Dr. Joseph Mills
Joseph L. Mills, Sr., M.D.

Joseph L. Mills, Sr., M.D., professor and chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery, has been approved for a $50,000 award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to support a project on “Improving Delivery of Diabetic Foot Care to Prevent Amputations: A Comparative Effectiveness Trial.” Dr. Mills’ proposal was among the approximately 16 percent of applicants selected for funding by PCORI in this competitive award cycle. Dr. Mills will use the funds provided through PCORI’s Pipeline to Proposal Awards program to build a partnership of individuals and groups who share a desire to advance patient-centered outcomes research focused on diabetic foot care.

This multidisciplinary research project includes as co-investigators: Barbara W. Trautner, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of surgery and medicine and director of clinical research for the Department of Surgery, Ramyar Gilani, M.D., assistant professor of surgery in the Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy, Gina L. Evans-Hudnall, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at Baylor and research health scientist for the Mental Health Care line at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC), Lindsey A. Martin, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at Baylor and research health scientist specialist at MEDVAMC, and Nader Zamani, M.D., general surgery resident in the Department of Surgery.

The PCORI grant will support the patient-centered engagement of Dr. Mills’ team with diabetic foot ulcer patients, their caregivers and community stakeholders, who will provide crucial input on how to best deliver multidisciplinary diabetic foot care in Harris Health System’s clinics, serving primarily low income and minority populations, to prevent nontraumatic lower extremity amputations. This project will consist of monthly focus group meetings on topics including living with a diabetic foot ulcer, healthcare delivery preferences, barriers to healthcare, and patient-centered priorities and outcomes. These focus group meetings will ultimately help Dr. Mills and his team define the aims, determine the right outcomes and select a patient-centric implementation plan for a large-scale community-engaged proposal to implement a coordinated referral system for diabetic foot ulcer patients in Harris Health System.

Pipeline to Proposal Awards enable individuals and groups that are not typically involved in clinical research to develop the means to develop community-led funding proposals focused on patient-centered comparative effectiveness research. Established by the non-profit PCORI, the program funds three tiers of awards that help individuals or groups build community partnerships, develop research capacity, and hone a comparative effectiveness research question that could become the basis of a research funding proposal to submit to PCORI or other health research funders.

“The Pipeline to Proposal Awards program is a manifestation of PCORI’s commitment to the meaningful involvement of patients, caregivers, clinicians, and other stakeholders in all our research endeavors,” said Jean Slutsky, PA, MSPH, PCORI's chief engagement and dissemination officer. “It provides support to those who may not otherwise have an opportunity to contribute to the field of comparative effectiveness research. We’re pleased to follow the awardees’ progress as they develop partnerships and begin to form research questions.”

PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund comparative effectiveness research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence needed to make better-informed health and healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.