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Shepherd Center gets funding to study a patient-centered approach to community transition after injury

ATLANTA, Ga. (May 16, 2013) – The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has approved a research award to Shepherd Center to study “A patient-centered approach to successful community transition after catastrophic injury.” The study is part of a portfolio of patient-centered research that addresses PCORI’s national research priorities and will provide patients with information that will help them make better-informed decisions about their care.

Michael Jones, Ph.D., vice president of research and technology, will lead the research project at Shepherd Center. The project will evaluate the impact of several systems changes aimed at minimizing hospital readmissions and will focus on revising Shepherd Center’s discharge planning and post-discharge supports for patients and families. 

“Feedback from our patients and families suggests that they lack confidence in their ability to manage the patient’s care needs once they return home,” Dr. Jones noted. “With their input, we identified several changes in our educational approach and discharge supports intended to improve their confidence (or self-efficacy) in care management. This research will test the hypothesis that improved self-efficacy leads to greater competence and more effective decision-making about the patients’ care management. We believe this improved self-efficacy will translate into fewer complications after discharge and better overall health outcomes for our patients.”

PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, M.D., MPH, added: “This project reflects PCORI’s commitment to support patient-centered comparative effectiveness research, a new approach to health research that emphasizes the inclusion of patients and caregivers at all stages of the study process. The research will provide patients and those who care for them better information about the healthcare decisions they face.”

The Shepherd Center study is one of 51 projects totaling $88.6 million approved for funding by PCORI’s Board of Governors earlier this month. All were selected through a highly competitive review process in which scientists, patients, caregivers and other stakeholders helped to evaluate more than 400 applications for funding. Proposals were evaluated on the basis of scientific merit, how well they engage patients and other stakeholders, their methodological rigor and how well they fit within PCORI’s national research priorities.

The awards are part of PCORI’s second cycle of primary research funding. This new round of funding follows PCORI’s initial approval of $40.7 million in support for 25 projects under the institute’s national research priorities. All awards in this most recent round of funding were approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.

For more information about PCORI’s Funding Announcements, visit



The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed health care decisions. PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work. More information is available at

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neurological conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.