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May 10, 2021

HSR&D Announces Best Research Paper of the Year Award Recipient

William Yancy, MD, MHS

William Yancy, MD, MHS

William Yancy, MD, MHS is the recipient of the 2020 HSR&D Best Research Paper of the Year Award, which honors a single article or collection of articles resulting from one or more HSR&D- or QUERI-funded investigations. Research studies also must involve Veterans, with results that are important to Veterans’ health and care, and to the VA healthcare system.

Dr. Yancy and colleagues authored the article, “Comparison of group medical visits combined with intensive weight management vs group medical visits alone for glycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes/a non-inferiority randomized clinical trial,” which was published in JAMA Internal Medicine in November 2019. This paper reports results from the HSR&D-funded study, “Jump Starting Shared Medical Appointments for Diabetes with Weight Management.” To date, this is the only published study to compare an intensive weight management program to an intensive diabetes medication management program for improving key diabetes outcomes. The study also addressed a critical question for Veterans and the VA healthcare system: Does adding intensive weight management to medication-focused group medical visits provide comparable improvements in glycemia among Veterans with type 2 diabetes? The study found that participants in both arms experienced a substantial improvement in hemoglobin A1c by the end of the study (approximate 1% decrease). However, the weight management arm additionally led to a significant reduction in weight, diabetes medication use, and hypoglycemic events. This study is the first to show that a diet intervention is as effective as medication intensification for glycemic control in patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes, while having the advantages of weight loss, reduced hypoglycemic events, and decreased medication use.

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes and obesity continues to increase, both among Veterans and nationwide. While professional society guidelines emphasize medication for diabetes and related conditions, this reliance upon medical therapy has not slowed the spread of type 2 diabetes—and exacerbates weight gain and increases costs. Dr. Yancy’s work establishes that, rather than simply representing an obligatory stop along the path to medical therapy, dietary interventions can be used as an effective primary treatment option for diabetes and obesity.

Dr. Yancy is an investigator with HSR&D’s Center of Innovation to Accelerate Discovery and Practice Transformation (ADAPT) in Durham, NC. He also is co-Director of the MOVE! Weight Management Program at the Durham VA Medical Center and is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Yancy’s research focuses on the impact of obesity on health, healthcare delivery, quality of life, diet and other weight loss interventions, as well as preventive medicine. A past recipient of HSR&D’s Career Development Award, Dr. Yancy also has received many prestigious awards, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) and the Duke University School of Medicine Excellence in Professionalism Award.

HSR&D thanks Dr. Yancy and his colleagues for their outstanding work and contributions to the literature, which help VA improve the quality of life and care for Veterans with obesity and diabetes.

HSR&D also thanks the following Best Research Paper of the Year Nominees for their outstanding work and contributions to the field of health services research.

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