Clinical Champion News: Dr. Anita P. Courcoulas

Anita P. Courcoulas M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S., is a PaTH Clinical Champion specializing in bariatric surgery.

As care providers who work directly with patients, Clinical Champions offer PaTH a unique and important perspective. For instance, they’re able to give researchers input on whether or not a proposed study would align with their clinic’s workflow and whether a study’s processes are likely to be satisfactory to care providers and patients. Clinical Champions also help connect researchers with other clinicians who may be interested in a given research topic.

Anita P. Courcoulas M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S., is a PaTH Clinical Champion specializing in bariatric surgery. Dr. Courcoulas is a professor of surgery and Chief of Minimally Invasive Bariatric and General Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, and she is Co-Director of the Pittsburgh Surgical Outcomes Research Center. As a bariatric surgeon Clinical Champion, Dr. Courcoulas plays an important role in studies associated with PaTH’s Healthy Lifestyles and Weight cohort.

"I really believe in the notion of sharing your expertise for the sake of knowledge and advancement in the field as that always leads to new insights, friendships, and collaborations."

Dr. Courcoulas says it’s important to engage surgeons and encourage their collaboration with PaTH researchers.

"Continuing to expose surgeons to [PaTH] and the type and volume of data it collects along with using examples of collaborative projects is the best way to engage across groups,” she says. “There is much interest on the part of surgeons to align with groups that have expertise in the area of big data."

Dr. Courcoulas first became involved with PaTH as an advisor for topics surrounding severe obesity and bariatric surgery during the network’s early phases. Over time, her role evolved to include applying her clinical research skills to the development of the grant proposal for the PCORnet Bariatric Study (PBS), which examines how and why patients and their providers choose different bariatric surgical procedures. She is now a co-investigator of the study and a member of the core research team.

"The PCORnet Bariatric Study that PaTH is participating in is poised to answer several important questions about the effectiveness of different bariatric surgical procedures and about long-term consequences," she says. "It is a very important aspect of bariatric surgical care yet has not been well-studied, so I am excited to be helping with this aim of the study."

Dr. Courcoulas herself is interested in big data and says she especially enjoys working with PaTH because it "will lead to important findings about bariatric surgery in the largest cohort ever studied" and has created "new collaborations and learning opportunities in the area of big data."

"It has been a tremendous experience for me to be involved with the PaTH group."

Anita’s Favorites
TV show: America’s Got Talent as I love to see both the good and bad acts that are out there!
Movie: Cinema Paradiso because I love the setting, the story, and the music.
Hobby: Hiking with friends.
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