MTPPI has been awarded a Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute

MTPPI Awarded a $250,000 Engagement Award by thePatient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute


Bethesda, MD(June 2nd,2015) – A team at the Medical Technology and Practice Patterns Institute (MTPPI)has been approved for a Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to support a series of conferences and workshops on “Causal Inference Methods for PCOR Using Observational Data”. 


Dr. Yi Zhang, Senior Research Associate, will lead the engagement project at MTPPI. The project will focus on the following objectives:


  • Stimulate in-depth discussion on principles for selecting appropriate methods for complex, real-world observational data to answer specific type of PCOR questions, especially when different analyses can further validate/consolidate results
  • Illustrate selected methods using developed algorithms and statistical programming code, presenting step-by-step case applications that are organized by types of PCOR questions and corresponding (causal inference) CI technique(s) given specific advantages and disadvantages of such approach
  • Provide an opportunity for junior researchers to benefit from interactions and mentoring from those with expertise, and equip them with the tools needed to produce high-quality research that addresses analytical concerns related to  confounding and bias; and
  • To exchange ideas and foster collaborations among participants from various disciplines and with different sets of CI expertise to more effectively answer typical PCOR questions and promote future use of advanced analytical methods.


"Improving the validity of CI methods based on observational data has important implications for the conduct of PCOR," said Dr. Mae Thamer, Director of Research at MTPPI.


"At present, the current controversies and confusion in the field of CI impede progress. To propagate the most recent advances and approaches in a fast moving field, to engage and educate clinician researchers in an efficient manner, and to maximize the return for CI research, we have determined that conducting a series of conferences is the best venue for such goals," Dr. Zhang added.  "We want to promote interactions and collaborations among researchers with different experiences."


The project is part of a portfolio of projects approved for PCORI funding to help develop a skilled community of patients and other stakeholders from across the entire healthcare enterprise and to involve them meaningfully in every aspect of PCORI’s work.


“This project was selected for Engagement Award funding not only for its commitment to engaging patients and other stakeholders, but also for its potential to increase the usefulness and trustworthiness of the information we produce andfacilitate its dissemination and uptake,” said Jean Slutsky, PCORI’sChief Engagement and Dissemination Officer. “We look forward to following the project’s progress and working with MTPPI to share the results.”


MTPPI’s project and the other projects approvedfor funding by the PCORI Engagement Award Program were selected through a highly competitive review process in which applications were assessed for their ability to meet PCORI’s engagement goals and objectives, as well as program criteria. PCORI has awarded over $5.0millionto support 25projects to date through this program.For more information about PCORI’sfunding to support engagement efforts, visit


PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund comparative effectiveness research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence needed to make better-informed health and healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.


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