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Network Investigator Showcase: February 2011

Thomas D. Sequist, MD, MPH - Associate professor of medicine and of health care policy at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Director of Research at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, General internal medicine physician

Thomas D. Sequist, MD, MPH, is an associate professor of medicine and of health care policy at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He currently practices general internal medicine and is the Director of Research at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, the largest multispecialty physician group practice in Massachusetts.

Dr. Sequist’s research agenda focuses on three areas: ambulatory quality improvement, racial disparities, and Native American health care. He works closely with the leadership of Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, a large multispecialty group practice in eastern Massachusetts, on a wide spectrum of quality improvement projects involving health information technology, disease registries, organizational change, and patient and provider education.  This work has focused on improving patient safety, preventive care, and chronic disease care. His research in quality improvement has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund, and the Harvard Risk Management Foundation.

Dr. Sequist is also actively involved in understanding how quality improvement strategies can be tailored to eliminate racial disparities in diabetes care. Dr. Sequist recently led a randomized trial of cultural competency training and provider performance feedback to reduce disparities, and continues to explore alternative primary care-based methods of addressing inappropriate differences in health outcomes. He is also a leader in studying Native American health care, working through funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to analyze quality of care within the Indian Health Service.

Beyond research, Dr. Sequist is committed to improving the health of Native Americans through mentorship and volunteerism.  He has served for over 10 years as a director of the Four Directions Summer Research Program at Harvard Medical School. This program offers American Indian undergraduate students a summer research experience, career advice, and long-term mentoring.  He is also the Medical Director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Physician Volunteer Program, which sends physician volunteers to the Indian Health Service on the Navajo Reservation in rural New Mexico, providing clinical care and teaching as part of a program to improve the health status of this underserved population.

Project Title: “Understanding Barriers to Quality Improvement within the Indian Health Service”

Project Databases: Survey of all 873 federally employed physicians in the HIS and HIS national electronic medical record system.

Recent and Pending Publications

Sequist TD, Cullen T, Bernard K, Shaykevich S, Orav J and Ayarian JZ. “Trends in Quality of Care and Barriers to Improvement in the Indian Health Service.” J Gen Intern Med, Epub 2010 Dec.

Support for this program was provided by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ® Princeton, New Jersey