Dr. Jialin Mao, assistant professor of population health sciences, has been awarded an NIH/NHLBI Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) for her project, “Leveraging linked registry and electronic health records to examine long-term patient outcomes after peripheral vascular intervention.”
Recent developments in the treatment of vascular disease have become less invasive, using devices like stenting and balloon angioplasty. While randomized clinical trials (RCTs) represent an important method for gathering evidence, there are limitations in follow-up and sample size due to costs and logistical difficulties. In addition, real-world performances of devices may differ from RCTs. The Society for Vascular Surgery has established a registry to collect data on the real-world use and outcomes of these devices, but the collection of long-term follow-up data is still difficult.
This is where Dr. Mao’s research adds value. She has previously led the methodological efforts to combine registry and insurance claims data and is now taking a step forward to explore the potential of electronic health records (EHRs) in this realm. “One of the goals of this research is to see how we can leverage registry and EHR data together to look at long-term outcomes after peripheral artery disease treatment,” she said. “Given that some endpoints are not available in structured EHR or registry data, the second goal is to see how we can leverage advanced informatics methods, like natural language processing, to utilize the notes in EHRs to complement structured data in a medical device epidemiologic study.”
This award supports training in new skills, something Dr. Mao is very familiar with. She initially went to medical school and partially completed her residency to become a surgeon, but she realized her true passion is research. “It wasn't a very straightforward transition, but I’m glad I did it because I know a lot about both worlds and would like to use my knowledge to push the field forward,” she said. She is hopeful that her background in medicine and epidemiology, along with the informatics training she will receive as part of the career development aspect of this award, will help her use multiple approaches to benefit this research area.
Throughout the past few years, Dr. Mao has collaborated with many vascular clinicians and clinician-researchers. These collaborators have exposed her to several interesting research topics where she could potentially apply her knowledge and expertise. This is where the second part of the award’s support comes in: career guidance and enhancement. Dr. Mao’s primary mentor at Weill Cornell Medicine has been Dr. Art Sedrakyan, professor of population health sciences in the Division of Comparative Effectiveness and Outcomes Research and director of the Institute for Health Technologies and Interventions and MDEpiNet.
“Dr. Sedrakyan has supported and guided my previous work, helped protect my time, introduced me to the MDEpiNet community, and assisted in finding resources,” she said. “He also connects me to experts in specific areas who are enthusiastic about working together.” Collaborators for this project include Dr. Samprit Banerjee, associate professor of population health sciences in the Division of Biostatistics; Dr. Stephen Johnson, director of clinical research informatics at NYU Langone Health; Dr. Philip Goodney, vascular surgeon and director of the Center for the Evaluation of Surgical Care at Dartmouth; and Dr. Michael Matheny, general internist and medical informatician at Vanderbilt University.
Aside from the benefits of having protected time and resources to put into this research, Dr. Mao is eager to work with these mentors. “They are all very accomplished people who know how to get through hurdles and challenges,” she said. “I will benefit a lot from their advice and from working with them to start gaining independence and experience leading a project.”
While she is working on this project, Dr. Mao also hopes to take on more mentoring opportunities herself and collaborate with junior researchers.
The Department of Population Health Sciences addresses the intersection of health and practice. Serving as a collaborative and interdisciplinary hub for clinical research, the Department aims to improve the health of populations and reduce inequities through applied research, technological innovations, and novel education programs.