22 Mapping the Landscape grants awarded for research-based change in healthcare

Colin West, PhD, team leader of several Mapping the Landscape grants

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation Research Institute puts forth a call for proposals for its Mapping the Landscape, Journeying Together (MTL) initiative annually in June.  This year, over 80 teams submitted their ideas for projects on humanism in healthcare.

Fifteen of these teams, made up of over 80 individuals from 40 institutions, were selected to receive $5,000 Literature Review Grants. Over the next two years, these teams will rigorously examine the evidence on topics such as implicit bias in medicine, informed consent, humanistic leadership training, and physician suicide. Each year, this cohort (2017-2019) will attend a symposium at which they will present their work and participate in workshops aimed at improving their skills in research, advocacy, and dissemination.

An outstanding 69% of the inaugural cohort (2013-2015) of MTL grantees have published their findings in peer-reviewed journals, and several teams from the second cohort (2014-2016) have had their publications accepted, as well.  But the Research Institute aims to take these literature reviews beyond academia. Once a team has completed their work, they are invited to apply for $15,000 in additional funding through an Advocacy or Discovery Grant.

If a team wants to use their research findings to support the spread of humanism in healthcare, they can apply for an Advocacy Grant. If a literature review has demonstrated a gap in existing knowledge, the team can apply for a Discovery Grant to take the next step in their research.

This year, the Research Institute awarded three Advocacy Grants and four Discovery Grants. The recipients will be undertaking work such as identifying ways for doctors to respond to discrimination, offering a course in empathy and affect recognition for pre-health-professions trainees, and evaluating the impact of a health advocacy curriculum.

“It is deeply gratifying to see teams’ projects evolve from literature reviews to targeted studies and advocacy work,” said Dr. Elizabeth Gaufberg, the Jean and Harvey Picker Director of the Gold Foundation Research Institute. “The phased approach of Mapping the Landscape allows for new paths in research and advocacy to emerge naturally. Teams end up taking their work in directions they might not have been able to anticipate when they started, and all of their work is grounded in evidence.”

One of the teams selected for the initial Mapping the Landscape cohort in 2013 was led by Colin West, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic. His team’s literature review, “Interventions to prevent and reduce physician burnout: A systematic review and meta-analysis,” was published in the Lancet in 2016. The team subsequently received a Discovery Grant for study to find out what physicians think are the best ways to keep their work lives and private lives from interfering with each other. This year they were awarded an Advocacy Grant to develop and disseminate a charter on physician well-being (in partnership with CHARM, the Collaborative for Healing and Renewal in Medicine).

“Receiving a grant from the Gold Foundation, which has a long history of advancing humanism in medicine, helped strengthen and support our work. It energized us; we were able to align our goals with something greater than ourselves,” said West.

Over the past four years, the Mapping the Landscape, Journeying Together community has grown to include more than 350 researchers, clinicians, librarians, and health professions trainees.

“These professionals often come to the Mapping the Landscape community having previously worked on issues around humanism in isolation,” said Dr. Gaufberg. “Within this group, they find colleagues who are deeply committed to solving the same challenges they care about. They share ideas, give feedback, and often end up collaborating on new projects together. It is exciting to see the movement toward on-the-ground change that results in better healthcare.”

Brandy King, MLIS

Head of Information Services

Provides research services for staff, maintains resources on humanism and healthcare and works closely with Research Institute grantees.