Suzanne G. Leveille, MN, PhD
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View Dr. Leveille's publication history at PubMed Author Search
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Dr. Leveille joined the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care in 2003 as an experienced epidemiologist with an extensive clinical background in geriatric nursing. Her research interests have centered on musculoskeletal pain and disability in older populations, patient empowerment interventions, and epidemiologic methods. In November, 2009, Dr. Leveille published a landmark epidemiologic study in JAMA reporting that chronic musculoskeletal pain is associated with a 50% increase in risk for falls among older adults living in the community. This study has generated a remarkable amount of interest among researchers, clinicians and the general public as it represents a potentially significant new target for the prevention of falls in older adults. Dr. Leveille is also a member of the research team of the innovative Open Notes project, a multisite evaluation of giving primary care patients online access to their health records through patient internet portals.
In addition to her research activities, Dr. Leveille also holds administrative and teaching positions as Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Nursing in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and Lecturer at Harvard Medical School. She served on the board of directors of the Boston Partnership for Older Adults, a city-wide coalition aimed at improving community-based services for Boston's elderly population, and was a founding advisory board member for the City of Boston's Commission for Persons with Disabilities.
Current Research Support
1R01AG041525-01, NIH/NIA, 2011-2017
Attentional Demands of Chronic Pain and Risk for Falls in Older Adults
This study examines a proposed cognitively mediated pathway whereby pain interferes with attention and mobility, thereby contributing to falls in older adults. The project involves a 6th-year follow-up assessment of 354 participants of the MOBILIZE Boston cohort followed by 18 months of falls follow-up using monthly fall calendars. A small pilot study includes brain MRI scans on a subset of 24 subjects to evaluate structural and functional brain measures associated with chronic pain.
Role: Principal Investigator
5/14-4/17, NIA (R21)
Effects of Tai Chi on Multisite Pain and Brain Functions in Older Adults
This pilot study tests the feasibility and acceptability of a 12-week Tai Chi intervention in older adults who have chronic pain and a history of falls. In addition the study will determine effects of the intervention on pain, attention, gait/mobility and biomarkers in this randomized controlled trial, involving 60 older adults.
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
10/15-10/18, Open Notes:
Demonstrating and Evaluating Transparency in Primary Care, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
This study is an ancillary study of the MOBILIZE Boston Study, to examine the role of the neighborhood environment as a contributor to falls in older adults.
Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications
1. Leveille SG, Mejilla R, , Ngo L,Fossa A, Elmore JG, Darer JD, Ralston JD, Delbanco T, Walker J. Do patients who access clinical information on patient Internet portals have more primary care visits? Medical Care. 2016 Jan;54(1):17-23. PMID: 26565525.
2. Delbanco T, Walker J, Bell SK, Darer JD, Elmore JG, Farag N, Feldman HJ, Mejilla R, Ngo L, Ralston JD, Ross SE, Tivedi N, Vodicka E, Leveille SG. Inviting patients to read their doctors’ notes: A quasi-experimental study and a look ahead. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2012 Oct 2; 157(7):461-70.
3. Leveille SG, Jones RN, Kiely DK, Hausdorff JM, Shmerling RH, Guralnik JM, Kiel DP, Lipsitz LA, Bean JF. Chronic musculoskeletal pain and the occurrence of falls in an older population. JAMA 2009;302:2214-2221.
4. Leveille SG, Huang A, Tsai SB, Allen MB, Weingart SN, Iezzoni LI. Health Coaching via an Internet Portal for Primary Care Patients with Chronic Conditions: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Med Care 2009;47:41-47.
5. Leveille SG, Wee C, Iezzoni LI. Trends in obesity and arthritis among baby boomers and their predecessors, 1971-2002 Am J Publ Health 2005;95:1607-1613.