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Cognitive Studies in Medicine and Public Health

The Center for Cognitive Studies in Medicine and Public Health

The Center for Cognitive Studies in Medicine and Public Health is a multidisciplinary research unit devoted to the study of individual and team cognition in complex clinical environments, clinical workflow and errors, human computer interaction, and medical decision making. We are also actively involved in studies of cognitive foundations of health-related behaviors such as smoking and alcohol use and the mechanisms to affect behavior change in at-risk populations. We draw on theories from cognitive and social sciences, complexity science, and linguistics and computer science to further our understanding in our areas of research. Our research is guided by the overarching goals of developing new approaches and best practices for safe, cost-effective, and efficient clinical environments and towards creating a nurturing environment for affecting positive behavior change in at-risk populations. Toward this end, we focus on the cognitive characteristics involved in changing behavior, learning, and in the design of decision-support and other health information technologies for safe use in clinical environments.

The center has active collaborations with Emory University, Columbia University, Arizona State University, the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Local collaborations involve Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and NY Psychiatric institution.

The James S. McDonnell Foundation currently supports our major research projects.

This year's JSMF Symposium will be held in Sedona, AZ on September 15th-17th, 2013. Learn more »

Research Themes

  • Complexity and error in health care environments (particular focus on critical care)
  • Error recovery in clinical practice
  • Handoffs and coordination of care
  • Information seeking and use in clinical decision making
  • Design of usable, safe, and adaptive health information systems
  • Collaborative decision-making and learning at the bedside
  • Analysis of health-related behaviors of at-risk populations (smoking, alcohol and other substance abuse using social network analysis)

Ongoing Research

JSMF 220020152 (Vimla L. Patel, PI) 01/01/08-01/01/14
James S. McDonnell Foundation
This is an interdisciplinary multi-site collaborative research project dedicated to the modeling of complexity errors in health care.

  • Collaborative decision-making and learning from errors at the bedside
  • Handoff communication and coordination of care
  • Information seeking and use in clinical decision making
  • Design of usable, safe, and adaptive health information systems to mitigate errors

R01 LM009239-01 (David Foran, PI; Vimla L. Patel, Co-I) 09/30/07-09/29/12
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
Image Mining for Comparative Analysis of Expression Patterns in Tissue Microarray.
The central objective of the research is to evaluate a content-based image retrieval system for performing quick, reliable comparative analysis of expression patterns in cancer tissue microarrays.

New Research

Social Networks and the Dissemination of Unhealthy Ideas
We will investigate the relationship between communication related to harmful health behaviors in urban communities and the propagation of these behaviors within a social network, by examining the flow of information related to smoking and smoking cessation that aims to support communities of patients seeking to quit smoking.

Cognitive Aspects of Mental Disorder Diagnosis and Treatment in Primary Care
This study will focus on doctor and patient communication in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and anxiety disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), highly prevalent illnesses often misdiagnosed and inadequately treated by primary care practitioners (PCPs). Use is made of avatars to act as a standardized patient.

View all NYAM Publications »

NYAM's 20th Annual Gala: Healthy Cities, Healthy World

NYAM's 20th Annual Gala video shows how we build on our legacy and its lessons to tackle some of today's most challenging health problems.

Learn more»

2013 Annual Report

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