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  • From $15K to $15M

  • Jeffrey G. Jarvik, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of radiology and neurological surgery and adjunct professor of health services at the University of Washington, received his first research grant, a $15,000 R&E Foundation Seed Grant, in 1994. His study compared the outcomes and cost effectiveness of patients with low back pain who received either a rapid screening MR or plain films of the lumbar spine. Dr. Jarvik continues comparative effectiveness research on low back pain today, but on a much larger scale.

    In 2010, Dr. Jarvik received a 3-year, $10 million R01 grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to establish the Back Pain Outcomes using Longitudinal Data (BOLD) project, evaluating prospectively the effectiveness, safety and costeffectiveness of early, advanced imaging and interventions for elderly patients with back pain. The project included an observational cohort of over 5,000 seniors with back pain as well as a randomized controlled trial comparing epidural steroid injections plus lidocaine to lidocaine alone for patients with spinal stenosis. The results of this study will be published later this year.

    With a new $6 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) UH2 grant, Dr. Jarvik will oversee a multi-institution, pragmatic, randomized controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of a simple, inexpensive and easy to deploy intervention— inserting epidemiological benchmarks into lumbar spine imaging reports—at reducing subsequent tests and treatments. “Even without back pain, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of the lumbar spine frequently reveals findings such as disc desiccation or bulging which may initiate a cascade of events leading possibly even to surgery, without improving patient outcomes,” states Dr. Jarvik. “If our study is positive, adding epidemiologic benchmarks to diagnostic test reporting could become the dominant paradigm for communicating all diagnostic information."

    The RSNA R&E Foundation is pleased to have been an early catalyst of Dr. Jarvik’s nearly two decades of research aimed to improve patient care.
     
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