Member Spotlight: Megan Haymart
Precision Health member Megan R. Haymart, MD is the Nancy Wigginton Endocrinology Research Professor of Thyroid Cancer and a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes. She is also the Assistant Director of the Precision Health Data Analytics & IT work group.
Tell us a bit more about the details of your research?
I am a clinician researcher who focuses on cancer-care delivery research, with most of my research focused on thyroid cancer. My research questions are inspired by the patients I see in clinic. My goal is to improve patient care, through better, higher-quality research.
What is innovative/new/exciting about these projects?
My team focuses on cancer care from diagnosis, to treatment, to survivorship. Thyroid cancer is the most common cancer in adolescents and young adults ages 16-33, the third most common cancer in female cancer survivors, and the second most common cancer in incidence for Asian/Pacific Islander women and Latina women. Despite this, it remains woefully understudied. Because thyroid cancer remains understudied, there is less high quality data to guide treatment decisions. My team wants to change this. (link to my lab website: https://sites.google.com/a/umich.edu/thycare/)
How will your work benefit patients and clinicians?
High quality data is needed for patients and clinicians to make the best management decisions. Through our research on outcomes, communication, and decision making, we hope to improve the care of thyroid cancer patients.
My team’s recent and ongoing work has addressed disparities in thyroid cancer care, including disparities related to spoken language. Dr. Debbie Chen, a talented mentee of mine, is forging a new direction of research that will ultimately lead to more equitable thyroid care.
How does your work apply to the field of Precision Health?
A goal of our team is to provide evidence for personalized, tailored cancer care. We want to avoid thyroid cancer overdiagnosis as well as over- and undertreatment. Understanding optimal care requires multi-pronged research led by multi-disciplinary researchers. This is the type of research that the University of Michigan Precision Health supports.
How is Precision Health supporting the type of research you perform?
In my role as Assistant Director of Data Analytics & IT, I have had the opportunity to brainstorm new directions for growth. Through my work with the other members of the Data Analytics & IT team, as well as through my discussions with Precision Health leadership, we jointly recognized the need to augment the rich Precision Health data with claims data. This augmentation will allow researchers like me to not only capture the initial diagnosis and treatment of a patient within the University of Michigan health system, but also through use of claims, to know if they had additional treatments elsewhere. In the very near future, researchers will have access to broad, augmented, de-identified data on patients treated at the University of Michigan who also have Medicare insurance. This is an exciting opportunity for many researchers.
What do you like to do when you aren’t doing research?
I enjoy spending time with my family and my dog, exercising, reading, and traveling to new places.
Links to key publications include: