News
June 22, 2023

Regenstrief researcher 1 of 10 to receive esteemed Kornfeld Scholars Program Award

Regenstrief Research Scientist Kristin Levoy, PhD, MSN, R.N., has been chosen as one of 10 recipients of the National Palliative Care Research Center’s (NPCRC) prestigious Kornfeld Scholars Program Award. The grant provides funding to promising junior researchers, providing protected time as Dr. Levoy develops and conducts the pilot research necessary to be competitive for larger, extramurally funded awards.

The Kornfeld Scholars Program Award will support Dr. Levoy’s long-term goal to develop effective supportive oncology interventions to improve the lives of patients and caregivers while facing advanced, incurable cancer. Established in 2005, NPCRC was created to expand the palliative care evidence base needed for both health policy and clinical practice by supporting junior research scientists, stimulating research and innovation, and creating a community of researchers focused on the needs of persons with serious illness and their families.

Current communication in the outpatient oncology setting is not calibrated to address the supportive care needs of patients with advanced, incurable cancer and their caregivers. When supportive care needs are unaddressed, patients and caregivers experience decreased quality of care, lack a shared understanding of the treatment goals with their oncology providers, and the potential for increased distress and anxiety.

Dr. Levoy’s research focuses on optimizing the delivery of the care planning processes that help patients and caregivers prepare for the end-of-life across serious illness trajectories, such as cancer. Her research has specifically focused on understanding ways to enhance two care planning processes—advance care planning and serious illness communication—as a means of improving supportive oncology care delivery (i.e., primary palliative care) as well as improving the psychosocial well-being of patients and caregivers as they face advanced, incurable cancer.

The award will support Dr. Levoy in pilot testing her PRECurSOr (PRior Elicitation of Communication Intentions before Sequential Oncology Encounters) intervention, which entails a theory-informed approach that is designed to elicit supportive oncology communication intentions prior to outpatient encounters among the patient-caregiver-provider triad in an effort to reshape communication during the encounters and outcomes following the encounters over a three-month period of time . Specific aims are to:

  • Evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of PRECurSOr in a nonrandomized pilot.
  • Describe group differences in communication behaviors during and outcomes following outpatient oncology encounters over time.
  • Identify intervention approaches that contributed to positive and/or negative outcomes to inform intervention refinement using qualitative interviews.

The goal of the National Palliative Care Research Center is to improve care for patients with serious illness and their caregivers by promoting palliative care research and rapidly translating these research findings into clinical practice.

The Kornfeld Scholar Program Award provides two years of support for salary and/or research activities to junior faculty in the amount of $180,000 in total.

About Kristin Levoy, PhD, MSN, R.N.  

In addition to her role as a research scientist in the IU Center for Aging Research at Regenstrief Institute, Dr. Levoy is an assistant professor at IU School of Nursing and an associate member of the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center.

About Regenstrief Institute

Founded in 1969 in Indianapolis, the Regenstrief Institute is a local, national and global leader dedicated to a world where better information empowers people to end disease and realize true health. A key research partner to Indiana University, Regenstrief and its research scientists are responsible for a growing number of major healthcare innovations and studies. Examples range from the development of global health information technology standards that enable the use and interoperability of electronic health records to improving patient-physician communications, to creating models of care that inform practice and improve the lives of patients around the globe.

Sam Regenstrief, a nationally successful entrepreneur from Connersville, Indiana, founded the institute with the goal of making healthcare more efficient and accessible for everyone. His vision continues to guide the institute’s research mission.

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