In my lab we study medical writing and the human factors that influence medical diagnosis, treatment, and patient care. I am a practicing paramedic who volunteers with a rural ambulance squad and at a free urban clinic. My current research is focused on three areas: 1) Improving healthcare for uninsured and underinsured at-risk patients; 2) Alternative systems for healthcare delivery; and 3) Clinical reports in pre-hospital care. An ongoing topic of interest that links my research, teaching, and clinical practice is the concept of "allostasis" and "allostatic load." The terms have been used to describe a continued activation of the body’s neural, neuroendocrine, and immune systems as an adaptive response to prolonged stress. Unlike homeostasis, which describes an ongoing physiological balance, the term allostasis describe conditions in which adaptive systems can become perpetually activated. For example, an allostatic state could perpetuate chronic hypertension, hyperglycemia, tachycardia, or elevated stress hormones. Allostasis may also describe conditions in which patients experience otherwise pathological states as normal or in which an anticipatory state predominates. The concept has also been used in education to help us understand different styles of student engagement and performance and in organizational theory. We are interested in the potential application of allostasis to healthcare delivery, medical communication, and patient decision making.
I maintain a small undergraduate research team. We are currently working with a free urban medical clinic to create an electronic database of epidemiological and medical outcomes data from their paper charts. The team has implemented a free atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk screen for patients and a "food is medicine" program for patients with hypertension or diabetes.
A great project we started is a "Medical Mystery" series in the WPI student newspaper. Archived medical mysteries can be found on WPI's pre-health page at https://www.facebook.com/musigmadelta/