Mary Politi, PhD

Mary PolitiAssociate Professor
Division of Public Health Sciences
Department of Surgery
(314) 747-1967
Politi Lab website
Patient Centered Outcomes Research Center website

Research Overview
Dr. Politi is a health psychologist and associate professor of surgery in the Division of Public Health Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine. Her primary research interests include health communication and shared decision-making. Her work helps patients and the public understand health information, explore what is important to them when making health decisions, and collaborate to make evidence-informed decisions that meet their needs. She also trains health care professionals, public health advocates, and members of the public interested in shared decision-making and patient engagement. Dr. Politi’s research includes a focus on reducing health disparities by engaging communities with unmet health needs and including them in both research and dissemination efforts. She works extensively with stakeholders to ensure her research is relevant to end users in clinical and community settings.

Dr. Politi teaches a course in the Master of Population Health Sciences program entitled Principles of Shared Decision Making and Health Literacy in the Clinical Setting

Research Staff
Lindsay Fuzzell, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow
Nerissa George, Public Health Research Coordinator I
Victoria Grabinski, Student Research Assistant
Nageen Mir, MPH, Senior Public Research Coordinator
Sydney Philpott, Public Health Research Coordinator I

Grants/Active Projects:

Development and Validation of a Shared-Decision Making Tool for Initiation of Treatment in Patients with Hepatitis C Infection and Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease 
Dr. Politi and co-investigators Drs. Tinging Li and Kevin Korenblat received an award to develop a patient-centered decision tool for patients with Hepatitis C virus and advanced kidney disease. The tool will include patient education, values clarification, and a physician discussion guide to support decisions about treatment for Hepatitis C and chronic kidney disease.

Supporting Cancer Patients Health Insurance Decisions 
Dr. Politi and co-investigators Drs. Aimee James, Esther Lu, Kenneth Carson, and Timothy McBride received a grant from the American Cancer Society to help cancer patients and survivors choose health insurance plans that best meet their health and financial needs. An existing decision support tool will be tailored based on patient interview data, and the modified tool will be evaluated with a 3-arm randomized trial.

Optimizing Decision-Making about Breast Reconstruction after Mastectomy: A Patient-Centered Approach
Dr. Politi and Dr. Terence Myckatyn received a Pre-R01 grant through the Siteman Investment Program, with co-investigators Drs. Margaret Olsen and Rajiv Parikh, to develop a preference-sensitive decision support tool for patients considering breast reconstruction after mastectomy. The tool will provide patient education, elicit patients’ preferences, and include personalized risk prediction to aid in the decision making process.

Comparative Effectiveness of Encounter Decision Aids for Early-Stage Breast Cancer across Socioeconomic Strata
Dr. Marie-Anne Durand at Dartmouth College and co-investigators Drs. Politi and Margenthaler received a PCORI award to support women of low socioeconomic status through early-stage breast cancer treatment decisions by providing patients with point-of-care decision aids.

Supporting Decisions About Cancer Clinical Trials in Rural Cancer Centers
Dr. Politi and Dr. Swati Pathak received an award through the Collaborative Cancer Disparities Research Program for a pilot partnership between Washington University and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. The project will bring evidence-based decision tools to rural communities and attempt to support rural cancer patients’ participation in clinical trials.

Supporting Decisions about Health Insurance to Improve Care for the Uninsured
This project evaluated the impact of health insurance decision support tools on decision making for uninsured individuals as they prepared to enroll in the Affordable Care Act marketplace plans. Read some findings from the study in BMC Health Services Research or Medical Decision Making Policy and Practice.