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Suzanne G. Leveille, MN, PhD

Research Concentrations

• Epidemiology
• Gerontology
• Health Outcomes

Contact Information


Professional Biography

View Dr. Leveille's  Biosketch (PDF)

View Dr. Leveille's publication history at PubMed Author Search

View Dr. Leveille's professional research networking profile at Harvard Catalyst

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 teaching positions as a Professor of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and a 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 care for Boston's elderly population, and is a current member of the City of Boston's Commission for Persons with Disabilities.

Current Research Support

1R01AG041525-01, NIH/NIA, 2011-2016
Attentional Demands of Chronic Pain and Risk for Falls in Older Adults
This study will examine the cognitive effects of chronic pain on mobility and falls in older adults, based on a 6th-year follow-up assessment of the 500+ participants of the MOBILIZE Boston cohort and an additional 18 months of follow-up for falls using monthly fall calendars.  A small pilot study will obtain brain MRI scans on a subset of 100 subjects to evaluate structural and functional brain measures associated with chronic pain.
Role: Principal Investigator

1 R01 HD054613-01A2, NIH/NIA, 2009-2013
Developing Rehabilitative Strategies for Disability Prevention in Primary Care
This is a longitudinal study of primary care patients aged 65 and older with mobility limitations. The aim of the 24-month follow-up study is to determine the relative priority of classes of physical impairments in risk for mobility decline, and to propose a new strategy of therapeutic interventions to reduce risk.
Role: Co-investigator

1 R01 AG028738-01A2, NIH/NIA, 2008-2012
Neighborhood Risk Factors for Falls in the Elderly
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.
Role: Co-investigator

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2009-2011
Open Notes: Demonstrating and Evaluating Transparency in Primary Care
This is a demonstration project to share physicians' progress notes with patients through access to the electronic health record via patient internet portals of 3 US health care systems.
Role: Co-investigator


Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Leveille SG, Ling S, Hochberg MC, Resnick HE, Bandeen-Roche KJ, Won A, Guralnik JM.  Widespread musculoskeletal pain and the progression of disability in older women.  Ann Int Med 2001;135(12):1038-1046.
5. Leveille SG, Wagner EH, Davis C, Grothaus L, Wallace J, LoGerfo M, Kent D. Preventing disability and managing chronic illness in frail older adults: A community-based partnership with primary care. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 1998;46:1191-1198..