WINONA – Representatives from a national research institute visited Tyler Holmes Memorial Hospital during a visit to the Mississippi Delta in an effort to see how the institute can help determine how to better serve the people of rural Mississippi.
Representatives from Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) from Washington, D.C., visited Tyler Holmes Thursday during a regional tour led by Freddie White Johnson, founder of the Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation in Ruleville. The delegation met with Tyler Holmes Memorial Hospital Administrator Eddie Rutherford, Board of Trustee member Steve Brown, THMH Director of Clinics Kim Timbs, Winona Mayor Jerry Flowers, State Senator Lydia Chassaniol, Supervisor Willie Townsend, Jr., and members of the Men and Black and Blue to Fight Prostate Cancer organization in Carroll and Montgomery counties.
The purpose of the trip was to determine other ways for PCORI to fund research to help patients in rural Mississippi make better informed decisions about healthcare. The institute has already funded research programs at University of Southern Mississippi and University of Mississippi Medical Center.
According to its website, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), an independent nonprofit, nongovernmental organization in Washington, D.C., was authorized by Congress in 2010 to close that gap. PCORI’s mandate is to improve the quality and relevance of evidence available to help patients, caregivers, clinicians, employers, insurers, and policy-makers make better-informed health decisions.
Johnson used the promotion of annual cancer screening with mammography tests and prostate tests as an example of what is needed in rural Mississippi, where not everyone has health insurance or the knowledge needed to practice preventative healthcare.
Johnson is also the program director for the Mississippi Network for Cancer Control and Prevention at the University of Southern Mississippi and was instrumental in helping Tyler Holmes acquire a state-of-the-art mammography machine. Johnson said she told State Senator Lydia Chassaniol (R-Winona) of the need for mammography testing in Montgomery County and the surrounding counties because not everyone can travel to Jackson and Memphis to get tested annually. Chassaniol sought help from the Appalachian Regional Authority, and they awarded Tyler Holmes with grant funds to help purchase the machine.
“We are so grateful for our hospital here at home,” said Chassaniol.
Alan Selby, CEO of PCORI, explained that his organization answers practical questions about patient behaviors to help decision-makers determine how to best serve patients.
“We want to find out how do communities work together and better the health of the community,” Selby said. “We look at ways to do things the most efficient and effective way.”
Selby said PCORI funds projects in three main areas – patient and community outreach, research, and dissemination or implementation.
Grayson Norquist, MD, chair of the PCORI Board of Trustees and a physician at Emery University Hospital in Atlanta explained that through implementation, the research is based on how to change human behavior and develop a model to change human behavior to embrace wellness.
“Dissemination/Implementation is a good place to start [at Tyler Holmes],” Norquist said of a possible future partnership between the hospital and PCORI.