Health Equity Research Lab investigators Nicholas Carson, M.D., FRCPC and Ana Progovac, Ph.D. each received an enrichment award from the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program.

Nicholas Carson, MD, FRCPC is an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a Clinical Research Associate at the Health Equity Research Lab and Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research (Director: Benjamin Cook). He is also the Medical Director for Child and Adolescent Outpatient Psychiatry Services at CHA. Dr. Carson’s project, “Suicide Prevention among Hospitalized Adolescents Using Machine Learning” will study how electronic health record (EHR) data can be used to predict suicidal behavior among adolescents receiving psychiatric inpatient treatment. Until recently, such data have been difficult to analyze. This research gap can be addressed through innovations in natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning. We will refine an algorithm that identifies inpatient adolescents at high risk for suicidality using machine learning predictions trained on adolescent survey data, NLP-derived phrases from clinical notes, and structured EHR data. This project can help improve discharge planning for vulnerable adolescents by identifying risk factors that may go undetected during routine inpatient care.

Ana Progovac, Ph.D., is an NIMH post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, and a Research Fellow at the HERLab/CMMHR in CHA’s Department of Psychiatry. The awarded funds for Dr. Progovac’s project, “Funding Preliminary Data Analysis to Support Gender Minority Disparities Grant Submissions using Medicare Claims and Electronic Health Record,” will support preliminary data analysis of 2009-2014 CMS Medicare Claims data for gender minority (i.e. transgender and gender non-conforming) Medicare patients in all 50 states. Little is known about gender minority patients’ health and healthcare needs, in part because of the historical lack of data for this population. This work is made possible by a recently published Medicare algorithm to use claims data to identify gender minority patients who are medically transitioning. The enrichment award supports preliminary analysis of the data, including providing initial descriptions of sociodemographic characteristics and chronic disease comorbidities for gender minority patients, in order to enhance ongoing grant submissions and manuscripts that focus on identifying gender minority healthcare disparities. The award is a first step in bringing together a strong research team with a long-term dedication to advancing the state of research on healthcare disparities among gender minorities.

​Two HERLab Researchers Receive Enrichment Awards from Harvard Catalyst

From left to right: Dr. Nicholas Carson, Dr. Ana Progovac, Sherry Hou and Tali Fleitman, 

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