Justin Dickerson

Researchers from the Program on Healthy Aging at the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) School of Rural Public Health recently completed a study that examined whether individuals with chronic diseases indicative of metabolic syndrome received quality primary care in conjunction with clinical guidelines.

The study, “Quality of primary care processes for individuals with chronic diseases associated with the metabolic syndrome: a comparative study,” was published in Primary Health Care Research & Development. Research was led by Justin B. Dickerson, M.B.A., second-year doctoral student in health services research at the TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health.

The study found that individuals were more likely to self-report discussing their eating behaviors, weight status and stress level with their primary care physician when they had been diagnosed with chronic diseases indicative of metabolic syndrome. However, the study noted opportunities for improved physician discussion of physical activity, smoking or tobacco usage, and alcohol consumption with this same group of patients. Opportunities were also noted to improve the frequency of cholesterol and blood pressure screening for this population relative to those without such chronic diseases.

An abstract presentation of the paper was recognized by the American College of Medical Quality (ACMQ) as second runner-up in the scientific poster competition at the ACMQ annual conference in February 2011. Co-authors were Matthew Lee Smith, Ph.D., M.P.H., adjunct assistant professor, and Regents Professor Marcia Ory, Ph.D., at TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health; and Catherine J. McNeal, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor at the TAMHSC-College of Medicine.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell