Of the 84 people serving on advisory panels for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, two are from Augusta: Jake Galdo is the clinical pharmacy educator at Barney’s Pharmacy and the only community pharmacist on the advisory panels, and Julie Moretz is a family advocate whose home is in Augusta but who started a new job this week as associate vice chancellor for patient- and family-centered care at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Galdo, also a clinical instructor for the University of Georgia’s College of Pharmacy campus in Augusta, said the South has a higher burden of many common diseases and should have a voice in what research is done to benefit those patients.
“By having Augusta, with our large medical community, being able to represent the South and talk about what’s going on and what we see day-to-day, it is a great opportunity,” Galdo said.
Moretz’s son Daniel was a heart transplant recipient and well-known patient advocate before dying in 2005 at age 14. Her experiences with his care, and how the family helped shape policies, will continue with the new organization.
Created as part of the Affordable Care Act, the institute is charged with funding research that will help patients and caregivers make better health care decisions.
“I think there is a golden opportunity and it is completely changing the way research is done,” Moretz said. “What is important to patients and families? Are we asking the right questions?”
The organization is opening up new and different kinds of funding opportunities for research, she said.
“One of the things that moved me is they are looking at offering smaller grants to help facilitate collaborations among patients and researchers,” Moretz said.
It is also allowing those outside Washington to have a say in what gets funded, she said.
“Patients and families will be involved in reviewing research proposals for funding, and they’ll be involved in identifying and selecting appropriate research questions
in ways that patients and families can understand,” Moretz said.