Clinical Champion News: Dr. Henry Parkman

Henry Parkman, MD, of Temple University.

An important feature of the PaTH Network is Clinical Champions. These clinicians work directly with patients and act as representatives of their medical specialty within the PaTH-affiliated institutions, so they offer a unique and important perspective when considering studies for different PaTH sites.

When PaTH has an opportunity to collaborate with a new research proposal, Clinical Champions provide input on how well the proposed study processes align with normal workflow patterns in their local clinical settings, and whether its processes are likely to be satisfactory to care providers or patients. In addition, Clinical Champions help connect the researchers with collaborators who may be interested in the study topic. Since Clinical Champions are often leaders in their fields, they are also able to provide input as to whether a proposed study overlaps with any ongoing research at their site.

For instance, one Clinical Champion is Henry Parkman, MD, Professor of Medicine and Head of the Gastrointestinal Motility Laboratory at Temple University. As a clinician, Dr. Parkman works with patients suffering from motility, or movement, disorders of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon, such as irritable bowel syndrome.

As the Gastroenterology Clinical Champion for the Temple site, Dr. Parkman’s knowledge of the health system, the patient population, and the field of gastroenterology are invaluable for researchers from other PaTH sites who may propose a gastroenterology study in collaboration with Temple.

"I’m very excited about being a Clinical Champion for the PaTH Network and seeing how Clinical Champions can improve our understanding of patients," says Dr. Parkman.

Like many clinicians, Dr. Parkman also participates in research himself. Currently, he hopes to study why some people are frequently hospitalized for gastroparesis, a condition in which the stomach does not empty well, so patients always feel full, often can’t finish meals, and regularly experience nausea, vomiting, and dehydration. Dr. Parkman hopes to utilize PaTh’s wide range of data and diverse patient population to look into specific characteristics of those who are frequently hospitalized for gastroparesis and see, for instance, if these patients are largely diabetic, struggle to obtain medications, suffer side effects from their medications, and more. This information would help doctors better identify and treat those who are frequently hospitalized for gastroparesis. Dr. Parkman has begun working with Mark Weiner, MD, Temple’s informatics lead, and clinician researchers at other PaTH sites to move this project forward – aiming to not only learn more about gastroparesis, but to use that knowledge to inform the delivery of better patient care at the PaTH sites. Dr. Parkman will be working with other gastroenterologists at the other sites, including Ann Ouyang of Hershey Medical Center, Ellen Stein of Johns Hopkins, Jeffrey Lichtenstein of Geisinger, Laura Pace of Utah, and David Levinthal of Pittsburgh.

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