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Center for Innovation to Implementation (Ci2i)


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Leah Backhus, MD, MPH, FACS

Leah Backhus, MD, MPH, FACS, completed her clinical training in General Surgery at the University of Southern California and Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Stanford University and has grant funding through the Veterans Affairs Administration and the NIH. She is Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the Palo Alto VA, serving as clinical and administrative lead. The majority of her clinical practice centers on the care of lung and esophageal cancer patients.

Dr. Backhus’ overall research agenda centers on the broad concepts of cancer surveillance and survivorship care in evaluating needs, quality of life, patterns of care and adherence to national standards of care. She is a Core Investigator with VA Palo Alto Health Care System Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) Center for Innovation to Implementation (Ci2i). She is Principal Investigator for a VA HSR&D IIR Merit Award for investigator-initiated research to examine imaging surveillance patterns following lung resection using national VA data. She is also Co-Principal Investigator for an NIH (NHLBI) RO1 grant of a mechanistic clinical trial of an FDA-approved medication to prevent ventilator-induced diaphragm dysfunction in mechanically-ventilated patients.

At Stanford, Dr. Backhus is the Co-Director of the Thoracic Surgery Clinical Research Program (TSCRP which uses a variety of research methodologies to assess quality and effectiveness of thoracic surgical interventions for individual patients, as well as population-based research. The program also has a clinical research fellowship for which she serves as primary mentor. 

Outside of Stanford, Dr. Backhus has been an ad hoc Grant Reviewer for the Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health (DIRH) and the Imaging Guided Interventions and Surgery (IGIS) study sections within the NIH. Finally, she holds several prominent roles within other organizations including prior work with the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, American Association of Thoracic Surgeons, and the Society of Thoracic Surgery.

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