knox of medical record information. Intermountain has stored decades of pathologic information on tumor blocks from all varieties of cancer, and linked this information to each patient’s electronic health record. “To have such a large tumor sample, with clinical information linked to each sample, is a really remarkable resource that is rare anywhere in the country,” said Ford.
Ford and former Stanford oncology fellow Lincoln Nadauld, MD, PhD, who is now with Intermountain Healthcare, propose to do large-scale DNA sequencing of stage III colon cancer tumor samples, with the hope of identifying a better biomarker or indicator of who is at higher or lower risk for a recurrence. “That information could help us shape their treatment and their management,” said Ford. “This project is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of collaborative work using Intermountain’s resources, with our personalized medicine and informatics approach to try to make sense out of that data to improve care.”
According to Larson, it’s a perfect partnership. “Intermountain has a lot of great clinicians who have cultivated a vast amount of rich data that is waiting to be further unleashed, and we have a strong research program with a lot of bright people who are happy to help unleash it.”
The grant award application process will open again in the spring of 2017. For more information on project grants, please email Intermountain Stanford Collab.