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Health Services Research | Developing Cardiovascular Screening Measures for Pregnant and Postpartum Women | Disseminating Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines Through the DOTS-O Patient Education Tool | Refugee Reproductive Health Network (ReproNet)

Health Services Research

Under the leadership of Heike Thiel de Bocanegra, PhD, MPH, the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has strengthened its focus on research and patient engagement projects which provide research and training opportunities for residents and students. Projects are guided by the principle that research is done in an interdisciplinary manner yields more insightful, useful information.  The majority of the health service research projects are implemented in collaboration with UCI main campus, UC medical centers, patient stakeholders, and community-based organizations.

Studies provide medical students with meaningful experiences in patient-oriented outcome implementation and dissemination research. The UCI Ob/Gyn department serves as an internship site for UCI MPH students and has sponsored several undergraduate teams as part of the UCI Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program

For further information contact: Heike Thiel de Bocanegra, Director, Health Services Research,

Current Projects:

University of California Abortion Registry (UCAR): A novel multi-site collaborative examining the association between high-risk pregnancies and surgical abortion outcomes at tertiary care centers

PI: Adam Crosland, MD, MPH 
Co-Investigator: Tabetha Harken, MD, MPH
Foundation for SMFM: Reproductive Health Mini-Sabbatical Grant; 
The study seeks to gain a better understanding of the surgical abortion risk profile for women who have high-risk pregnancies through the creation of a multi-center database among the University of California’s five tertiary care hospitals to determine complication rate.


Perinatal Social Support and Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Community Based Survey of Postpartum Women

UCI PI: Adam Crosland, MD, MPH 
UCI Co-Investigators: Heike Thiel de Bocanegra, PhD, MPH, Dinh Vu, MD
Community PI: David Lugo, CEO, Maternal Outreach Management System (MOMS)
Campus Community Research Incubator Program Grant Proposal (CCRI); 7/1/2020-6/30/2021
This study seeks to better understand the psycho-social behavioral links between the COVID-19 pandemic and postpartum mothers. The collaborative team will conduct interviews with women who recently had a live birth and receive postpartum support services at the Maternal Outreach Management System (MOMS) in Orange County. Bilingual co-investigators will assist with the translation needs in Spanish (Thiel de Bocanegra) and Vietnamese (Vu).

Developing Cardiovascular Screening Measures for Pregnant and Postpartum Women

Afshan Hameed, MD, FACOG
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Diagnostic Excellence Initiative; 01/01/2020 – 02/28/2021
The study aims to develop two quality measures to improve diagnosis and timely intervention of cardiovascular disease among pregnant and postpartum women through the integration of a CVD clinical decision algorithm into the electronic health records (EHR). 

Disseminating cervical cancer screening guidelines through the DOTS-O patient education tool

Heike Thiel de Bocanegra, PhD, MPH
Patient-Centered Outcome Institute Eugene Washington Engagement Award; 03/01/2020 – 02/28/2022
The study seeks to inform patients and providers on evidence-based HPV testing and cervical cytology guidelines to provide improved shared decisions on cervical cancer screening and prevention in collaboration with the National Cervical Cancer Coalition/American Sexual Health Association, University of California, Los Angeles, and California Primary Care Association.

California’s Refugee Reproductive Health Network (ReproNet): Engaging Refugee Women in Research Partnerships

Heike Thiel de Bocanegra, PhD, MPH
Patient-Centered Outcome Institute Eugene Washington Engagement Award; 03/01/2020 – 02/28/2022
This study aims to explore how to address unequal access to sexual and reproductive services in the refugee women population by establishing a statewide Refugee Reproductive Health Network (ReproNet). Repronet will accomplish the following: (a) strengthen regional refugee-academic-community partnerships through the formation of a network with local branches in San Diego and Sacramento/Central Valley, California; (b) engage in dialogue with refugee communities to investigate their preferences for SRH and well-woman care; and (c) develop a research and policy agenda (ResPA) for future collaborative PCOR with refugee women. This is a collaboration with University of California, San Diego and Davis.

Creating a Culture of Compassionate Care for Women Experiencing Pregnancy Loss

Tabetha Harken, MD, MPH
Hoag Memorial Fund; 01/01/2020 – 06/30/2021
This study aims to strengthen the delivery of compassionate care for extremely complicated pregnancies through (a) improved transition and follow up care for Orange County’s uninsured and vulnerable population and (b) skill-building, values clarification training, and implementation of a structured emotional support system for nurses who provide this emotionally demanding care.