AOA Chief Public Health Officer selected for PCORI panel

Michael R. Dueñas, O.D., AOA's chief public health officer, was selected for a national role in improving health care delivery and outcomes with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

The PCORI Board of Governors approved Dr. Dueñas on Feb. 25 for a three-year term on the Advisory Panel on Improving Healthcare Systems (IHS). This marks the first time an optometrist has been appointed to the panel that guides national priorities for research and improving health care delivery.

"This is a well-deserved recognition for one of our own, Dr. Dueñas, for our AOA and for our entire profession," says Mitchell T. Munson, O.D., AOA president. "Dr. Dueñas will be at the table as an equal partner with a wide range of other health care stakeholders as this new panel, established in accordance with a requirement in federal law, takes on its national role in improving health care delivery and outcomes."

“Dr. Dueñas will be at the table as an equal partner with a wide range of other health care stakeholders.”

Authorized by the U.S. Congress, PCORI's advisory panels prioritize clinical research that helps develop the best evidence-based information for patients and caregivers to reference and make informed decisions that lead to an overall improvement in health care outcomes.

The IHS advisory panel was one of four established on April 1, 2013, to provide recommendations to PCORI's Board of Governors to help plan, develop, implement and refine the institute's research agenda.

"I believed in the importance of PCORI as I watched its conception in the U.S. Congress. I knew then, as I know now, that a patient-centered comparative research agenda, with a vision and eye health overlay, would be critical to informing our developing health systems. I am pleased to provide this overlay," Dr. Dueñas says.

Nearly 300 systemic diseases have ties to vision and eye health, but without the evidence base, those ties are not as tight as they may need to be to protect and preserve the public health, Dr. Dueñas says.

Dr. Dueñas was selected above 331 other applicants to fill an open seat on one of two panels, and will be recognized as a "clinician" with AOA being his "primary affiliation." He brings more than 30 years of experience to the panel in private clinical and hospital-based optometry practice, in addition to his service with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Commission on Vision and Health (NCVH).

Dr. Dueñas' research includes public health and epidemiology, linkages between chronic disease and visual impairment, environmental health, risk assessment, disease prevention and measuring access to care to improve quality of life at all life stages.

While PCORI's advisory panels are not policy-making entities, their guidance helps the institute refine its research portfolio and other activities to improve health care delivery and outcomes nationwide.

March 4, 2014

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