Wake Forest University School of Medicine has received $495,000 from the Doris Duke Foundation to provide mentored research funding and time protection to early career physician-scientists to help them advance clinically significant research.
Atalie Thompson, M.D., MPH, an assistant professor of ophthalmology and gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, was awarded the grant to look at the feasibility of low-cost screening to help detect visual impairment in older adults who have fallen or who are at risk of falling, based on an automated risk tool for frailty. The study will seek to optimize the target population and instrument for visual impairment. Interviews from study participants will inform the development of an electronic health record triggered vision care and fall prevention pathway for older adults.
“We are grateful for this foundational support from the Doris Duke Foundation that enables us to better serve our patients who have fallen and identify those who may have undetected underlying vision problems,” said Craig Greven, M.D., the Richard G. Weaver professor and chair of ophthalmology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
“Vision screening is often underutilized in fall prevention and this important work by Dr. Thompson can be implemented and scaled throughout the Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist system as well as other health systems in our nation,” said Jeff Williamson, M.D., professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and director of the medical school’s Sticht Center for Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention. “This truly has the potential to change the way these patients are managed and cared for.”
“This year’s awardees are addressing critical issues that are impacting the health of patients across the United States and beyond,” said Sindy Escobar Alvarez, director for medical research at the Doris Duke Foundation. “We are proud to support their important contributions, and we cannot wait to see what this group of physician scientists will accomplish.”