Darren DeWalt

Darren A. DeWalt, MD, MPH is a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member, is the Division Chief of General Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology and a John R. and Helen B. Chambliss Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel HIll.

John R. and Helen B. Chambliss Distinguished Professor; Chief, Division of General Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology
UNC-Chapel Hill

Area of interest

DeWalt recently completed 2 years as Director of the Learning and Diffusion Group at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation where he was also part of the Center’s leadership team. In that role, he led a team in designing and supporting improvement and learning activities across the Innovation Center’s portfolio of new models of care. He was the executive responsible for the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network to advance alternative payment models in the public and private sectors, and helped to lead the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative.

DeWalt has a long history of research and quality improvement at local, regional, and national levels. Prior to joining the Innovation Center in 2014, DeWalt was the principal investigator for the North Carolina Infrastructure for Maintaining Primary Care Transformation (NC IMPaCT) grant from AHRQ. He also led the design team and was a national improvement advisor for the Improving Performance in Practice (IPIP) program for the boards and specialty societies of internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics. IPIP helped practicing primary care physicians improve care systems through working in improvement networks, measuring and sharing performance data, and receiving improvement education and training. As part of IPIP, he also provided technical assistance to the RWJF Aligning Forces for Quality program transforming healthcare in 17 communities across the United States. Dr. DeWalt was also an improvement adviser to the Cincinnati Beacon Community PCMH and diabetes quality improvement collaborative.

He also researched self-management interventions for patients with low-literacy and focused on chronic diseases like diabetes, heart failure, COPD, and asthma. His focus was on patient- physician communication and health system design to achieve better outcomes for vulnerable populations. His work in health literacy includes epidemiological studies, systematic reviews, communication tool development, and clinical trials. He also led a practice-based intervention to reduce hypertension disparities funded by NHLBI. He is the lead author of the AHRQ Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit.

DeWalt was the principal investigator at the UNC research site for the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS). PROMIS develops advanced tools for measurement of symptoms, function, and quality of life. DeWalt is interested in the use of self-report measurements among vulnerable populations, particularly those with low literacy.

Awards and Honors

  • 2010 Pfizer Visiting Professor for Health Literacy and Clear Health Communication
  • Medicine National Meeting, May 2004
  • 2004 Mack Lipkin, Sr. Award for Most Outstanding Scientific Presentation at Society for General Internal
  • 2003 Pfizer Health Literacy Scholar Award
  • 1997 Albert Weinstein Prize in Medicine, Vanderbilt Medical School
  • 1996 Alpha Omega Alpha, Honor Medical Society
  • 1994 Amos Christie Pediatric Summer Fellowship
  • 1991 Outstanding Junior Student in Chemical Engineering
  • 1991 Phi Beta Kappa
  • 1989 Tau Beta Pi, Engineering Honor Society

Reach NC profile

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