Supplemental Grants to Fund Opioid and Artificial Intelligence Research

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) recently awarded funding to two administrative supplements submitted by Mayo Clinic researchers. The supplements fund specific areas of clinical and translational research focused on meeting unmet patient needs and training current and future generations of clinical investigators. These are supplements to the National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Awards program grant (UL 1TR002377) that supports Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCaTS).

Using data science to understand the opioid crisis

Overuse of chronic opioid therapy puts patients, families and communities at risk of increased rates of overdose and substance use disorders. Use of prescribed opioids in the U.S. is double the proportion per capita in Canada and Germany, the countries with the next highest rates of use. To bring U.S. use of opioids in line with that of the rest of the world, it's critical to find ways to reduce the number of people starting long-term opioid treatment. The research team led by Hongfang Liu, Ph.D., and Jennifer St. Sauver, Ph.D., both of the Department of Health Sciences Research, uses data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP) in combination with natural language processing methods to detect pain management patterns in medical records.

The team hopes to gain in-depth understanding of pain management and the use of opioids in primary care settings, and to explore the feasibility of creating shared decision-making pain management tools for use by primary care clinicians.

Developing artificial intelligence training for investigators

The use of artificial intelligence is expanding rapidly in health care and biomedical research. However, these methods are so new that many biostatisticians and epidemiologists are struggling to find reliable educational resources to help them "get up to speed" and find practical ways to implement these methods into their work.

Rickey E. Carter, Ph.D., Eric C. Polley, Ph.D., and their health sciences research team are working on education solutions to fill the gap. They are developing online and in-person training modules and a set of best-practice procedures and supply lists. The goal is to enable and foster the rapid expansion of artificial intelligence approaches into clinical and translational research.