College of Medicine to participate in new diabetes research initiative

February 15, 2016

Penn State College of Medicine’s Jennifer Kraschnewski, assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences, has received $2.2 million in funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to participate in a new diabetes research network and study the effectiveness of obesity counseling.

Penn State College of Medicine will join the new Natural Experiments Network, launched by PCORI, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

The Natural Experiments Network will assess what occurs when groups of people experience different conditions or circumstances as a result of changes in policy or practice as related to diabetes risks, complications and disparities.

For example, a recent policy change through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services may improve obesity counseling access, but Kraschnewski’s research will help to evaluate whether these changes improve health in people at risk or with type 2 diabetes.

Kraschnewski and her team will use the infrastructure of the PCORI-funded PaTH Clinical Data Research Network, a research network consisting of five Mid-Atlantic academic health systems: Penn State Hershey Medical Center, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Temple Health System, Geisinger Health System and Johns Hopkins Health System, as well as the University of Utah.

“The obesity epidemic has become America’s number one health concern,” Kraschnewski said. “As the second most preventable cause of death, obesity is a risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer. Our research is an important step in understanding the effect of obesity counseling coverage and its impact on the obesity epidemic.”

From 2012 to 2014, Kraschnewski’s early research on obesity counseling was funded through the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s KL Program, which is a highly selective training program for junior faculty members committed to a career in clinical and translational sciences and the Community Engagement Research Core.

PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information they need to make better-informed healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work. More information is available at

Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) provides resources and services to accelerate research discoveries and disseminate to the community at large, new methods to promote health and predict, prevent and effectively treat human disease. The CTSI is a Clinical and Translational Science Award, UL1 TR00127, from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 16, 2016