The Knowledge and Evaluation Research (KER) Unit was founded in 2004 to advance evidence-based patient-centered care for people living with chronic conditions through research.

KER Unit investigators come together on the basis of three principles: patient-centeredness, integrity and generosity.

  • Patient-centeredness. We do not focus on a disease such as cancer or diabetes, as patients often have several conditions. We ask questions and measure outcomes that patients value. We have worked since November 2004 with our Patient Advisory Group to ensure we adhere to this principle.
  • Integrity. In addition to scientific and humanistic integrity, we have not taken and will not take funding from for-profit health care corporations, which avoids the confusion of having an alternative explanation (beyond science) for our findings and recommendations.
  • Generosity. We collaborate broadly, welcome visitors, and share our work freely and widely, aiming for open and universal access to our research and tools.

Patient advisory group

Photo of patient advisory group discussion

The KER Unit has maintained a patient advisory group of approximately 10 community members with diabetes in Rochester, Minnesota, and the surrounding area.

Since its creation in 2004, this advisory group has met with Mayo Clinic researchers on a monthly basis to provide feedback on research proposals, participant recruitment materials, surveys, and all areas of proposed and existing research. Patient advisory group members look at our research through a patient's perspective, which assists us in detecting potential barriers and contributes to effective and meaningful research.

An important aspect of the impact of this group is its longstanding nature, allowing a constructive working relationship to develop between advisory group members and Mayo researchers. Group members contribute their personal, practical experiences in living with diabetes, which helps researchers remain connected to the real world of patients who will be impacted.