Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion
Carolyn Thorpe, PhD, MPH
CHERP COIN Investigator
Associate Professor, Eshelman School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina
Carolyn Thorpe, PhD, MPH, is a tenured Associate Professor in the Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy. She holds a joint appointment as Core Investigator with the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System.
Dr. Thorpe leads the VA-funded study, "Use and costs of low-value health services by Veterans in VA and non-VA settings."
As a pharmaceutical health services researcher with a focus on geriatric populations, Dr. Thorpe's federally-funded research program aims to improve the health of older, complex patients with multiple chronic conditions, through studies on the quality and safety of prescribing, as well as medication adherence. Her interests are driven broadly by a desire to improve treatment decisions, care delivery, and day-to-day illness management for older persons who are faced with the demands of managing multiple conditions simultaneously, often in context of diminished capacity (e.g., cognitive impairment) and a lacking evidence base regarding optimal treatment. A current focus of this work aims to elucidate real-world patterns of deprescribing of medications with increased risks and/or reduced benefits in older adults with limited life expectancy and/or advanced dementia, and the impact of deprescribing on patient-centered outcomes. Much of this work is highly policy-relevant, as it is aimed at improving care and outcomes for two of the largest populations of older adults who use federal health benefits: 1) U.S. military Veterans seeking healthcare in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and 2) Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries. In addition, because older patients with multiple chronic conditions often rely on loved ones to help with day-to-day illness management and accessing medical care, caregiving and dyadic illness management has been a cross-cutting theme of this work.
Methodologically, Dr. Thorpe has expertise in secondary analysis of existing administrative and clinical data (e.g., medical claims, prescription drug records, electronic health records, federal surveys) and observational study designs to compare the effectiveness and safety of different treatment options. She also is well-versed in survey research, scale development, and qualitative methods, and often uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches in her studies.
Dr. Thorpe is a highly active research mentor, and over the past decade has served as the primary or co-mentor of 10 graduate students, 9 postdoctoral fellows, 5 junior faculty, and numerous pharmacy students and residents engaged in research. She also currently serves as Co-Director of the VA Postdoctoral Pharmacy Fellowship in Medication Safety and Pharmacy Outcomes, which is a collaboration of CHERP and the national VA Center for Medication Safety within VA Pharmacy Benefits Management (PBM) Services and is designed to train pharmacists in research and quality improvement.Dr. Thorpe completed a VA HSR&D Post-doctoral Research fellowship at the Center for Health Services Research, Durham VA Medical Center after obtaining her PhD in Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of North Carolina, her MPH at George Washington University, and her BA at the University of Michigan.
The contents of this page and this website do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the US government.
Updated September 30 2021
Use and costs of low-value health services by Veterans in VA and non-VA settings (IIR 19-089) as Principal Investigator
De-Intensifying Unnecessary Medications in VA CLC Residents Nearing End of Life (IIR 14-306) as Principal Investigator
Published ResearchPrescriber perspectives on low-value prescribing: A qualitative study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2021)
Identifying sociodemographic profiles of veterans at risk for high-dose opioid prescribing using classification and regression trees. Journal of opioid management (2021)
Patterns of oral bisphosphonate deprescribing in older nursing home residents with dementia. Osteoporos International (2021)
Caregiver and provider perspectives on dual VA and Medicare Part D medication use in veterans with suspected dementia or cognitive impairment. American Journal of Health System Pharmacy (2021)
Prescriber perspectives on low-value prescribing: A qualitative study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2021)
Identifying sociodemographic profiles of veterans at risk for high-dose opioid prescribing using classification and regression trees. Journal of Opioid Management (2021)
Are Nursing Home Residents With Dementia Appropriately Treated for Fracture Prevention?. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (2021)
Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Medical Treatment of Opioid Use Disorders Within the VA Healthcare System Following Non-Fatal Opioid Overdose. J Gen Intern Med (2020)
Incidence and Predictors of Aspirin Discontinuation in Older Adult Veteran Nursing Home Residents at End of Life. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2020)
Central nervous system medication burden and serious falls in older nursing home residents. J Am Geriatr Soc. (2017)
Facilitating healthy coping in patients with diabetes: A systematic review. The Diabetes Educ (2013)
Brand-name prescription drug use among diabetes patients in the VA and Medicare Part D. Ann Intern Med (2013)
The impact of family caregivers on potentially inappropriate medication use in non-institutionalized older adults with dementia. Am J Geriatr Pharmacother (2012)
- Accumulation of Excess Medications