When she was a college student, Molly Jarman saw first-hand how lack of access to emergency care affects those who live in rural America. When her roommate’s father was injured in a car crash in a small North Carolina town, the closest emergency room was two hours away. To make matters worse, bad weather that day grounded a life-flight helicopter that could have gotten him to the best care available, and he was instead taken by ground transport to the less-than-ideal option.
From a small town herself, Jarman began reflecting on this gap in the trauma care system and wondering how it could be mitigated. The challenge was never far from her mind as she completed a master’s degree in public health and entered the healthcare field, working in a breast cancer screening center and beginning to build a research competency.
But her master’s degree could take her only so far. “I finally realized that in order to help solve this problem, I needed a higher level of education,” said Jarman. So she quit her job and entered a PhD program in Health Services Research and Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Fast forward a few years—with a freshly minted PhD in hand, Dr. Jarman began a new position at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, by chance or destiny working down the hall from Zara Cooper, MD, MSc, professor of surgery and Kessler Director of the Center for Surgery and Public Health. With encouragement from Dr. Cooper, Dr. Jarman first interacted with CNTR as a Geriatric Trauma Delphi panel member on the National Trauma Research Action Plan (NTRAP) project.
Meanwhile, she was working on her R01 grant proposal—Mitigating Injury Disparities with Evidence-Based Trauma Systems Planning—which would finally put her on the path to help people living in rural America get better emergency care. The project is aimed at improving the national trauma system to meet the needs of rural populations, which often intersect with other underserved communities facing economic and racial disparities. “One-third of severely injured patients in the U.S. are treated at hospitals that do not meet trauma center standards,” Dr. Jarman wrote in her grant proposal. “Marginalized racial and ethnic groups, people with low incomes, and rural residents are the least likely in the U.S. to have access to trauma center care.”
Funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, her study will document best practices for equitable planning of trauma care services within state trauma systems, identify modifiable trauma system characteristics associated with disparities, and identify and prioritize strategies to address injury disparities through better planning. “This grant is really the culminating moment in the long journey that I began in college,” she said.
Dr. Jarman has asked CNTR to help convene a national multi-disciplinary panel and run a Delphi survey that will result in a list of disparities mitigation recommendations to distribute to state trauma systems and to test in future trials. Having participated in the NTRAP project, Dr. Jarman knew that CNTR was well-versed in recruiting panelists and running Delphi surveys.
“We could probably conduct the Delphi’s ourselves, but we’d be much less efficient at the task, and I suspect we’d be keeping track of the process in an Excel worksheet,” she said. She is the first to take advantage of CNTR’s in-house capability, honed over 13 national Delphi surveys, conducted over the five-year course of the NTRAP project. “From the NIH perspective, they really like a Delphi as the culminating deliverable—it’s a nice way to wrap up with a scientifically derived set of next steps,” she said.
CNTR looks forward to being a part of this consequential study. For more information on Dr. Jarman and her project, visit her Brigham & Women’s research profile: bit.ly/3Qv9nZ1