In today's plenary, we announced the winners of the 2012 AcademyHealth Awards, each of which recognize researchers who have made significant contributions to the fields of health services research and health policy. Dr. Elizabeth McGlynn, Ph.D., director of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Effectiveness and Safety Research, is the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Investigator Award. Dr. McGlynn, whose work is aimed at better understanding and evaluating health care quality, earned the honor in recognition of her meaningful and lasting contributions to health services through scholarship and teaching, the advancement of science methods, and leadership. She recognized the influence all the economists, statisticians, clinicians, and fellow researchers have had on her career, noting that her work would not have been as compelling and complete had she not had those different perspectives. She emphasized the importance of collaboration in framing the questions, doing the research, and applying the results.

"If we focus on the right questions, do work collaboratively and efficiently, and find a way to translate what we do, we'll see a real sustained change in care."
Following Dr. McGlynn's award presentation, AcademyHealth recognized Dr. Hardeep Singh, M.D., M.P.H., the recipient of the 2012 Alice S. Hersh New Investigator Award, which distinguishes scholars early in their career who show exceptional promise for future contributions to the field of health services research. His academic and professional interests are to further understand and reduce medical errors in the outpatient setting. Dr. Singh spoke to the new investigators in the audience, sharing his personal stories of choosing a difficult topic to study and receiving several grant rejections. He said that young researchers need to learn from their failures, and maintaining that drive to answer health care's toughest questions is as important as any research skills.
"What helped me most was not just the technical skills, but the non-technical skills: keeping your passion alive, perseverance, and discipline."
Dr. Singh is currently the chief of the health policy and quality program at the Houston VA Health Services and Development Center of Excellence and an assistant professor of medicine and health services research at the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM). Through his work, Dr. Singh examines the role of tools, such as health information technology and electronic health records to recognize areas for improvement in both health quality and safety. AcademyHealth also recognized recipients of the Article-of-the-Year Award and Outstanding Dissertation Award, who presented their award-winning research in the Exhibit Hall Theater yesterday:

Article-of-the-Year Award Lauren Hersch Nicholas, Ph.D., M.P.P., University of Michigan “Regional Variation in the Association Between Advance Directives and End-of-Life Medicare Expenditures” Published in JAMA (Vol. 306, No. 13, October 5, 2011, pp. 1447-1453)

Outstanding Dissertation Award Helen M. Parsons, Ph.D., M.P.H., University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio “A Culture of Quality? Lymph Node Evaluation for Colon Cancer Care”

In addition, AcademyHealth honored Stephan Vance, from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, with the Best Student Poster Award. Congratulations to all the 2012 award winners for their commitment to enriching the field of health services research through their work.
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