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Investigator Spotlight: Lisa Strate, MD, MPH

Lisa Strate, MD, MPH, is a CERTAIN investigator working on the DEBUT study. She is a gastroenterologist at UW Medicine’s Harborview Medical Center who specializes in the care of patients with diverticular disease. As a diverticulitis researcher for over 10 years, Dr. Strate is excited to be involved in DEBUT because the study will help to answer practical questions for clinicians and patients, including how diverticulitis and available treatments impact quality of life. It also has the potential to reach out to a large network of patients and clinicians.

“DEBUT is going to have important outcomes that will prompt other interventional studies such as randomized trials for recurrent diverticulitis,” Dr. Strate says. “The results will also be essential for understanding the patient perspective in this disease.”

The DEBUT study is recruiting patients across the spectrum of care, including emergency rooms, gastroenterology clinics and surgical clinics. Dr. Strate emphasizes that this recruitment approach is key to understanding how diverticulitis affects quality of life for patients.

“Gastroenterologists tend to see patients with recurrent disease or chronic symptoms, while surgeons tend to see patients with complicated disease who are more inclined to have surgery. It’s good to have a broad perspective,” she says.

Surgical recommendations for diverticulitis are currently based on concrete factors such as the age of the patient and number of episodes. We know from evidence that those factors don’t necessarily predict benefit from surgery, Dr. Strate says. We also understand that patients can have multiple episodes of diverticulitis that are unlikely to be life-threatening. But how are those recurrent episodes impacting the patient? Are they unable to do the activities they enjoy? Are they anxious because they are worried about having another attack or they might miss work?

“The DEBUT study will collect data that will help us to understand reasons patients may choose or not choose to have surgery,” Dr. Strate says. “Not only will it give us more data on feasibility, or how many patients we’re able to recruit, and what things we may look at in terms of a future randomized trial; it will also help us to give the best treatment recommendations for diverticulitis patients in the future.”

Learn more about the DEBUT study.


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  • CERTAIN Medical Director Dr. David Flum on The Conversation with Ross Reynolds 4/11/12: listen here.