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New OHSU Research Director Appointed For Rural Oregon

Cynthia Morris, Ph.D., has been appointed research director of the Oregon Health & Science University Oregon Rural Practice Research-based Network, (ORPRN) announced Lyle Fagnan, M.D., network director. Morris has served as ORPRN's interim director of research since last May.

Morris has spent her academic life at OHSU and brings a wealth of research experience to ORPRN. Morris, an epidemiologist, is currently professor and vice chairwoman of medical informatics and clinical epidemiology, with joint appointments in the departments of Medicine and Public Health and Preventive medicine. She also serves as assistant dean of admissions in the School of Medicine.

In 2000 Morris established the Human Investigations Program (HIP) with funding through a National Institutes of Health (NIH) award. The program now is in the sixth year of funding. In  2004 she was awarded the Medical Research Foundation's Mentor Award for her work with physicians and medical students. She has taught epidemiology to medical and public health students for almost 20 years and serves on the board of directors of the Clinical Research Training Program Directors Association.

As an epidemiologist, Morris's research focuses on establishing and maintaining disease registries and patient networks. She established the Oregon Registry of Congenital Heart Defects, a population-based registry of Oregon residents who have undergone congenital heart defect surgery since 1958, and directs an NIH-funded research group that focuses on the long-term natural history of congenital heart disease. Morris was the principal investigator of the multicenter NIH-funded Calcium for Preeclampsia Prevention trial. She currently is the co-director of the National Endoscopic Database, an NIH-funded practice network that explores outcomes and practice variation in gastroenterology. She also established and maintains a national data repository of pregnancy in women with complex congenital heart disease and a patient registry of a rare dental disease. 

"ORPRN is pleased to add Dr. Morris's knowledge and experience to our rural research program," Fagnan said. "Her knowledge of research methods and design, and her ability to guide and teach researchers is a unique set of attributes that enhance ORPRN's ability to perform relevant research to improve the lives of rural Oregonians."
The Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network, established in 2002 with support from the Oregon Opportunity and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, pairs clinicians and academic researchers to conduct primary care practice-based research. ORPRN, one of only six rural primary care research networks in the country has a statewide membership of 32 rural practices serving approximately 150,000 patients. Current ORPRN studies focus on medication safety, chronic disease prevention, practice redesign, child behavioral health, preventive services and childhood immunizations.

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