Fortis expands urban-rural COPD comparisons

Spyridon Fortis, MD, clinical assistant professor in Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Occupational Medicine, has received a two-year, $120,000 Career Development Award from the VA Office of Rural Health. Fortis will examine whether the variation in ventilator support and delays in care are responsible for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) mortality in rural communities.

“The grant will help to study rural-urban disparities in COPD,” Fortis said. In previous studies, Fortis found that veterans living in rural areas with COPD are at greater risk for 30-day mortality than those living in urban areas. Last October, Fortis received a pilot grant from the VA Office of Rural Health to investigate the causes underlying this disparity, particularly incidences of COPD exacerbations.

Past studies suggest outpatient medications like inhalers help lessen the chances of hospitalization, and Fortis will conduct a quantitative analysis of VA patients nationwide to compare the outcomes.


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