Fortis Receives Rural Health Grant

Spyridon Fortis, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor in Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Occupational Medicine, has received a one-year, $82,600 grant from the VA Office of Rural Health to research effects of hospitalization on veterans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This pilot grant will allow Dr. Fortis to build on prior work within the VA Healthcare System, in which he found that veterans living in rural areas with COPD are at greater risk for 30-day mortality than those living in urban areas.

Severe exacerbations of COPD can often require admission to a hospital at least once a year for most. The specific reasons and level of intensity of the exacerbations can vary, but they are typified by acute changes in shortness of breath, cough, or sputum. Rural veterans are more likely to receive care for these exacerbations in local, low-resource hospitals. Dr. Fortis will examine the differences in care that rural veterans are receiving for these exacerbations from those urban veterans receive. “It is unknown if this disparity is due to suboptimal hospital or post-discharge care,” Dr. Fortis said.

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