CATALYST postdoc stays on task despite a world changed by COVID-19 

By Tyler Griesenbrock
CATALYST scientific editor

Post-doctoral Researcher Matt DePuccio, PhD, MS, finds himself in the same situation as many professionals in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic: He is trying to balance work and home responsibilities at a time when both are taking place in the same location.

Dr. DePuccio is part of CATALYST, the Center for the Advancement of Team Science, Analytics, and Systems Thinking in Health Services and Implementation Science Research, at The Ohio State University. He collaborates with faculty in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Department of Biomedical Informatics in the Ohio State College of Medicine as well as the Division of Surgical Oncology at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

“It has been important to schedule regular times to have check-ins with mentors and collaborators,” Dr. DePuccio said. “Although we are not meeting face to face, I have been surprised at how easy it has been to stay connected with colleagues using platforms like Zoom.”

When it comes to balancing home and work, he said he has been careful about setting aside time to exercise, write, and make progress on research projects. Without this structure, he said it can be easy to get distracted.

“For me, working from home has helped me realize the importance of separating time on and off the clock. I like to go for a run in the morning before I sit down at my computer for the day. It actually helps me focus on the work tasks that I need to get done.”

Dr. DePuccio supports the planning, data collection, and dissemination of CATALYST research that focuses on improving health care quality and reducing health care disparities. He has expertise using qualitative research methods to examine the implementation of telehealth in primary care practices.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, I’m interested in understanding how virtual technologies have been integrated into patient visits and what impact these technologies have had on health care team functioning and patient-clinician relationships,” he said. “As we prepare for a future where video visits are common, we need to know what makes the most sense for patients and clinicians to achieve the best possible outcomes.”

Dr. DePuccio received his PhD in health services organization and research from Virginia Commonwealth University and holds a Master of Science degree in health policy and management from the University at Albany.

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