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New PCORI Award Announced for Consortium Members in Prevention of Chronic Back Pain

Congratulations to Consortium members University of Pittsburgh, Boston University, and Johns Hopkins for receiving a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) award for a five-year, $14 million, large pragmatic comparative effectiveness trial entitled, "Targeted Interventions to Prevent Chronic Low Back Pain in High Risk Patients: A Multi-site Pragmatic RCT" (The TARGET Study).

Anthony Delitto, PT, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh, and Rob Saper, MD, MPH, of Boston Medical Center are the Co-Principal Investigators.

Using a two-arm cluster randomized controlled trial, the question being asked is:

Can chronic low back pain be prevented when patients with acute low back pain are promptly referred to physical therapy augmented with cognitive behavioral principles?

The project will be based at the University of Pittsburgh with subawards to Boston Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, and The Medical University of South Carolina.

At each of the five regional study sites, 12 primary-care clinics will be randomly assigned to either (1) PCP standard of care informed by best practices or (2) PCP care plus prompt referral to evidence-based physical therapy with cognitive behavioral coaching. Across the five regions, they expect to recruit 2,640 patients with acute low back pain who are at high risk for transition to chronic pain. An additional observational cohort of 10,560 patients in lower risk groups will be followed to assess the study outcomes of transition to chronic pain, disability at 6 and 12 months, and medical resource use for treatment.

Carol Greco, PhD and Mike Schneider, DC are co-investigators with Dr. Delitto, and Paula Gardiner MD MPH and Katherine Gergen Barnett MD are co-investigators with Dr. Saper.

Of the 231 letters of intent submitted in response to the research funding announcement, 40 institutions were invited to submit full applications, 35 submitted complete proposals, and this was one of five approved for funding.

More information about PCORI’s pragmatic clinical trial program and the five awards can be found here:

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