The research of Sean C. Dowdy, M.D., focuses on improving the quality of surgery delivered to women with gynecologic cancers by reducing complications, accelerating recovery and improving patient satisfaction. Dr. Dowdy studies the genetic changes in ovarian cancer that predict improved response to treatment and identifies new treatment options for both ovarian and endometrial cancer.
- Quality improvement. Dr. Dowdy is the clinical director for the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program for the Department of Surgery at Mayo Clinic. He has led a number of successful interventions to accelerate postoperative recovery, reduce length of hospital stay, improve pain control and reduce complications such as surgical site infections for women undergoing surgery for gynecologic cancers.
- Molecular predictors or response. Using next-generation sequencing technologies, Dr. Dowdy and his team identified subtypes of ovarian cancer more likely to respond to specific therapies. This work continues with the goal of identification of patients whose cancers are most likely to recur in order to reduce side effects from ineffective treatments.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Dowdy has worked to disseminate his surgical quality improvements beyond Rochester to the Mayo Clinic Health System and to national and international audiences. In this way, improvements in postoperative recovery and healing will be available to patients everywhere. Often, there are prolonged delays between discovering an improved treatment or practice and applying the discovery in the clinical setting. Dr. Dowdy's research in quality improvement aims to bring these innovations to patients as soon as possible.
In some cases, treatments prescribed for cancer are ineffective. Thus, patients incur costs and experience unnecessary side effects, with little to no benefit. Using molecular predictors of response, Dr. Dowdy hopes to improve outcomes while reducing toxicity.
- Associate Dean of Practice Transformation, Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, Mayo Clinic, 2021-present
- Chair, Division of Gynecologic Surgery, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Mayo Clinic, 2014-present
- Member, Nominating Committee, International Gynecologic Cancer Society, 2014-present
- Vice-chair, Quality and Outcomes Committee, Society of Gynecologic Oncology, 2014-present
- Editorial board, Gynecologic Oncology journal, 2013-present
- Executive committee, Ovarian Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE), Department of Oncology, Mayo Clinic, 2012-present
- Co-leader, Women's Cancer Program, Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, 2011-present