The Center for Complexity and Self-Management of Chronic Disease (CSCD) will address the growing problem of chronic disease. As knowledge and technology addressing disease advances, and the focus on health promotion and illness prevention continues to lag behind, the burden of chronic illness burgeons. Many are concerned about the aging population and the increase in chronic disease, calling for improved efficiencies in the provision of health care. Improved self-management is an important strategy to improve health outcomes in a cost effective manner. Despite much research in self-management, critical gaps in knowledge persist. Current research is limited by designs, methods and analytics that reduce the high number of dynamic, interacting variables into linear equations with select variables that result in missed opportunities for quantum improvements in the desired outcomes. Self-management involves a cluster of behaviors, processes and context, and relationships among the "self" and provider, health care system, and community. In addition, individuals, families and populations too often are confronted with challenges of multiple chronic illnesses. Research in this complex arena requires methods and analytics that can address non-linear, dynamic relationships between many variables. Though a challenge for the status quo, the Center for Complexity and Self-Management of Chronic Disease (CSCD) is positioning itself to address the following specific aims: 1) to leverage complexity to advance the science of self-management for the promotion of health in chronic illness;2) expand the number and quality of research investigators who are successful in independently funded careers in self-management research to improve health outcomes;3) facilitate the dissemination of research findings to the scientific and, when applicable, to the clinical communities and 4) develop plans to sustain the CSCD and the interdisciplinary teams who are in its membership. To accomplish these aims, we will establish three cores, administrative, pilot and methods/analytics. The Center will be guided by Individual and Family Self-Management Theory that has been informed by Chaos Theory. In short the overall purpose of the Center for Complexity and Self-management of Chronic Disease is to address the need for innovative research that encompasses complexity in order to advance the science in self-management to achieve clinically important outcomes such as minimizing disability, optimizing function and living well. In addition, the Center will facilitate interdisciplinary approaches and expand the pool of interdisciplinary research teams who are equipped to successfully develop and implement externally funded programs of research in self-management. We plan to change the landscape of self-management research and thereby advance the science in efficient, meaningful ways.
Effective interventions to improve self-management outcomes, despite copious research, are lacking. This Proposal to establish a Center of Complexity and Self-Management in Chronic Disease will facilitate the development of an infrastructure supporting interdisciplinary teams that can advance the science in innovative ways by leveraging complexity. The Center will provide critical resources and expertise to lay the foundation for large-scale self-management studies that can improve patients, families and community's ability to manage complex chronic disease.